Paterno’s Words Have New Meaning With His End Approaching At Penn State
State College, Pa. is where Joe Paterno has called home for almost 3/4 of his 84 years of life. 409 wins over 46 seasons at Penn State University as the head football coach, and one huge scandal now shatters a 60+ year legacy with questions everything what this man has stood for with the Nittany Lions.
“Joe Pa” has been one of the most quotable coaches of any sport ever, but now his words have to be re-examined under the fire of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky being charged with sexually abusing numerous young boys over a 15 year period.
“This is a tragedy,” Paterno said in the statement announcing his retirement. “It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.” So why didn’t he? This raises the cover-up theory even further. Paterno was informed back in 2002 of Sandusky’s “behavior” by then graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary (pictured next to Paterno), who is currently the Lions’ receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Sandusky had retired from the PSU staff in 1999. He was prohibited from holding youth sports camps on campus in 2002, but continued to hold them through 2008 under his Sandusky Associates company at the university’s Behrend campus, just outside Erie. How could coach Paterno not known this? How was a known sexual offender to university officials (not to the public) be allowed to keep working with kids under the university umbrella after 2002?
“I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case,” Paterno said recently. “I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.” Honest response, but not taking a moral responsibility. Aren’t you as a coach of young men possibly away from home for the first time hold a responsibility to protect then, and make sure no harm is done to them?
Paterno’s legacy will be tarnished. I don’t feel destroyed. Most people look at Michael Jackson as one of the greatest artist in music ever, but his personal life does tarnish his “King Of Pop” image. Joe Pa may have not done anything wrong legally, but morally this is something he will have to live with until the day he dies, and his legendary words now lose its impact and believability. I present 5 memorable Paterno quotes and put them under the microscope:
“Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person’s control” — Excellence in this case was well within coach Paterno’s control. He could have done more and he’s admitted that. His excellence as a coach on paper is unmatched – winning 75% of the games he’s coached in “Happy Valley”, 24 Bowl wins and 37 Bowl appearances (both records), 2 National Championships, 5 perfect seasons, 4 more undefeated seasons, and 29 Top-10 ranked seasons. This resume will be remembered, but now forever tarnished by his lack of excellence as a man.
“You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others – the mark of a true professional” — Unquestioned that coach Paterno brought that out of his players on the field, but I refer back to what I was saying above. Was his moral agenda at a higher level than others?
“The minute you think you’ve got it made, disaster is just around the corner” — Undoubtedly this quote is ringing out right now! Joe Pa had it made at Penn State: a million dollar a year job, adoration from all in his community, and a man in his 80s still coaching and going out on his terms ………….. until today! Welcome to Disaster coach!
“Losing a game is heartbreaking – Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy” — Based on his quotes announcing his stepping down at the end of this season, Joe Paterno will wrestle with this on many nights at home. Not doing more back in 2002 will be seen as a loss of excellence and forever a tragic to him, the university, and the innocent young boys who came in contact with Jerry Sandusky.
“Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good” — May this last meal that you have with PSU leave a long lasting bad taste in your mouth Joe Pa!