Mr. Sarra received some unwanted publicity after his retirement when it was revealed he was the target of prank phone calls in 2005 from linebacker Dan Connor, a Strath Haven High graduate who would later become an all-American, and two other players.
Upon hearing of the incident, the late Joe Paterno suspended Connor for the first three games of the 2005 season and kept him out of the starting lineup the next two games. Police chose not to press charges after Connor and the other players apologized to Mr. Sarra.
"I was a young guy acting like an idiot," Connor said in a 2007 interview. "It's one of those things you wish you could take back."
Connor, who signed in March with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent, did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
Former Penn State player Adam Taliaferro, who was nearly paralyzed following a serious injury in 2000 and is now a member of the university's board of trustees, called Mr. Sarra "our family's rock during difficult times."
Taliaferro said on Twitter: "RIP Coach Sarra - Great PSU coach and even better man. I will never forget everything you did for me and my family during my recovery. - Thank you"
Mr. Sarra, who played his college football at California (Pa.), coached at several high schools in Pennsylvania. He began collegiate coaching as an assistant at Miami of Ohio and Lafayette before going to Penn State. In recent years, he served as secretary of the State College Quarterbacks Club.
His is survived by his wife, Barbara, and sons Joe Jr. and Scott.
Contact Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @joejulesinq. Read his blog, Lion Eyes, at www.philly.com/sports/lioneyes