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January 22, 2012

Former Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno Dies at Age 85 … Rest in Peace

Posted in: Deceased,Obituary

Joe Paterno has died at the age of 85

We knew last night when it was reported that he was in grave condition, near death and had asked for friends, family and loved ones to come to the hospital to say his final goodbyes, that it was only a matter of time. Sadly, JOE PA has passed away at the age of 85 from complications of lung cancer.The winingest coach in Division I college football,  capturing 409 victories and two national championships at Penn State, has died.

Joe Paterno:  December 21, 1926 – January 22, 2012, Rest in Peace

His family 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.”

It is obvious that Joe Paterno lost the will to live following the Penn State/Sandusky sex scandal. Joe Paterno loved two things, his family and Penn State. Sadly, many will only see the sex scandal that occurred as Paterno’s legacy; however, nothing could be farther from the truth. In the end Joe Paterno did not die of cancer, he died of a broken heart. He admitted he could have and should have done more when it came to the sex scandal that cost him his job and tainted his legacy. Paterno admitted, “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was.” However, it would be short sighted and ignorant not to see the good that Joe Pa did for Penn State University and the many individuals whose lives he touched.

No matter what the PSU trustees try to do, Joe Paterno was and forever will be the face of Penn State. His contributions to the University were tremendous. How many sports coaches does any one know who give back to their colleges, rather than just use them as a stepping stone for their careers? The millions he gave back to PSU to make academics at Penn State a better place needs to be remembered.  Joe Pa made an incredible impact on the lives of so many; however, like all of us, Joe was human and not without flaws. He left the game the winningest coaches ever, he leaves us as a flawed man who tried to do his best. Let us remember him for the good he has done and forgive his trespasses.

Paterno became the winningest head coach in Division I football history on Oct. 29, when the Nittany Lions defeated Illinois for his 409th victory. It would be the last of the 548 games he served as Penn State’s head coach, covering almost 46 full seasons.

Statement from Penn State  Trustees and President Erickson on passing of Paterno:

We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always.

The University plans to honor him for his many contributions and to remember his remarkable life and legacy. We are all deeply saddened.

We will never again see a coach like Joe Paterno in college football. That is a shame. How many people actually stay in one place and forgo offers from other institutions or the NFL? Seriously, Joe Paterno was an institution. For many of us that grew up in the Northeast and had friends and family in Pennsylvania, Penn State football was our regional team. So many lives this man touched, yet it is the scandal that he is presently remembered for. Sadly, the sex scandal has tainted his reputation, but that is not all that JoePa was. We are all not without sin and I hope the individuals who were sexually abused at the hands of Jerry Sandusky get justice. More now than ever. What Sandusky did was pure evil and his actions continue to cause consequences.  Let us remember the many good things that Joe Paterno did and the many he helped, influenced and lives he impacted. As for his sins, all I can say is the following:

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.


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