HolyCoast: Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dies

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dies

I saw a news flash from Pennsylvania yesterday afternoon that said Paterno was gravely ill and apparently his lung cancer finally ended a storied life at age 85:
Joe Paterno – a legend, lion and disgraced leader at Penn State – has died from complications of lung cancer.

Joseph Vincent “Joe” Paterno was 85.

His family, which includes five kids, 17 grandchildren and his wife Sue, released a statement Sunday morning to announce his death: "His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled."

"He died as he lived," the statement said. "He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community."

For 46 seasons, Paterno was the beginning and end of Nittany Lions football. When he left Beaver Stadium for the final time on a snowy October day, Paterno had amassed 409 career victories – more than any coach in the history of the game.

He won his first national championship in 1983, and then another in 1987. Year after year, decade after decade, players left his program bound for the NFL.

He was an innovator with influence, a dogged and determined coach with unmatched stamina.
It's a shame his career ended as it did with a sex scandal involving a long-time assistant.  Though he'll be remembered fondly by most Penn State fans, that black mark will always be there.

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