UNIVERSITY PARK – A new Joe Paterno statue is in the works – just not on behalf of Penn State University.
Pat Daugherty, owner of The Tavern, has agreed to let a bronze statue of Paterno be placed on the property in front of his restaurant in downtown State College.
The statue will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading the "Aeneid" and will be commissioned by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis in the fall of 2015. Local alum Kim Intorre, one of the planners of the project along with alumni Ted Sebastianelli and Eric Porterfield, said they hope to raise $300,000 for building the statue from alumni and State College residents through a Kickstarter campaign.
Ms. Intorre said they had received approval from the State College borough. Borough manager Thomas Fountaine was not immediately available for comment. Lisa Powers, a spokeswoman for Penn State, did not comment on the statue other than to say, "The university is not involved in this endeavor."
"This is nothing that's going to replace the statue on campus," Ms. Intorre said. "We don't feel the university is ready for this yet, and we feel the community is."
Paterno, who died in January 2012, compiled a 409-136-3 record as head coach of the Nittany Lions football team from 1966 to 2011. He coached 23 top-10 teams, five unbeaten teams, was named national coach of the year five times, and captured two national championships, in 1982 and 1986.
A graduate of Brown University, Paterno classically educated and known for quoting Virgil, who wrote the "Aeneid."
In July 2012, shortly after the release of the Freeh Report, the statue of Paterno that had been outside Beaver Stadium since 2001 became a point of contention. A plane flew above State College pulling a banner with the words, "Take the statue down or we will." When the university chose to remove the statue that month, hundreds of people came to mourn.
The Paterno statue and ways to honor Paterno have been hot topics at the public comment sessions of Board of Trustees meetings since then. In a December 2013 survey of alumni by the Penn State Alumni Association, 81 percent of respondents said Penn State should publicly recognize Paterno for his accomplishments with the university.
"This is our opportunity to honor Joe and the Paterno family not only for what they meant to the university but for the town and the community," said Mr. Sebastianelli, who played for Paterno in the late '60s and is running for an alumni seat on the Board of Trustees. "State College would not be what it was."
Ms. Intorre said she and a friend began brainstorming the idea two years ago when a photo of Paterno sitting on a campus bench eating an ice cream cone circulated on social media. Earlier this year, with the help of Mr. Sebastianelli, they were able to receive Mr. Daugherty's permission to place the statue on his property.
Ms. Intorre said the Paterno family was not involved in the project but said they had been made aware of the plan and "like the idea."
Mr. Porterfield, a local producer of the upcoming movie "The People's Joe," plans to donate a portion of the profits to the building of the statue. The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to start in July.