Joe Paterno: Simply the Greatest

On October 29, 2011, Joe Paterno led Penn State to a 10-7 victory over Illinois, making him the winningest coach in major college football history with his 409th win. After the win, the Nittany Lions were 8-1 and in first place in the Big Ten, but the joy in Happy Valley wouldn’t last long. The very next week, details of a scandal emerged, a scandal so large that it shook the foundations of college football to its very core and caused a sports icon to topple.

For 46 years, Joe Paterno led the Penn State football program with pure class and dignity. His “grand experiment,” which demanded that his players succeed not only on the field but in the classroom as well, helped make Penn State into one of the finest academic institutions in the United States. He built the Nittany Lion football program around the motto “Success with Honor,” and there’s no doubt that he was the perfect example of it. JoePa was a man that became something more — he was nothing short of an icon, and all of Happy Valley loved him.

joe paterno greatest coach

Photo by enviziondotnet via Creative Commons

But a scandal involving his former defensive coordinator and heir apparent Jerry Sandusky, who has been accused of committing acts that are unimaginably horrific, led to Paterno’s downfall and proved that even someone as legendary as JoePa is only human.

The scandal caused an upheaval that led to turmoil all throughout State College, and this was only increased on November 9, 2011, when John Surma, the vice chairman of Penn State’s board of trustees, announced what at one time seemed unthinkable; Joe Paterno would no longer be the head football coach at Penn State University. Many across the nation felt this was a necessary move, but it sparked riots by students across the university’s campus. This was a low point in Paterno’s life, but it ended up being only the beginning of his ultimate downfall.

Just a week after his ouster, Paterno was diagnosed with what was called a “treatable form of lung cancer,” but it ended up being too much for the 85-year-old. The cancer caused JoePa to be reduced to a frail old man, and it eventually caused his death on January 22, 2012.

Now that Joe Paterno has passed, I think it’s a good time to evaluate his entire life’s body of work, not just the tumultuous final two months. Joe Paterno was quite simply the greatest coach in the history of college football, and I rank him behind only John Wooden and Vince Lombardi on a list of greatest coaches in the history of sports.

He influenced countless amounts of people throughout his spectacular life, and there’s probably not a single coach in any sport that was more beloved by his former players than Paterno. And let’s not forget how much he meant to the university where he coached for more than 60 years.

He gave back so much to Penn State, and was as loyal as a person could be to his university. He could’ve been the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he turned it down and they hired Chuck Noll instead. He was offered the head coaching job at Michigan, he turned it down and they hired Bo Schembechler instead. He could’ve been the head coach and part owner of the New England Patriots, but he chose to stay in State College. He stayed at Penn State and won 409 games, two national championships (and was screwed over by the polls a few other times), and led the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games and he won 24 of those.

Don’t get me wrong, Paterno did fail to stop Sandusky when he had the chance, but all the positive things he did during his life far outweighed the negatives. His legacy should be that of a man who influenced legions of players and fans who loved him unconditionally to the day he died, despite everything that happened in the last couple months of his life. Joe Paterno was an icon, a legend, a great man and the greatest coach in the long and storied history of college football.



Comments

  1. There are certainly a lot of particulars like that to take into consideration. That may be a great level to deliver up. I supply the thoughts above as basic inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you convey up the place the most important factor might be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if finest practices have emerged round issues like that, but I’m sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Each girls and boys really feel the impression of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  2. First of all I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if
    you don’t mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your
    mind prior to writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind
    in getting my thoughts out. I truly do enjoy writing but
    it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually
    wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
    Kudos!

  3. I read this paragraph fully regarding the resemblance
    of hottest and earlier technologies, it’s awesome article.

  4. Nice post. I was checking constantly this weblog
    and I am inspired! Very helpful info specifically the ultimate part
    :) I maintain such info a lot. I used to be looking for this certain information for a very long time.
    Thanks and good luck.

  5. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long
    as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage?
    My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my visitors would genuinely
    benefit from some of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you.
    Many thanks!

  6. Great information. Lucky me I recently found your site by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve book-marked it for later!

  7. Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot
    drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple
    ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off
    topic but I had to share it with someone!

  8. Every weekend i used to go to see this web page, because i wish for enjoyment, as this this web
    site conations actually good funny data too.

  9. This info is worth everyone’s attention. How can I find out
    more?

  10. May I simply say what a comfort to find a person that actually understands
    what they are discussing on the internet.

    You actually know how to bring an issue to light and
    make it important. More people have to read this and understand this side of
    the story. I can’t believe you are not more
    popular because you most certainly possess the gift.

  11. I really like reading through an article that will make men and women think.
    Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  12. Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend
    your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted
    of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

  13. What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious know-how
    concerning unexpected emotions.

  14. For the reason that the admin of this web site is
    working, no doubt very shortly it will be famous, due to its quality contents.

  15. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be
    on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked
    while people consider worries that they just do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole
    thing without having side effect , people could take
    a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  16. It’s not my first time to go to see this website,
    i am browsing this web site dailly and obtain nice information from here all the time.

  17. I visited several websites except the audio quality for
    audio songs present at this web page is actually excellent.

  18. What’s up, of course this paragraph is really good and I have learned
    lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.

  19. Greetings, I believe your website might be
    having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look
    at your site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE,
    it’s got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads
    up! Other than that, excellent site!

  20. Wonderful work! This is the type of info that are meant to be shared across the net.
    Shame on the seek engines for now not positioning this submit upper!
    Come on over and discuss with my web site . Thanks =)

Speak Your Mind