Late this afternoon, legendary football coach Joe Paterno was forcibly removed from a position he’d held for the last 45 years, at a university where he’d worked for the last 61. During that time he had led the Nitanny Lions through 548 games, 409 victories, 5 undefeated seasons, 37 bowl appearances, and 2 national titles.
No other football coach of the modern era was as adored, and well respected as “JoePa”. To both his players and his fans, he was a father figure, a mentor, and a role model; a ideal of both leadership and graceful humility. He was the antithesis of flash: a simple man, all but invisible on the sideline but for his trademark horn-rimmed glasses and non-descript windbreakers. For Paterno, old-school teamwork was the ideal. He expected his players to work together in support of the whole, rather than as a support group for a single superstar looking for self-glory. His players wore jerseys without names because they, like Joe, adhered to the belief that, “When there is no name on your jersey, you have to find other ways to get noticed.”