After retiring from Penn State following the 1999 football season, Jerry Sandusky, 67, devoted himself to a charitable organization for needy children that is at the heart of the charges against him.
The former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator founded The Second Mile in 1977, and led the organization for decades before retiring from daily involvement in 2010. The nonprofit serves about 10,000 young people from across the state each year in programs such as Summer Challenge, Leadership Institute and intervention efforts.
The Second Mile has earned national recognition, including being named a “Point of Light” by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.
The state attorney general however, said the children Sandusky’s accused of victimizing were introduced to him through activities related to The Second Mile.
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A College Township resident, Sandusky played with the Nittany Lions before going to work as a coach. He was a starting defensive end from 1963 to 1965. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health and physical education, finishing first in his undergraduate class.
He worked as an assistant football, basketball and track coach at Juniata College and offensive line coach at Boston University before returning to Penn State.
In 1977, Sandusky was named Penn State’s defensive coordinator. He is credited with Penn State earning the nickname “Linebacker U,” and was once viewed as coach Joe Paterno’s likely replacement. The American Football Coaches Association named him assistant coach of the year in 2000.
He wrote “Developing Linebackers, The Penn State Way,” and in 2000 “Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story.”