Joe Paterno earned $13.4M pension

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Joe Paterno earned a state pension of $13.4 million for his 61-year coaching career at Penn State.

Paterno's family said Tuesday through a spokesman that Paterno's widow, Sue, would receive an initial payment of $10.1 million by the end of May, with the rest to be paid out over the next two years.

The calculations were made through the standard formula for anyone in the State Employees' Retirement System, according to his family. Paterno never accessed his pension.

State law outlines how retirement benefits are calculated. All SERS members receive the same consideration, retirement system spokeswoman Pam Hile said.

Paterno family spokesman Dan McGinn said the family also planned to donate $1.5 million to Penn State-related or State College-area charities.

Paterno died in January at age 85, less than three months after being ousted by trustees in the aftermath of child sexual abuse charges against retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Paterno began working at Penn State as an assistant coach in 1950 before being promoted to head coach in 1966. He held Division I records for head-coaching tenure at one school and career victories, with 409.

The Hall of Famer had a compensation package from Penn State worth $1.02 million last year, making him the university's top earner, according to an open-records report released by the university in May 2011.

But the formula to calculate the pension could account for no more than $240,000 in salary, the family said.

The Penn State report doesn't include compensation from outside the university that top coaches typically collect, like endorsement deals.

Still, Paterno's total compensation paled in comparison to many of college football's other well-known coaches, especially since Penn State won two national titles under Paterno. For instance, Alabama pays Nick Saban more than $4.6 million a year, while Oklahoma's Bob Stoops earns nearly $4 million.

"Financial gain was never Coach Paterno's top priority," McGinn said. "He believed he was fortunate to work with great young men at one of the country's premier academic institutions."

Including the $1.5 million in donations announced Tuesday, McGinn said the Paternos have given roughly $9 million to Penn State or other charitable causes. That would include roughly $4 million to help in part build a campus library which bears the family's name, and endow faculty positions and scholarships.

"A commitment to give back to the community that had welcomed and supported them so fully was always a priority for Joe and Sue Paterno," McGinn said.

Out of the latest donation, $500,000 will go to the Catholic center on campus. The remaining $1 million is pledged to the Paterno Foundation, which is selling a DVD of the Jan. 26 memorial service for Paterno. The family has said proceeds from the DVD sale will go to Special Olympics -- a cause championed by Sue Paterno.

The foundation will also donate to other area charities.

Distribution of the state retirement system benefits can vary from year to year because of numerous legislative changes. Payments can also vary according to the benefit options chosen by the member, Hile said, and if a member dies, options also vary for beneficiaries.