STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBSNewYork/AP) — With one Joe Paterno statue in storage, fans of the late Penn State football coach are commissioning a new one to be placed across from the university.
A State College, Pa., restaurant owner says he’s interested in having the new statue put in front of his establishment.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the school isn’t involved in the plan. In 2012, the school removed a Paterno statue outside its football stadium. That happened after a university-commissioned report accused the late coach and three administrators of concealing sex abuse claims against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky, Paterno’s longtime defensive coordinator, is currently serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence after being convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse.
Organizers said the new statue will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading. It’s expected to cost about $300,000. They hope it will be done in 2015 by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis.
“There’s been some level of frustration among Penn Staters with what happened with the statue at the stadium,” Ted Sebastianelli, one of the project’s organizers, told independent Penn State news blog OnwardState.com. “We wanted to come up with a way to honor Joe for all that he did for the State College community. It wasn’t just the university he impacted — it was the whole town.”
The project has been approved by State College Borough, and restaurant owner Pat Daugherty has agreed to have the statue take up residence outside his establishment, OnwardState.com reported.
Sebastianelli said the Paterno family is not in any way involved in the project and that a movement to drum up interest is currently under way online. A Facebook page titled “Joe’s Bench – A Bronze Tribute” had more than 1,200 likes by early Wednesday afternoon.
“As alumni groups come back every summer to celebrate reunions, they migrate to the Tavern,” Sebastianelli said “They can sit and reflect on the bench. It really will be a wonderful addition to the community.”
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