HAPPY VALLEY, Pa. -- On this day in 2012, arguably the greatest coach in college football history, Joe Paterno passed away. Join us in remembering the legend.
Joseph Vincent Paterno was born on December 21st 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. At that time a 1/2 gallon of milk costed 28 cents, 2 nickels could've bought you a loaf of bread, and a beef rib roast was priced at 39 cents per pound.
In 1945, Paterno graduated from Brooklyn Preparatory School, a now-defunct, all-boys, Catholic Jesuit school.
In 1950, Paterno would graduate from Brown University in Providence, Road Island, where he played quarterback and defensive back on the football team. Paterno still shares the school's career interceptions record with 14.
That same year in 1950, Paterno had planned to attend Boston University's law school, but instead decided to join his college coach, Charles "Rip" Engle, as an assistant coach at Penn State University.
In 1962, Paterno married Suzanne Pohland, his college sweetheart. All five of their children would graduate from Penn State.
"Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart and mind - confidence is the key to all the locks." ~ JoePa
In February of 1966, Paterno was named Penn State University's 14th coach. On September 17th of that year, he won his first game as PSU's coach, 15-7 over Maryland. He was awarded the game ball by his team.
Two years later, in 1968, Paterno produced his first unbeaten season, as the Nittany Lions finished 11-0. They were ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll after defeating Kansas 15-14 in the Orange Bowl.
The following season, in 1969, they did it again. The Nittany Lions finished 11-0 and were again No. 2 in the final AP poll after beating Missouri 10-3 in the Orange Bowl.
"Be humble in victory and gracious in defeat." ~ JoePa
In 1973, Penn State posted its third unbeaten season under Paterno with a 12-0 record, and star player John Cappelletti won the Heisman Trophy.
In 1982, Penn State finished 11-1 and defeated Georgia 27-23 in the Sugar Bowl to win its first national title under Paterno. Four years later, in 1986, he'd coach Penn State to winning another national championship in the Fiesta Bowl, making it his second one.
In 1997, Penn State broke ground on the $34 million Paterno Library, after Paterno spearheaded fundraising and personally donated $225,000 to the project.
In 1998, Paterno and his family donated $3.5 million to Penn State for faculty positions, scholarships and two building projects.
That same year on September 12th 1998, Paterno won his 300th game as Penn State's coach, 48-3 over Bowling Green. The Nittany Lions finished 9-3 and Paterno won the inaugural Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
"The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital." ~ JoePa
In 2002, Paterno received the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award from the American Football Coaches Association, its highest honor for those "whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football."
From 2000 to 2004, Penn State had losing seasons, but rebounded with an 11-1 record and won a share of the Big Ten title in 2005. The Nittany Lions would then make their first Bowl Championship Series appearance, defeating Florida State 26-23 in the Orange Bowl. Paterno was named national coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association for an unprecedented fifth time.
In 2007, Paterno was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
"Today, you've got a decision to make. You're gonna get better or you're gonna get worse, but you're not gonna stay the same. Which will it be?" ~ JoePa
In 2009, Paterno and his wife announced a one million dollar pledge to the Mount Nittany Medical Center.
On November 6th 2010, Paterno won his 400th game as Penn State's coach, a 35-21 victory over Northwestern.
In January of 2011, Joe Paterno was presented the Gerald R. Ford Award at the NCAA Convention. The award honors an individual who has "provided significant leadership as an advocate for intercollegiate athletics on a continuous basis throughout his or her career."
That same year, on October 29th 2011, at the age of 84, Paterno, passed legendary Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson as the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history with 409 career victories after a 10-7 win over Illinois.
Authorities said Paterno notified PSU athletic director Tim Curley of the allegation.
That’s when the media began to write their own non-fact-based narrative, which ultimately would - in a negative way - impact the coach's image as a decent human being.
A day after news broke of Paterno's unconfirmed involvement with a potential cover up, Paterno was fired by the university.
Then on January 22nd of 2012, Joe Paterno unexpectedly passed away at the age of 85 due to lung cancer.
But it can also be argued that he too died from a broken heart.
It's rationally known with cause that before someone is accused of a crime, evidence must first be presented.
A reasonable conclusion was used as Freeh's standard, which means nothing more than "it's possible that this happened."
That standard isn't used in any court of law, whether civil or criminal; it's not even enough to obtain a search warrant.
Having said that, the attorney general even said Paterno wasn't a subject of the investigation and that he way entirely cooperative when he was being questioned.
So what's with the heat?
What will forever remain fact is that Paterno was found guilty in the court of public opinion, not in the court of law. Therefore, legally speaking, the man is innocent.
Nonetheless, an ax was still taken to his reputation; and the damage remains visible even half of a decade later.
In 2015, Joe Paterno's wins were restored, but was his legacy?
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