Joe Paterno Net Worth

December 14, 2023
2 mins read

Joseph Vincent Paterno, sometimes referred to as JoePa, was an American, much-celebrated, college football coach, whose career came into disrepute when he was connected with an infamous sex scandal in 2011. He was born on the 21st of December, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York, and was of Italian ancestry.

With a head coaching career spanning six decades, how rich was Joseph Paterno? Sources estimate his net worth at $10 million.


Joe Paterno Net Worth $10 million


Paterno left Brooklyn Preparatory School aged eighteen, and almost immediately enlisted into military service. He served in the US Army in 1945, the last year of World War II, before returning to civilian life to attend Brown University, graduating in 1950 with a degree in English Literature. During his time at Brown, he played football (cornerback and quarterback) for the Brown Bears.

Instead of progressing to grad school, and much to the annoyance of his father, in 1950, Paterno decided to take an assistant coach position at Penn State, with the Nittany Lions. The head coach at that time was Rip Engle, who has coached Paterno when he played at Brown. In 1963, he was offered a salary of $18,000 to leave Penn State and to join the Oakland Raiders. Though that was triple his Penn State salary, and would have been a big boost to his personal wealth, Paterno refused, citing loyalty to the university.

Paterno became head coach when Engle retired in 1966. Over his career at Penn State, Paterno would boast the most victories in all of college coach football history, with 409 total. Over 250 men who played for him went on to become professional.

On the 5th of November, 2011, Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator for Penn State, was arrested on child sexual abuse charges. He was said to have conducted these crimes over a 15 year period, 1994 – 2009. It was alleged that Paterno had known about one child that Sandusky had abused, and that he had not taken appropriate action. He had notified a few colleagues in positions of authority, but had gone no further, and had not informed the police of the situation. Over the following days, a large crowd formed in front of Paterno’s home, full of students who supported him. He was fired on the 9th of November, 2011. He was succeeded in his post by Bill O’Brien.

Only a brief amount of time passed between Paterno losing his job, and him passing away. He died on the 22nd of January, 2012, from lung cancer, at Mount Nittany Medical Centre, Pennsylvania. He was eighty-five.

Paterno took a special interest in his team’s academic performance, which ensured that Penn State players had above average academic results. He also made large contributions to Penn State over the course of his career. Awards he won included “The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award” (1981, 2005), “Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year” (1986), “Sporting News College Football Coach of the Year” (2005), and “The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award” (2005), amongst others. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, inducted on the 4th of December, 2007.

In his personal life, Paterno was a staunch conservative, and endorsed several Republicans, including George H. W. Bush, of whom he was a personal friend. He married Suzanne Pohland in 1962. They had five children, who all attended Penn State, and 17 grandchildren.

Daniel Wanburg

As the Managing Editor at Net Worth Post, I lead a talented team in delivering compelling content on the lives and achievements of influential figures. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I oversee the production of insightful biographies that resonate with our audience. My role involves not only managing the editorial process but also conducting research, crafting engaging narratives, and ensuring the accuracy and quality of our publications.

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