Morelli OnLion: Meeting of the Minds

The dog days of summer have arrived in Happy Valley.

Besides the hiring of a new men’s basketball coach and the return of the Pitt Panthers to the football schedule, there hasn’t been much news coming out of State College.

Last week, however, iconic coaches Joe Paterno and Mike Kryzewski sat down on the Penn State campus to record a show that will air on ESPN this week. In today’s edition of Morelli OnLion, we’ll take a closer look at the meeting between the two icons. We’ll also have some recruiting news.

Meeting of the Minds

When Paterno and Krzyzewski sat down last week in Eisenhower Auditorium, the pair got along like they’d been best buddies for years. Truth be told, they’d met for the first time earlier that afternoon in the Lasch Building.

During the taping, the two shared stories about their ethics, integrity and their legacies as icons on their respective campuses.

Paterno even joked about being an icon.

“As far as being an icon … tell me what being an icon is?” Paterno said. “If it means being good looking or you’re handsome, I like it.”

The 90-minute program is entitled “Difference Makers: Life Lessons with Paterno & Krzyzewski.”

Paterno and Krzyzewski have combined for 1,301 wins and six national championships in their 81 seasons. They were asked about the state of college athletics. Paterno is the winningest coach in Division I-A football. He admitted that not even he is perfect when it comes to knowing the rule book.

Coaching legends Joe Paterno and Mike Krzyzewski met to film an ESPN special that will air this week.

“I broke a rule the other day without even thinking about it. I was walking by Holuba Hall and I stopped and watched (an unsupervised workout) for a couple of minutes. I didn’t talk to anybody,” Paterno explained. “I got back to the office and said to one of the coaches, ‘so-and-so looked pretty good today,’ and the coach told me, ‘you know, you broke a rule?’”

While it was a violation of a rule, it won’t be anything that will give Nittany Nation a black eye like the one Ohio State is suffering from in Columbus.

With the issues going on in Columbus, Krzyzewski said that the NCAA needs some re-tooling.

“They need to modernize and revamp the system and keep up with the culture we have now,” coach K said. “The NCAA needs to give us more time to teach. You have to be current and realistic and understand these kids want to be taught and communicated with, as opposed to how people communicate now.”

It was a meeting between two legends. It was something we may not see again anytime soon.

Penn State Lands Two

Over the past weekend, Penn State landed two defensive tackles, according to Austin Johnson from St. Augustine’s Prep in Richland, N.J., and Derek Dowrey, from Handley High School in Winchester, Va.

The Nittany Lions’ Class of 2012 now has 10 members, including four defensive tackles. Augustine measures in at 6-foot-4, 277 pounds while Dowrey is 6-3, 300.

Johnson chose the Nittany Lions over Boston College, Rutgers, Syracuse, Villanova and Tulane. Dowrey had offers from West Virginia, East Carolina, Ohio and Richmond. At nose guard last season, Dowrey racked up 10 ½ sacks.

Morelli OnLion’s Final Thought: It was Bob Dylan who once sang, “The Times they are a Changin.’” In the world of college football, that song holds true. Just ask any fan of The Ohio State Buckeyes. While I don’t think that college football players should be paid, I do think that what many of the Buckeyes did is understandable. If you are given gear, championship rings or swag of any type, that should be yours to do with what you choose. If you give your championship ring to a relative, a museum or sell it to a pawn shop, that decision should be the player’s.

In this writer’s opinion, the NCAA is extremely hypocritical. They will load up a player with a “swag bag” at bowl games and not think anything of it. What is the difference between giving a kid a bag with thousands of dollars of merchandise in it or a car dealer giving a kid $500 to sign autographs to drum up business?

It’s just some food for thought.

Chris Morelli is an award-winning writer/editor who lives in Centre County and covers Penn State athletics for He’s also a regular on “Sports Central,” which airs on ESPN Radio in Altoona and State College. E-mail him at Also, be sure to check out Morelli OnLion on Facebook!

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