Joe Sarra, who was an assistant coach at Penn State under the late Joe Paterno for 16 years, died on Thursday, the university's sports information department confirmed through its Twitter page.
Sarra was 75.
A native of the western Pennsylvania town of Fayette City born in Belle Vernon and a 1960 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, where he starred in football and eventually was inducted into the school's hall of fame, Sarra arrived at Penn State in 1984 from Lafayette.
Sarra spent his first nine years on Paterno's staff coaching the linebackers. There, he developed stars like Shane Conlon, Mark D'Onofrio, Keith Goganious and Andre Collins, all of whom went on to play pro football.
Sarra then took over as defensive line coach, turning out eventual NFL players like Jimmy Kennedy, Brandon Noble and Lou Benfatti.
Sarra moved into an administrative post within the football staff after the 1999 season.
Sarra also was involved with Jerry Sandusky's Second Mile Foundation.
Sarra is survived by his wife, Barbara, and two sons, Joe Jr. and Scott. His great-nephews are former Northern Cambria football standout Anthony Atkins and Alex Atkins, who is about to enter his senior season with the Colts.
Another great-nephew, Bernie Sarra, is a freshman defensive tackle on the Navy football team; he played for Greensburg Central Catholic against Bedford in the 2009 PIAA Class AA semifinals.
In addition to his time at Lafayette, Sarra also coached collegiately at Miami of Ohio and on the scholastic level at Greensburg Hempfield, Belle Vernon, Southern Columbia and East Washington high schools.