My name is Louis Lombardi and this is my first post on Legal Insurrection. I am a graduate of Penn State University and my introductory post is on the passing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno. You can get a complete biography of me by clicking on my name in the other contributors section.
My family attended the women’s gymnastics meet on Penn State’s campus last night. The meet involved Penn State, Cornell, Alabama and Michigan State. During the meet, word spread through the stands that legendary football coach Joe Paterno was gravely ill. Being that the event was at Penn State, I naturally assumed that some sort of announcement would be made to keep Coach Paterno in our thoughts and prayers. What we got was silence; and it made me think, did the child abuse scandal wipe out sixty plus years of good will?
Joe Paterno passed away earlier today at the age of 85 and much of what he built over these many years has been called into question. Has his legacy gone to the great beyond with him?
Joe Paterno was extremely competitive and loved football. He did not just love football for the sake of the game but as a vehicle to prepare men for their future. He used the sport to teach and his success in this area is second to none. No other football program consistently graduated as many of their student athletes as Penn State. With the success of the football program in winning games and graduating students, he took his fame and money and rolled it back into the University. An example of his generosity is the $3 million dollars he donated to expand the school library, an amount of money that equaled over three years of his coaching salary (even after being relieved of his coaching duties, Coach Paterno donated $100,000.00 to the school). In addition to his own donations, he tirelessly raised funds on behalf of the University, bringing in untold millions. Penn State is a world class university and a big portion of the credit goes to Coach Paterno.
Joe Paterno was famous but he did not live an extravagant life style. He lived in the same house for over fifty years and till this day, his address and phone number are listed in the local phone book. Although easily one of the most famous football coaches of all time, he was paid less than most. Money did not drive him, teaching did and he taught through his football program.
Joe Paterno’s legacy is not his football teams’ wins and losses. If that was the case, the scandal that engulfed him and Penn State would surely consume it. Joe was about preparing men for the life that lay ahead and that legacy will live on through his players, who will in turn teach the next generation.
Death cannot erase this legacy, it will go on forever.