Legendary coach leaves behind legacy

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By: Jackie Salzano

It was only just a few months ago when I was writing about the controversial shake up at a prestigious university. On Nov. 10, 2011, Penn. State’s head football coach, Joe Paterno was removed from his position due to his involvement in the child sex scandal.

Last week Penn. State was put through another tragedy. Ex-coach Paterno passed away on Jan. 22. He was 85 years old and died from a long battle with lung cancer.

The cancer was spreading throughout his whole body when finally he couldn’t fight any longer. The doctors said he died specifically of “metastatic small cell carcinoma of the lung.”

Paterno passed away in State College at the Mount Nittany Medical Center. There he was surrounded by his immediate family members.

Not only did he leave behind his  five children and multiple grandchildren, but the legacy of his football coaching career which is incomparable to many others.

Paterno was born on Dec. 21, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He went on to become a quarterback and cornerback for Brown University in 1950.

He then went on to be the assistant football coach for Penn. State University. It was then just five years later was he named head football coach of the Penn. State Nittany Lions.

While coaching at Penn. State, Paterno earned the nickname “JoePa”. During this time in Happy Valley he brought the team to victory for 409 games and took the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games and two national championships.

It is proven how great a coach Paterno was through the showing of more than 250 of the players he coached went on to play in the NFL.

“He will go down as the greatest football coach in the history of the game,” said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

Email:jsalzano@radford.edu