Well folks tried their best to kill him off yesterday on The Book and Twitter. So much so that one news source even had to retract their story and apologize for jumping the gun. But I think we all knew that the end was just around the corner.
Legendary former Penn State coach Joe Paterno died earlier today after losing his fight with cancer. He was 85-years-old.
It's unfortunate that everything had to come down on Joe Pa the way it all did in his final days. It could not have been a better example of it raining when it pours. He had to deal with the whole child rape scandal going on in his program at the same time he's diagnosed with cancer. Although, to be fair, he really could have made part of that easier on himself by doing a better job of dealing with that monster he had on his staff.
It's amazing when you think about how long he had that gig at Penn State. He was the head football coach for longer than I've been alive. And I know I'm old. There are college coaches that are lucky to last a full season. Penn State let him stick around for almost forever. He'd still be there today if that whole mess hadn't popped off. Cancer or not.
I'm a firm believer that the older a person gets, the more their ability to continue living relies just as much on their desire to live as it does their health. Especially in a case like Joe Pa where he had a treatable form of cancer. The continued passion he had to coach football gave him a reason to keep going strong year after year. The moment that was taken from him so was a lot of that fire he had for life itself.
Regardless of how his tenure ended, there was no denying the contribution that Joe Pa made to not only Penn State but also college football in general. Just when you thought he didn't have what it takes anymore after a couple of losing seasons he was able to get Penn State back near the top of the elite programs again. You would have thought that more programs would have learned from Penn State's example that commitment can often breed success. At least from a coaching standpoint, Joe Pa was class act literally in a class all his own.
Rest in peace, Coach Pa.