Waking up this morning I learned of something sad but expected. Former Penn State University Head Football Coach Joe Paterno died today at age 85. Known lovingly as Joe Pa, he was a man of principle, a man of compassion, and a man of honor. Paterno will be remembered in the record books as the leader in College Football Wins with 409. He was Penn State; people knew the Nittany Lions because of the football program and Paterno.
People throughout the sports world believe he will be remembered because of the scandal going on with allegations against a former Defensive Coordinator at Penn State. That is not how I will remember him. He lived to teach others successful life lessons through his connections to the players as their coach. He was the Head Coach at Penn State for 45 seasons. He gave his life to the school, and Paterno gave everything to teach the student-athletes about the future not just about football. My lasting memories of Paterno will be someone who preached hard work and dedication as well as a coach who showed undeniable love while on and off the field. In the sports realm, he will be known for his 409 wins, his two national championships and his 45 years of coaching for the same team. Former players and coaches have lost a great man. To everyone from his assistants to his players, he was a father figure, a coach, a loving soul waiting to help in any way possible.
He is survived by his wife since 1962, Sue, his children Diana, Jay, Mary Kay, David, and Scott, and his 17 grandchildren. They lost their husband, father and grandfather today. His family has been through more than we know with the allegations and such going on as well as the trouble he had with lung cancer.
The world lost a preacher of life, a man with vision and love. Current Denver Broncos and former Philadelphia Eagles Safety Brian Dawkins tweeted today: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 AMP)" That sums up Joe Paterno's life; he lit the way for everyone's life he touched.
Goodbye Joe Paterno. You were an icon, a man to look up to and someone worth following.