New Castle News

Penn State Scandal

January 26, 2012

Tim Kolodziej: Though Joe’s gone, we still can follow his advice

NEW CASTLE — “It’s sad that with all the things Joe Paterno did, most will remember him for the one thing he didn’t do.”  — Billy Miller

I’ve been asked the same question countless times since Joseph Vincent Paterno died on Sunday.

“So, how do you feel about JoePa?”

My honest answer: I don’t know.

I really don’t.

On one hand, I loved the guy.

Everything from the Coke bottle glasses to the rolled-up khakis to the high-pitched voice. He was blue and white, plain and simple, and that was good enough for me.

He was humble, generous and compassionate. I’ve heard story after story about how he reached out to those in need, welcomed friends and strangers alike into his home, and kept his players focused on their true mission at Penn State University — to earn a degree.

Furthermore, there’s no arguing that Joe Paterno was a fantastic football coach. I won’t bore you with my observations; I’ll just throw out some numbers and let you make the call.

409: Career victories (all at Penn State, the most in Division I history)

247: Players drafted into NFL

78: First-team All-Americans

49: Academic All-Americans

37: Bowl appearances (all-time record)

33: First-round selections in the NFL Draft

25: Appearances in New Year's Day bowl games

24: Bowl victories (all-time record); 24-12-1 overall

23: Finishes in the national top 10

7: Undefeated regular seasons

6: Fiesta Bowl victories (Paterno never lost the game)

5: Undefeated, untied seasons (1968, 1969, 1973, 1986 and 1994)

3: Big Ten titles (1994, 2005 and 2008)

2: National championships (1982 and 1986)

1: Heisman Trophy winners (Cappelletti)

It’s apparent, Joe knew football.

But when a young graduate assistant shared with him the startling news that one of his former trusted coaches had committed an unspeakable act against a child, Joe didn’t know what to do.

And just a few short months ago, Joe had no idea that everything he had worked for over the past half century would be taken away — with a brief, but gut-wrenching phone call.

“You’ve been fired, effective immediately.”

Not because of something he did. No, in 46 years as head coach, the Nittany Lions never had a recruiting violation.

It was because of something he didn’t do.

An error of omission. And coaches HATE those.

They would much rather have you attempt SOMETHING to boost your team’s chances of victory, rather than stand around and do nothing.

In his 1989 biography, “By the Book,” Joe called taking action a cornerstone of building a great football program.

“First, it takes vision and determination. It takes belief in ourselves. It takes a plan. It takes concentration. And it takes the daily DOING of it.”

Here’s another gem from the book.

“Listening to your heart and going with it is a winning principle.”

By his own admission, Joe didn’t.

“I wish I had done more.”

So do we, Joe. So do we.

But if you have the ability to read this sentence, you still have time. You still have a chance to do the “one thing” you’ve always wished you would have done.

You can make that phone call. You can repair that relationship. You can put down the cigarette. You can make the doctor’s appointment. You can stop with the affair.

And maybe, just maybe, you can save a child from harm.

So, what is it? What is YOUR one thing that needs to be done?

If you loved Joe and all he stood for, do it in his honor. If you’re angry with him because you believe he didn’t act when it counted most, then don’t be a hypocrite. Show others how it’s supposed to be done.

“Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things,” Paterno often said.

And if we could turn back the clock to 2002 and give him another shot, I believe Joe would.

But it’s our turn now.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Penn State Scandal
  • Our Opinion: Report finds flaws in Sandusky probe, but no scanda

    So it seems the investigation into Jerry Sandusky was less than perfect.

    June 24, 2014

  • sandusky.jpg Penn State scandal played out in courts over 2013

    Penn State paid millions to settle claims of child sexual abuse, three university administrators accused of a cover-up fought the charges and NCAA penalties were dialed down slightly as the Jerry Sandusky scandal continued to play out in many different ways over the past year.

    December 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Appeals court denies Sandusky new trial

     Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky should not get a new trial after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys, a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled Wednesday.

    October 2, 2013 1 Photo

  • Penn State Abuse1.jpg Three from PSU ordered to stand trial

    Penn State’s ex-president and two former top school administrators were ordered yesterday to stand trial on charges accusing them of a cover-up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

    July 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • Penn State Saga: Paterno lawyer says estate to sue NCAA

    The family of the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno — along with several university trustees, former players and others connected to the school — plan to sue the NCAA over the landmark sanctions against the university for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

    May 30, 2013

  • Paterno family speaks at child abuse event

    On the night before he died, Joe Paterno scrawled a message that his wife Sue did not find until after the legendary coach had passed away. In that message, Joe Paterno noted the silver lining in the child sex abuse coverup that led to his firing might be that the scandal could inspire a greater awareness about child abuse.

    April 12, 2013

  • Judge: No new trial for Sandusky

    Jerry Sandusky lost a bid for a new trial Wednesday when a judge rejected his argument that his lawyers were not given enough time to prepare for the three-week proceeding that ended with a 45-count guilty verdict.

    January 30, 2013

  • Spanier.tiff Ex-PSU president Spanier charged in sex abuse scandal

    Former Penn State President Graham Spanier on Thursday became the latest high-ranking school official to face charges in the child sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Additional charges were also filed against two other school officials already charged in the case.

    November 1, 2012 1 Photo

  • dd5576bc7a387e1c1d0f6a7067004664.jpg Our Opinion: Sandusky jail term protects children and sends a message

    There probably isn’t much new to say about the Jerry Sandusky saga at this point. However, yesterday’s sentencing of Sandusky to 30 to 60 years in prison — essentially a life term — for his conviction on child sex abuse charges, warrants additional comment.

    October 10, 2012 1 Photo

  • dd5576bc7a387e1c1d0f6a7067004664.jpg Jerry Sandusky will die in prison, judge says

    Jerry Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison — effectively a life sentence — in the child-sex-abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall. A defiant Sandusky gave a rambling statement in which he denied the allegations and talked about his life in prison and the pain of being away from his family.

    October 9, 2012 1 Photo 1 Story

House Ads

Have you held or will you hold a garage/yard sale this year?

I have and it was a success! It's a great way to get rid of some junk and make a little extra pocket money.
I have, but it didn't go over so well. Better luck next time?
I haven't yet, but I plan to.
I haven't and I don't plan to. It's not for me.
     View Results