A man affectionately known as “Joe Pa” may now go down in history as a man who formed a coaching staff who were too affectionate with their players. The role that Joe Paterno has had over college football in the last half century can in no way be overlooked or ever matched. To say that Paterno was one of the best football coaches of all times is an understatement. Not a single coach has ever meant more to one program than Paterno has, and still does, to the Nittney Lions of Penn State.
Paterno was what every athlete hopes to have as a coach. He was an aggressive man who knew how to keep his players into the game no matter what happened, as well as a person who could sit down and make somebody feel better after a tough game. He was the type of guy who will show up at the stadium day in and day out no matter what. (Twice in the last five years Paterno had been seriously injured, yet he still coached every single game.) To judge Joe Pa’s legacy on what has recently been discovered is the same as losing respect for Tiger Woods as a golfer after it was found out that he was unfaithful in his marriage: it just shows ignorance.
This last week has surely been a tough one for both Paterno’s family and all of Nittney Lion Nation. It shows what kind of celebrity Paterno is in University Park, PN, that most, if not all, students seem to be rallying behind him in support. There is no doubt that if it were up to the Nittney Lion faithful, that is the fans and players, Paterno will forever be their coach. Unfortunately, when a scandal as large as the one that Penn State is facing hits, there are certain actions that need to be taken.
It was a sad day in college football, and all of sports, when Joe Paterno was finally fired. For a man who was supposed to spend his last days on this Earth on a football field, it was a day that nobody could have ever imagined. As a man, his image may never be the same, but as a football coach he will forever be remembered affectionately, inappropriately or not, as Joe Pa.