SI Vault
N. Brooks Clark
December 06, 1982
Three decades ago Art Sandusky was a conductor on the streetcars of Washington, Pa. and, with his wife, Evie, the owner and operator of a hot dog stand. But when the streetcars were shut down, the Sanduskys found that pushing frozen custard and foot-long red-hots in the summer months wasn't providing the wherewithal to pay their bills the year round. So they signed up as live-in directors of the Brownson House, a local recreation center that was on the verge of being closed. After the Sanduskys and their 9-year-old son, Jerry, moved in, they persuaded the town fathers to keep Brownson House going. That was back in 1953, and they have been there ever since. This goes a long way toward explaining why their son, now the Penn State football team's defensive coordinator, is, at 38, the founder of The Second Mile, a charitable organization that recently opened a group home for six troubled boys in the State College, Pa. area. The home's name comes from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:41—"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."
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December 06, 1982

Linebackers Are Jerry Sandusky's Business, But Not His Only Business

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Sandusky attributes much of the success he has had to the character of the players he works with: "They're mostly leaders, kind of outgoing. Buttle, for one [now a New York Jet], kind of owned the place from the day he arrived. I told Greg he didn't know how slow he was—and he didn't. That's why he played so well, and that's why his teammates played so well. They played up to his expectations of them, and among other things, they beat Pitt 7-6 in his senior year when Pitt had Tony Dorsett."

Growing up in Brownson House, Sandusky had observed the same thing about troubled children. "So much of what happens depends on the care and concern that people show for them," he says. "I saw so many kids come through there who never really had a family or anybody to care about them or give them any guidance at all. It always bothered me."

It hasn't bothered Sandusky that The Second Mile thus far has kept him from leaving Penn State. "Many people have talked to me about hiring him," says Paterno, "but Jerry's been reluctant to talk to them because of all the commitments he has in this area." A couple of head-coaching jobs at the college level have come and gone, as well as inquiries from Oakland and Tampa Bay about interviewing Sandusky to become a pro assistant. "A long time ago Jerry really wanted to be a head coach," says Dottie, "but now there are so many things going that he never mentions it anymore."

"I'm concerned about his future," says Paterno, who spent 16 years as an assistant to Rip Engle at Penn State. "I'm proud of everything that he and Dottie have done, and I certainly wouldn't like to lose him, but I'd hate to see him lose his chance to be a head coach."

"The timing hasn't been right for me or my family," says Sandusky. "It might be someday. We believe the saying, 'It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it.' Dottie and I were disappointed when we couldn't have children, but we took it as a positive thing and it gave us an opportunity to do more."

"It's the way he's always been," says Sandusky's mother, Evie. "I guess it's his nature that he's never quite happy unless he's helping somebody else."

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