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By Mark Shade

(Reuters) - Joe Paterno, the iconic head of Penn State University's football program for 46 years fired after his long-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with child sex abuse, will speak publicly for the first time Saturday since his dismissal.

Paterno, who was admitted to a hospital in State College on Friday because of complications from cancer treatments, was interviewed by Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins at his home on Thursday, according to the Post's website.

The interview, in which the paper said Paterno speaks about the scandal, Sandusky, Penn State and his legacy, is set to appear on the Post's website at 4 p.m. eastern.

The last time Paterno, 85, spoke publicly was November 8, the night before he was dismissed by the Penn State Board of Trustees for failing to tell police what he knew about the child sex abuse allegations against Sandusky. Also fired was university president Graham Spanier.

Sandusky, 67, faces 52 charges stemming from accusations by 10 men who say he molested them as juveniles over a 15-year period. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and no date has been set for his trial. He is under house arrest.

A member of the College Hall of Fame, Paterno was head coach of the Nittany Lions for 46 years. With 409 victories at Penn State, he won more games in big-time college football than any other coach in the sport's history.

Penn State hired New England Patriots assistant coach Bill O'Brien to replace Paterno as head coach a week ago.

Paterno was admitted to a State College hospital on Friday for observation due to minor complications resulting from his treatment for lung cancer, which was diagnosed two months ago. A family spokesman said Saturday morning there was no change to his condition from the previous night.

(Editing By Dan Burns)

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