Paterno's Penn State pension to top $13 million

Tue May 22, 2012 9:27pm EDT

Mourners pass a portrait of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno during Paterno's public viewing at Penn State University January 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Mourners pass a portrait of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno during Paterno's public viewing at Penn State University January 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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(Reuters) - The late Joe Paterno, the Penn State University football coach whose six-decade career ended abruptly last year in controversy, earned a $13.4 million pension for running one of the sport's most successful programs, a family spokesman said on Tuesday.

Paterno's widow, Sue, will get the initial $10.1 million payment at the end of May, according to family spokesman Dan McGinn, four months after her husband died at age 85 of lung cancer and after being fired amid a child sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky, 68, faces 52 counts of child molestation involving 10 boys over a period of 15 years. He has pleaded not guilty and is under house arrest.

At the time of Paterno's firing last November, many alumni and students were furious about what they viewed as the university's disrespectful treatment of the man nicknamed "JoePa," who as a Penn State coach won a major-college record 409 games and two national championships.

Paterno's pension payments come on top of a more than $5.5 million package his estate is receiving from the public university under his employment contract, including a $3 million "career bonus" due to him at retirement.

As head coach for 46 of his 61 years, Paterno earned the maximum salary for pension calculations, which were made using a state formula and which were not influenced by Paterno's surviving family members, McGinn said.

"Joe Paterno's situation is unique probably in the whole scale of public pensions because he served 61 years - the length of essentially two careers," McGinn said.

Paterno never drew anything on his pension. His widow said through McGinn that she would make an additional $1.5 million in charitable donations on top of the more than $7.5 million the couple had made through the years.

The Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System declined to comment about Paterno's pension.

(Reporting By Hilary Russ; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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