Joe Paterno 1926-2012
Legendary college football coach Joseph Vincent Paterno lost his battle with lung cancer surrounded by close friends and family in the Happy Valley of State College, Pennsylvania last night. He was 85.
Having coached at Penn State University for over 60 years, an eternity in the sports world, Paterno had more wins than any other college football coach.
JoePa, as Paterno was better known in Pennsylvania, was always revered as a hero and philanthropist to his community. More than any other coach, JoePa stressed the importance of character and morality to his Nittany Lion football players, even more than a win/loss record. He was a beloved coach and figure to the people of Pennsylvania.
Joe died while under harsh national criticism for his handling of supposed information he had regarding Jerry Sandusky’s alleged relationship with young boys. Paterno had stated publicly that he did not know how the handle the information he had been given, and told his superiors at PSU, also noting he wished he “would have done more.” Paterno was never brought on charges, but was fired from his position as head coach of the Penn State football team.
Personally, as a Penn State alumni, I remember Joe as a man of integrity and class. I’ve never been the kind of guy to be impressed with athletic feats and win/loss records, but I liked Joe for his character and positive contributions he made to the community. My respect for him actually has nothing to do with football.
I’ve stated my thoughts on what happened with Sandusky numerous times on the radio (like him, I wished he would have done more, but believe he did enough), and welcome your thoughts below, fully aware most of them will probably be negative. It’s probably hard to understand why people like me speak so highly of his character when all they know about him was learned over the last three months… But I figured I would try to explain it.