JAY DAVIS: Remember Joe Pa for the good things

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The football world lost one of the most important men in its history when Joe Paterno died on Sunday morning.

By now you all know what has happened in the Penn State and Paterno world the last few months. Paterno’s one-time assistant Jerry Sandusky has been charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing eight boys. It has been a mess that has cost a number of Penn State officials their jobs. Paterno was one of the men who was forced to step down.

Paterno did make mistakes in not knowing how to handle the Sandusky situation. He had heard about the evils of Sandusky, but did not go to the police and did not do everything in his power to make sure the abuse stopped.

The bad part of this was that Paterno was vilified for not understanding the weight of the situation and doing enough when he had the chance.

The powers that be at Penn State fired Paterno in a manner that was not befitting a man who made the college and the student-athletes there his entire life for 60 years. Yes, 60 years. While Paterno was the head coach at Penn State for 46 years, starting in 1966, he was coaching there a lot longer than that. In fact, Paterno recruited now 72-year-old Mike Ditka back in 1952.

It wasn’t long after JoePa was fired, it was revealed he had lung cancer. At 85 years old, you could not expect him to last too long. He didn’t. He died two months after his long and distinguished coaching career was taken away.

It is too bad it had to end this way. It is sad that the world will link JoePa to the Sandusky evils for a while. It is too bad that he had to end his career with a firing.

Let’s just hope that in the future, Joe Paterno is remembered as one of the greatest football coaches and one of the greatest leaders of young men this wonderful nation of ours has ever known.

The legacy of JoePa should be all about the good he did at Penn State his entire adult life.

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