Today: Jun 25, 2024

Sports Commentary: Thank you Joe Pa

 PETE PAGUAGASports Editor

On Sunday morning the sporting world lost someone who has meant so much to the game of football.

Joe Paterno became the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions in 1966 and was there until his dismissal following the arrest of his former assistant and right-hand man Jerry Sandusky, this season.

Most of you know I agreed with the firing of Joe Pa this season, but at the same time he is a legend and one of the men who is responsible for the success of the game of football today.

When Joe Pa took over at Penn State, the first Super Bowl hadn’t even been played yet and Lyndon B. Johnson was the president of the United States. He has seen the evolution of the game of football, from strictly running the ball, to the West Coast offense to the Spread offense. He was also a main contributor in getting the Big Ten Conference and eventually the entire NCAA to adopt instant replay.

Overall, he won a total of 409 games, which is the most in Division 1A history and he won 24 bowl games, the most in college football history.

You could say he is the single reason Penn State has over 38,000 enrolled students. Also, in 1966, Beaver Stadium, where the Nittany Lions play, held 46,284 people. At the time of his firing, the stadium held 107,282 fans, the second-largest football stadium in the world.

But it was what he did for the university that makes him a legend. He was once quoted saying that, “Without a great library, you can’t have a great university.” So he and his wife Sue raised over $13.5 million to expand the Penn State library. The expansion of the library was named the Paterno Library after both Joe Pa and his wife.

Paterno also stressed the importance of education to the university. After winning his first, and the university’s first National Championship in 1983, he called out the university challenging them to make Penn State No. 1 in education as well in athletics. In 2008, Penn State had a 78 percent graduation rate, which was 11 percent above the NCAA Division-I FBS average of 67 percent. This was second to only Northwestern in the Big Ten.

The way Joe Pa went out was terrible but it had to be done. Hopefully it will not be the way we remember him. We should not remember him for his 409 wins and his two National Championships, but instead we should remember him for what he did for the game of football and Penn State University.

Joe Pa once said, “Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things.” Well you know Joe you did exactly that and more.

Thank you Joe.

1 Comment

  1. Nice job Pete. I agree, i hope Joe Paterno is not rememebered for how his career ended but for all the good he did along the way. The lesson we should all learn from this is, you are responsible for all your actions.

    Keep writing…keep Rocking

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