Sunday, July 15, 2012

Joe Paterno: A Man Who Used to be a Legend

A year ago, Joe Paterno was Penn State's 86-year-old football coach. Many college football fans thought of Paterno as a legend who was known for winning and loved the game of football.

Today, Paterno is no longer known as just a legend. His name will forever be linked to the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal case. Some believe that Penn State did the wrong thing by firing him. Others felt like justice had been served. It doesn't matter what side you are on, Sandusky name will always be linked to Joe Paterno.

What if Paterno had stepped in and reported Sandusky? Paterno would probably still be known as a winner. We can bring up the "what if's" forever. The damage is done. Paterno lost his job and life over the Sandusky sex scandal.

JoePa was Penn State's football coach for 46 years. He had been a part of the University for 61 years.  He won 409 games during his long career. No NCAA Division I football coach has more career wins than Paterno. He also holds the distiction of being the only NCAA Division I college football coach to have more than 400 wins.

Paterno brought home two National Championships to State College in 1982 and 1986. Five of his teams had undefeated seasons. JoePa led the Penn State to 37 bowl game and won 24 of them. No coach has won more bowl games than Paterno.

Since Paterno was a winner, the awards came in left and right during his career. Sports Illustrated named Paterno as Sportman of the Year and received the Bear Bryant Award in 1986. He was named the AFCA Coach of the Year five times during his career. In 2007, Paterno was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach.

It's a sad reality because Paterno did so much for Penn State University. It wasn't just football, Paterno made numerous contributions off the field as well. Paterno loved Penn State.

Paterno donated his time and money to the Penn State campus as well. He and his wife, Sue, donated more than $4 million to Penn State, and funded the school's library that bears their names. Paterno dedicated his life to the University.

Yet, today, we forget about those honors. That happens when you don't do the right thing. Paterno found himself in a world of hurt.  

His life changed in a blink of an eye, Paterno's life was turned upside down. On November 9, 2011, Paterno was fired. Just two months later on January 22, 2012 Paterno died of lung cancer. Many beleive that Paterno died because of the stress that the Sandusky case put on him.

Now, that Paterno is dead, we look back and see all the awards and honors that he received during his career. Yet, not many will remember him for that. Paterno will always be linked to Sandusky and not a legendary football coach who loved the game.

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