Embattled Football Legend Joe Paterno Dies
Former Penn State Football coach Joe Paterno, 85, one day after being rushed to the Hospital, has died.
Paterno had been in and out of the hospital since January 13, suffering from lung cancer, a diagnosis he had not received until days after being fired from head coaching job at Penn State over allegations of improperly handling a child molestation sex scandal in 2002.
On Saturday, a number of news outlets erroneously reported Paterno as having died, reports which were later retracted after Paterno's son Jay tweeted "Dad is alive but in serious condition."
Paterno was a legend in college football, serving Penn State for 62 football seasons, with 46 of those years as head coach, helping the "Nittany" Lions (so named after their famous mountain lion mascot) become the winningest football team in NCAA Division I. During Paterno's tenure, the Lions won two national championships, won in all five bowl tournaments, had five seasons with no losses at all, and earned a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Paterno's career with Penn State has not been controversy-free, filled with anger at what he considered poorly called close games, even grabbing hold of one of the referees' jerseys to berate him on the field in 2002. In 1969, despite an undefeated run, then-President Nixon made the season political by declaring Texas as having earned the top spot, publicly attempting to minimize one of Paterno's earliest achievements as coach.
Paterno's controversies on-field, however, never detracted from his legendary status; along with his clean-cut, dark sunglassed, quiet demeanor, they added to his stature as the epitome of college coaching. What did in Paterno's career occurred far from the gridiron, in the shower room of Penn State's athletic department, far out of view of those that looked up to his leadership.Continued on the next page