The “Joe Pa” legacy to remember by David Villagra, staff reporter

After 46 years of being a world-wide icon, coaching Penn State to two national championships, Joe Paterno’s heroic life came to an abrupt end on the morning of January 22, 2012. At age 85, he died just minutes away from the building he stepped into every day of his career. Paterno was diagnosed with Lung Cancer just days after he was fired from being the Penn State Nitanny Lions Head Coach.

John Devito, sophomore said, “He was a great football coach and will be missed, his strategies, coaching techniques will never be taught again.”

Paterno served as the Penn State Football Head Coach since being promoted from an Assistant Coach in 1950. With Paterno’s assistance, the Lions were amongst the nation’s top teams throughout the past four decades. During his time as a member of the Penn State coaching staff, Paterno led the team to a “401-135-3 mark as head coach and is the leader in career wins among major college coaches,” seen listed on

Joe Paterno stamped his legacy into college football history with one of the most respectable coaching careers in NCAA history. He had more wins than many other college football coach such as Bobby Bowden and Bear Bryant, as well as averaging 8.9 wins per season as Penn State’s head coach. He also holds several NCAA records for having the most bowl appearances of 37, two national championships, and 24 bowl wins.

During his time at Penn State, Paterno defeated 80 different teams. The only teams he faced more than once without a win are Oklahoma State and the Florida Gators, according to

He was the head coach for more than one-third of the games played by Penn State in it’s on hundred twenty five-year history. His final win was against Illinois with a 10-7 win where he broke the NCAA Division I record, an impressive finale to one of the most successful coaching careers of all time in Division I football.

Many people who knew Paterno mourned his death as they showed their respects with a candle light memorial in front of Paterno’s statue on the Penn State campus. Throughout all the thoughts and wishes from the public, former President George H.W. Bush with his wife, Barbra also paid their respects to the late Paterno. They expressed their grief to the Paterno family through a statement in an interview with People magazine.

“He was an outstanding American who was respected not only on the field of play but in life generally – and he was, without a doubt, a true icon in the world of sports. I was proud that he was a friend of mine,” said former President Bush who had much respect for the late Joe Paterno.

Though Paterno had one of the most stunning coaching careers in college football, his legacy was stained by the scandal of Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky is now a retired coach who served under Joe Paterno and received Assistant Coach of the Year awards in 1986 and 1999. His fans were disappointed with the fact that the scandal negatively affected people’s opinions on him and his career.

Mr. Millman, academic intervention specialist said, “It [his reputation] certainly got soiled with everything that happened at the end of his career, on the flip side there is a giant shadow over him for what he did do, not  for what he didn’t do.”

As Penn State looses a valuable member of their team and continue with their season who knows if they can carry on just as well without Paterno as with him. Brooklyn New York on December 21st 1926 Joseph Vincent Paterno was born and the beginning of the legacy of one of the greatest football coaches to walk the earth started.


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