Horror writer, Stephen King could not write a more chilling and disturbing way on how Penn State football coach—and icon—Joe Paterno’s coaching career would end.
With the recent sexual abuse allegations against long-time and former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who is charged with 40 criminal counts of child sex abuse on nine young boys from 1994-2008, it is safe to say that Joe Paterno’s time in Happy Valley is may be coming to an end.
When a college football fan thinks of Penn State and Happy Valley, Paterno is the first and fore-most thing to enter their minds.
The 84-year-old Brooklyn-born son of Italian immigrants would put the agricultural school simply known as The Pennsylvania State University on the map back in 1965.
Since becoming the head at Penn State, Paterno would transform the quiet and sleepy town known as “Happy Valley” into a college football hotbed.
In Happy Valley, life revolves around Penn State and the Nittany Lions football team—which in turn revolves around Joe Paterno.
During Paterno’s 46-year reign at Penn State, he would win two national titles, go to 37 bowls and win the most games in FBS history at 409.
Paterno is currently tied with Amos Alonzo Stagg in career wins at 548
At Penn State, Paterno was more than a head coach that wore thick black glasses, khakis, black tie and spoke in a raspy New York accent, he was “JoePa”
Paterno deserves better than this, he deserves better to be remembered as a man that —unintentionally—turned a blind eye to the unspeakable acts committed by his right-hand man in Sandusky and was the victim of poor judgment and a morally bankrupt—on top of incompetent— administration.
For all he has done for Penn State, Paterno is still guilty of his blantant failure and inaction of reporting Sandusky’s actions.
Among Penn State fans and critics, there has been some talk that Paterno should have retired roughly ten years ago, due to sticking to the same archaic 50’s-style offense instead embracing the modern passing game of the 21st century.
Despite all of his detractors, Penn State would be forever known for having tough defenses and play-making linebackers, hence the nickname of “Linebacker U”
Penn State has never had any recruiting violations or reports of athletes taking illegal benefits unlike other top-tier programs at USC, Ohio State, Miami and North Carolina under Paterno’s career.
Sandusky, who was once Paterno’s rumored successor would coach the likes of Matt Millen and Lavar Arrington appears to have used his own position of power at Penn State and his own charity—Second Mile— to selfishly satisfy his immoral fetish of pedophilia.
With a ninth victim reportedly coming forward against Sandusky, and the shock and anger of the Penn State sexual abuses still fresh, we could very well be seeing the last of Paterno prowling the sidelines at Beaver Stadium.
A tragic end to the career of a sports legend such as Paterno makes for a very sad day in Happy Valley.
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