Joe Paterno resigning -- sad end to great legacy
News that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is resigning, in the aftermath of a sex abuse probe involving a former assistant, marks a sad end to a long-running legacy. Paterno, 84, had been head coach at the school for nearly a half-century, and had built a reputation as a guy with integrity, one who avoided the recruiting scandals that hit other big-time football programs.
So what's he doing in a book blog? Well, for one thing, Paterno was an English major at Brown University, before building a career in football. And for another, he may be the most-written-about college coach in America. (Though all those autobiographies will have to add a sad coda.) Lastly, I've always admired Paterno from afar, and for the past several years, have made a trek with friends to Happy Valley to watch a game. We were foiled in the last attempt by the freak October snowstorm -- I got as far as Harrisburg before having to turn back. Maybe that was a bad omen.
To read about the pre-scandal Paterno, here are some options:
"Pride of the Lions: The Biography of Joe Paterno" by Frank Fitzpatrick
"No Ordinary Joe: The Biography of Joe Paterno" by Michael O'Brien
"Playing for Paterno: One Coach, Two Eras: a Father and Son's Personal Recollections of Playing for JoePa" by Charles Pittman and Tony Pittman
As the Associated Press reported, Paterno has been besieged since former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged over the weekend with molesting eight young boys between 1994 and 2009. Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have been charged with failing to notify authorities after a witness reported a 2002 assault. At least one incident was also reported to Paterno.
"This is a tragedy," Paterno said in a statement Wednesday. "It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."