Joe Paterno 1926-2012
Harrison: Remembering Joe Paterno
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
College football has lost an all-timer of an icon. Say what you want about the last three months, but we pause to remember the man for what he was, and that--is a man with a great legacy. Here are some of the fondest memories of Joseph Vincent Paterno:
The Beast of the East
It seems like Penn State has always been one of the dominant programs in college football. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Nittany Lions became Penn State only once Joe-Pa arrived on campus and started building the storied program. What Paterno turned it into is the best program in the Northeast. The Lion’s roar is only intimidating on the PA loud speaker because Joe Paterno built a program in the middle of nowhere, PA into the “Beast of the East.”
Paterno has always done things his own way. Harry Caray had the glasses, Bear Bryant the fedora, and Woody Hayes had his plain, black, block O baseball cap. For Paterno, we will never forget those eyes peering through those glasses, with that hair, with those pants rolled high to reveal the white socks. He will be defined by what he has done on the field, but we’ll all remember the look of a stalking Joe Paterno on the sideline.
The Brutally Honest and entertaining Pressers
In today’s day and age, the honest answer at a press conference has gone by the way of the single wing. Not so with Joe-Pa. There were no standard,
cliché answers from the head man at Penn State. The answers--particularly at the end of his career, were less predictable than the central Pennsylvania weather, and were exactly how he felt. If there was one coach at a Big Ten press conference you didn’t want to miss quotes from, it was not the no-speak Jim Tressel, or the Lloyd Carr’s and Barry Alvarez’s. It was Joe Paterno--period.
The Modest Living
Early in the career of Joe Paterno, coaches--even big name coaches--didn’t get paid the millions that even average coaches get paid today. As salaries went up, Paterno benefited. You’d never know it. Even up until his last days, he lived in a house of modest means. He believed in never flaunting his money, and in fact, gave a lot of it away to the institution that he worked for. Despite his fame and icon stature, he was a down-to-earth, regular guy from Brooklyn--all the way to the end.
The Giving of Time and Money
Speaking of giving, Paterno gave a lot of money to Penn State. The library on campus is just the tip of the iceberg of giving for the Paterno family, and we may never know the total amount of money that Joe gave away, but you can bet that it was a significantly substantial part of what he received. There are also accounts of money given to multiple charitable causes, but that's not all. He had little of his own time--to his choosing. There are countless accounts of the hours he gave to his players and former players. He took time to teach football, but also even more time to teach young men life lessons that would shape and mold who they ultimately became in life. It was, to be sure, a tireless effort, but one that he believed to the very core of his unassuming beliefs. If you don’t believe it, take time to jump on twitter--it’ll resonate then.
Doing it His Own Way-
Most memorable perhaps is the understanding that Joe Paterno did things his own way. He did not submit to flashy uniforms, modern media, or the hot craze of the day. His teams wore plain blue and white uniforms with no names on the back because of this very belief. One of the funniest, yet endearing memories of Joe Paterno will forever be the image of him sprinting across the middle of the field in Columbus, during a meaningful, close game against Tressel’s Ohio State team on Sept. 23, 2006. On fourth down, he cut through the huddle and in front of the punter because--well, when you gotta go, you gotta go. He simply did not care what anyone thought about nature’s due course. He was his own guy--full of wit, grit, and self-belief.
Rest in peace--Joe Pa. You will be missed......
By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee
Considering all that’s gone on with the Penn State football program these last few months, there will be plenty of conflicting debate about the legacy of Joe Paterno.
Now is not the time for those conversations.
Now is the time to reflect back on the last truly dedicated head coach. Paterno was never about the money, he was about Penn State. For better or for worse, he was Penn State.
He was a humble man. When Penn State won, Paterno gave credit to the players. When it lost, Paterno took the responsibility.
We lost a legend on Saturday night - the kind of legend that we probably won’t see in college football ever again. In this day and age of lucrative contracts, win-now mindsets and coaches that eat, sleep and live football, Paterno was the throwback. He was old school. He not only molded football players, his players routinely became great men.
His legacy will be tarnished by the circumstances surrounding his dismissal, but it won’t be forgotten.
By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball
College football lost a legend with the passing of Joe Paterno. Plain and
While some people may remember him for the scandal that abruptly ended his career, Coach Paterno should be remembered as one of the game’s most successful coaches, and as someone who always conducted himself with class both on and off the field.
Whenever people talk about “Joe Pa”, the first thing that should come to mind is loyalty. Including his time as an assistant coach, Coach Paterno spent 62 seasons roaming the sidelines in State College, spurning several offers from the NFL during that time. Very few people, in any profession, remain at one location for over six decades.
How impressive is his longevity? In order for Frank Beamer, the nation’s longest tenured coach, to reach Paterno’s milestone, he would have to coach at Virginia Tech until 2050.
College football will never see anything like this ever again.
The second thing that people should remember about Joe Paterno is that the man could flat out coach, winning games when a loss seemed inevitable.
The 1987 Fiesta Bowl illustrated this point perfectly. The Nittany Lions entered the game as a decided underdog against a Miami team loaded with NFL talent that had breezed through its schedule. The Hurricane offense moved the ball down the field virtually at will, while Penn State had no answer for the speed of the Miami defense.
However, despite being outgained by a 445 to 162 margin, Penn State still captured its second national championship.
How did they do this? By playing Joe Paterno style football, which emphasizes physical play, minimizing mistakes, and making the most of an opportunity. This style of play forced seven Miami turnovers, including an interception return that set up the game-winning score.
The most important thing to remember about Joe Paterno is what he did off the field.
Ever since he was promoted to head coach, Paterno took greater pride in watching his players succeed in the classroom than on the field. He was probably more proud of his 2009 team’s 89% graduation rate then he was with any of his national championship teams.
More importantly, Paterno always put the needs of others above himself. After his dismissal, no one would have faulted Paterno for having hard feelings about the matter. However, when students came to his house to protest his firing, Paterno told them not to worry about him, but to go home and pray for the victims of the abuse because they were the ones that truly suffered in this case.
Given Paterno’s successes both on and off the field, it is easy to see why he has been the face of Penn State University since 1966. While he was not perfect, he undoubtedly touched the lives of every player, alumnus, and faculty member that he came in contact with.
He will be missed.