JoePa: Goodbye to a Legend

A Cartersville High School student takes a moment to reflect on the life of the legendary football coach, Joe Paterno.

Controversy, scandal and investigations are just a few of the words surrounding Penn State in the past few months; unfortunately the death of legendary coach Joe Paterno will be added to the headlines. 

The coach and mentor's death came at a time that Penn State is unfortunately darkened by a cloud of controversy, however students, past and present, along with family, friends, and fans will not let the ominous cloud darken the light that Paterno's life and coaching brought to Penn State. 

One of the most legendary coaches in the history of college football has passed, and we pause to reflect on a life that touched and influenced so many others.

"JoePa" was head coach of the Nittany Lions for 46 years and holds the record for most victories by an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision football coach with 409 wins. Paterno is the only FBS coach to have more than 400 wins. 

He coached five undefeated teams that all won major bowl games and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2007. Despite his accomplishments and years of dedication to the Penn State Football Program, these accolades have been overshadowed by scandal in recent months.

At a public memorial Jan. 26, Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight addressed the elephant in the room and cast the cloud away that hung over "JoePa." 

The firing of Joe Paterno came on Nov. 5 for his failure to alert anyone beyond his two superiors at the school when he was told of an sex abuse allegation against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 2002. 

Commenting on the controversial firing, Knight said, "The matter was in the hands of a world-class university, and by a president with an outstanding national reputation...

"This much is clear to me, if there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation and not in Joe Paterno." 

This remark drew a standing ovation from the crowd of 12,000 at the Bryce Jordan Center. Among those rising to their feet were Paterno's widow, Sue, and former defensive coordinator, Tom Bradley.

Take away the controversy, scandal and speculation, and Joe Paterno will go down in history as one the greatest football coaches in the history of college football. 

Let not concentrate on the negativity surrounding Penn State and remember and show respect to the legend that so many looked up to and admired.

Bill Thrasher February 03, 2012 at 11:44 PM
As I've had said previously, had Paterno gone to the locker room right then and beat Sandusky until he was dead, the pall never would have been cast over his legacy. Instead, his memory remains tarnished because he didn't act in a quicker or more forceful manner. RIP
Marcia February 13, 2012 at 01:18 PM
It is wrong to put someone on a pedastal. The fall is often a long one. The spiraling descent gathers momentum and takes with it others in its path usually those who created th pedastal for the king in the first place.


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