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
Joe Paterno Dead: Penn State Reels Over Death of Former Football Coach
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."

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  • 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."
(Read more Joe Paterno stories.)

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