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Penn State supporters mark anniversary of Joe Paterno's death

By CNN Staff
updated 9:45 PM EST, Tue January 22, 2013
Loyal fans gather Tuesday at a mural depicting late football coach Joe Paterno and other Penn State luminaries.
Loyal fans gather Tuesday at a mural depicting late football coach Joe Paterno and other Penn State luminaries.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dozens of fans stop by mural depicting famous Penn State figures
  • The coach had many of his victories stripped from his record
  • Paterno was fired after Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sex abuse charges
  • He died a few months later after suffering from lung cancer

(CNN) -- On the anniversary of the death of Joe Paterno, a few dozen people visited a mural depicting the image of the college football coaching legend whose legacy was tarnished by the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

With the temperature in single digits, about 40 fans in State College, Pennsylvania, stopped by the mural that depicts Paterno and other prominent figures in Penn State University history, according to video shot by CNN affiliate WHP.

Paterno died January 22, 2012, at age 85 in a State College hospital, according to his family. He had been suffering from lung cancer and a broken pelvis.

He had been the all-time leader in major college football victories for a coach, with 409 wins. But a decision by the governing body of major college sports struck 111 victories from his record, beginning in 1998 -- a move that posthumously bumped him from the top of the list.

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Last July, the NCAA levied unprecedented sanctions against the university, including a fine of $60 million and stripped 14 seasons of wins by Paterno's teams.

Paterno, who coached at Penn State for 46 years, was fired after authorities arrested Sandusky, a Penn State defensive coordinator who retired in 1999 and founded a charity for young people.

In 2002, a graduate assistant brought to Paterno allegations of Sandusky's sexual abuse in one of Penn State's facilities. Paterno informed his supervisors of the report, but the school's board of trustees fired Paterno in November 2011, saying he could no longer perform his duties in the shadow of scandal.

In an interview with the Washington Post published a week before he died, Paterno said that he felt inadequate to deal with the allegations.

"I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," the Post quoted him as saying. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."

Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts of child sex abuse. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

The mural has been altered in light of the scandal. The artist painted over an image of Sandusky and also removed a halo above Paterno's head.

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