Joe Paterno, 85, died on Sunday after complications from lung cancer.
Scott Paterno, Joe’s son, made it known that the legendary coach was being treated for lung cancer on Nov. 18, shortly after he was fired on Nov. 9 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. On Jan. 13, Paterno was admitted to the hospital after minor complications with his cancer treatment. On Saturday, doctors said that Paterno’s condition had become “serious.” It had also been reported in The Washington Post that the Paterno family was considering taking Joe off of a ventilator. On Sunday morning, his family confirmed that he had passed away.
In a statement released on Sunday to announce his death, his family said:
"He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community."
JoePa became a legend in State College, PA, during his 61-year coaching career at Penn State, the last 46 spent as head coach. Throughout his career he became one of the most legendary figures not only in college football, but all of athletics. His 409 wins are the most by a majorcollege football coach, averaging out to nearly nine wins a season! Paterno also tops the list with most bowl appearances at 37, and most bowl victories with 24, not to mention two national championships.
Many people will not be able to get over his failure to do more during the Sandusky scandal, and that is okay. But this was a guy who affected thousands of people in a positive way throughout his life and coaching career. He was also able to create a lasting legacy with his many charitable donations, including those to the university which resulted in Penn State completing the Paterno Library in 2000.
Today I choose to honor his legacy and the good he has done for his university and community, not focus on the negative of the Sandusky development. Not to say I have forgotten or am okay with the failure to do more, but being able to honor a man and the good he has done does not mean forgetting or glorifying negative events. It’s simply paying respect to a guy no longer here, and supporting a family going through a difficult time. R.I.P., JoePa.
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