Zamarripa is a junior news/Internet and English double major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We all knew it was coming. We just didn’t know it would come so soon. Yesterday morning, Joe Paterno passed away at age 85.
There is not much that hasn’t been said about Paterno. His coaching record sits at 409-136-3. He has won more games than any other college football coach in history. He graduated roughly 87 percent of his players. He donated more than $4 million from his own pocket to Penn State University.
For 62 years, Paterno did things the right way. He was our rock, our moral compass. As college athletics crystalized into a ruthless business industry, Paterno never flinched.
That’s why when the news broke in November about sex scandals within the program, everything was so hard to digest. What were we supposed to do without Joe Pa? He was the one constant in sports. The one man that embodied everything that college athletics should stand for.
We wanted answers. We wanted Paterno to give us a damn good reason why he had not done more back in 2002. But his explanations did not satisfy us. Paterno could and should have done more.
It’s pointless now to go over everything that transpired. Paterno was cleared of all criminal charges, and he was then fired by the university. Two months later, Paterno’s words still ring in our ears: “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”
His legacy will never be the same, and every time the name Jerry Sandusky pops up, I’m sure you will cringe a little bit. And when you do, you’ll think of Paterno, and that’s the sad reality that his legacy will never escape.
In my eyes, Paterno was the greatest college coach we have ever seen. It’s hard to be in the public spotlight for so long and never falter. Paterno was not a perfect man, but he did so much for Penn State, for his players and for the community. And that’s what we should remember.
Paterno once said, “They ask me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone. I hope they write that I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach.”
Paterno made Penn State a better place. No one can argue that.