Penn State Reels Over Paterno's Death
Tributes paid to iconic coach's complicated legacy
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2012 1:44 PM CST
A man reaches out to touch the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium on January 22, 2012 in State College, Pa.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Candles, flowers, and mourners surround Penn State's statue of "Joe Pa"; the men's basketball team observed a moment of silence before its game today; and the tributes are rolling in as State College pays tribute to the complicated legacy of Joe Paterno:

  • Former Penn State President Graham Spanier: "He was a distinguished American, a legendary coach, and Penn State's greatest ambassador."
  • Penn State's Board of Trustees: "We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His life, work, and generosity will be remembered always. The University plans to honor him for his many contributions and to remember his remarkable life and legacy."

  • The Paterno family: "His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community."
  • 1975-'77 Penn State tight end Mickey Shuler: "It's just sad because I think he died from other things than lung cancer. I don't think that the Penn State that he helped us to become and all the principles and values and things that he taught were carried out in the handling of his situation."
  • 1968-1972 Penn State running back Lydell Mitchell: "We came to Penn State as young kids and when we left there we were men and the reason for that was Joe Paterno."
  • Penn State linebacker Matt Millen: "My first thoughts about Joe are not as a coach because he was well beyond that. He was an educator and a teacher. He taught lessons, some about football, mostly about life. He taught us how to treat others and how to conduct life. He did it with his life."
  • Former Michigan State wide receiver Nigea Carter: "(During recruiting,) Paterno was the only coach that didn't talk about football. He talked about life and what life had to offer at State College. While I did not go there, he was the only coach to call me and wish me luck."

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
Jan 22, 2012 9:32 PM CST
"We came to Penn State as young kids and when we left there we were men and the reason for that was Joe Paterno." ...Presented without comment.
Jan 22, 2012 8:31 PM CST
Paterno died in shame. He enabled a beastly child rapist "pal" to horse around and ruin young boys lives. For thirty years. Fucking sick. My question is: Why was the state of PA paying and keeping a 85 year old relic on the public payroll? Don't most state employees retire by 65 or younger. (They do.) Good thing the truth came out about Papa Joe before he died so he could feel some of the shock, disgust and bitterness of his criminal silence.
Jan 22, 2012 2:12 PM CST
"Reels"? Is that another definition of "good riddance"?