Over the past few weeks the entire Pennsylvania State University, in State College, PA has been under the national microscope for the alleged actions of one man. This man, Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, has been charged with sexual assault, and is alleged to have sexually abused at least 8 young boys over the past 15 years. Sandusky’s actions have caused outrage throughout the country and have led to the recent demise of the storied athletic program, and the firing of public icon and Hall of Fame Coach Joe Paterno.
Joe Paterno served in the United States Army during the final year of World War I. After being released from his military duties, he attended Brown University, where he played quarterback. Following graduation, he was lured away from his original aspiration of attending law school, when his former coach Charles Engle offered him an assistant coaching job with him with the Penn State Nittany Lions. He would then serve 16 years as an assistant before becoming the Penn State’s head football coach in 1966.
A position that he clearly cherished and devoted his entire existence to, Paterno not only won games on the football field, he also taught his players how be victorious in the game of life. Paterno was known for being very critical of his players, on and off the field. Coaching at an academic institution as renowned as Penn State, recruiting the most talented players can be hard due to strict academic requirements. While many coaches in Division I (the most competitive division in college sports) would make academic exceptions for players of high caliber, Paterno
would not diminish the academic standards of the university he cherished, merely to have better football players. Paterno believed in football being a team game, and success was based on how the team played together, not the individual skill level of the players
Years of training as both a player and an assistant coach had apparently paid off, as he lead the Nittany Lions to back-to-back undefeated seasons in 1968, and 1969. Hundreds of Paterno’s players went on to play professional football. He won nearly 75% of his career games, and led the Nittany Lions to conference championships in 3 different seasons. Even though Paterno was well past the typical retiring age, he was voted as coach of the year in 2005 and 2006, and was inducted into the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame in the year 2006. Paterno’s self-given philosophy was that “if you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves”. His attention to detail was how he took care of the small things. Rival coach Jim Tressel of Ohio State has been quoted as saying “It’s incredible to think about the commitment he’s had to Penn State, the growth he’s fostered and nurtured… Paterno’s legacy has made an impact on members of the younger generation as well.” There is no questioning that Paterno was viewed as an icon in the eyes of the Penn State faithful, and for good reason. (The Pennsylvania center, 2011) Former assistant coach Gerrald (Jerry) Sandusky’s name has been all over the news in recent weeks. He is accused of sexually assaulting young boys on various Penn State facilities. In the year 1998 was when Sandusky had first faced charges of sexual misconduct, when a then, 11 year old boy came forward about his experiences with Mr. Sandusky. The boy, who was referred to the in the case as “victim six” stated that Sandusky showered naked with him and another boy (who did not testify). Sandusky set up a meeting with victim six’s mother, in which District Attorney Ray Gricar, tapped in on. He asked the mother for forgiveness and is quoted “I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness from you. I know I won’t get it from you. I wish I were dead.”. An innocent man will rarely ask for forgiveness, instead he will ask you to believe him. (Report writing for, 2010) The prosecution...