Happy Valley is a bit happier these days. Although legendary coach and many Penn State fans’ hero Joe Paterno has been gone for a year now, State College is recovering and putting the harsh past behind them.
The coach had a rough end to his career and ultimately his love amidst the Jerry Sandusky scandal that rocked his life and the university as a whole. Paterno’s reputation was tarnished after this scandal was discovered and that led to his firing and, some would argue, his death as well.
As the most famous member of the Nittany Lion family, Paterno has yet to be forgotten despite his tarnished image. The local community plans to host a vigil at a downtown mural that depicts the late coach.
“JoePa” is easily one of the most iconic college coaches of all-time and the local community thought it was only right to remember the man who dedicated 61 years of his life to the university and teaching not only football, but teaching boys how to become men.
Although the scandal is how he will be remembered for most, many forget the grasp on students’ lives that he had. He wanted these young men to be good football players while also being good people. He was a strong advocator for academics and philanthropy.
With tomorrow being the one-year anniversary of his death, there is no better time to celebrate his life rather than dwell on his mistakes. Nothing makes the things that he covered up OK and there is no doubt he should have turned his friend in for the heinous crimes that he had committed, but he was still a hero in the hearts of thousands and will remain as such.
It was rough ending to such a celebrated life, but tomorrow he will be celebrated once more in Happy Valley.