The Kickstarter.com campaign to raise $300,000 for a new
sculpture of the late legendary coach that would be placed on
private land in downtown State College, Pennsylvania, was set to
begin on July 7, organizer Ted Sebastianelli, a Penn State alumnus,
said on Thursday.
Two years ago, on July 22, 2012, a statue of Paterno outside the
football stadium on the State College campus was pulled down by the
university after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's conviction
for sexually abusing boys.
A day later the NCAA, the chief governing body of collegiate sports,
imposed sanctions that stripped Paterno of more than a decade of
victories, ending his reign as the winningest coach in college
football. Paterno, like other school officials, was accused of
covering up Sandusky's abuse.
Sandusky, now 70, was convicted in June 2012 of 45 criminal counts
and is serving 30 to 60 years in prison.
The new sculpture of Paterno is set to be unveiled in November 2015
outside a restaurant named The Tavern, an upscale eatery frequented
by Penn State alumni, many of whom still consider him a hero and
believe he will eventually be exonerated of accusations he did not
do enough to expose Sandusky's crimes.
Bronze sculptor Zenos Frudakis, who created the 10-foot statue of
one-time Mayor Frank Rizzo in downtown Philadelphia, was asked to
base it on a photograph of Paterno sitting on a park bench and
reading a copy of Virgil's "Aeneid," one of his favorite books.
"We want the statue to show Joe as the man he was and not Joe the
football coach," said Kim Intorre, another Penn State graduate
leading the drive.
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Sebastianelli said he is confident the proposed two months of
fundraising will yield the necessary $300,000.
"There is huge acceptance from the public," he said. "When we talk
to alumni groups around the country, they always ask, 'when will we
honor Joe? How will we honor him?'"
A few alumni have posted online comments decrying the plans as
dishonoring Sandusky's victims.
Penn State spokesman David LaTorre said the university is not
involved in the statue drive and has no comment. He said the old
statue is being stored in "a safe and secure location" that he would
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Steve Orlofsky)
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