Reflections on Joe Paterno

UNIVERSITY PARK Coaches, administrators and dignitaries from across the nation reflected on the passing of Joe Paterno, Penn State’s legendary, Hall of Fame football coach from 1966-2011.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Paterno. He was an outstanding American who was respected not only on the field of play but in life generally – and he was, without a doubt, a true icon in the world of sports. I was proud that he was a friend of mine. Barbara and I send our condolences to his devoted wife, Suzanne and to his wonderful family.”
– George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States

College Athletics:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Coach Paterno. He stands at the very top of the mountain in terms of his coaching accomplishments, and his dedication to the education of his players set the standard for entire college football world. On multiple occasions, the National Football Foundation saluted his never-ending passion and commitment to the game. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Sue, his family, and the entire Penn State community.”
– NFF Chairman Archie Manning and NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Joe Paterno. His passing marks a tremendous loss for Penn State, college football and for countless fans, coaches and student-athletes. Our condolences go out to the Paterno family and to the entire Penn State community.”
– James E. Delany, Big Ten Conference Commissioner

“Today is a sad day. Joe made a difference. He impacted a lot of people. He made a difference in a community, in a college and in college football. He was truly special and an icon. For someone to continue to do what he did through different generations and for such a long period of time and be effective was amazing. I’ve considered Joe a friend and a mentor. This is sad day for college football and the Penn State community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and the Paterno family.”
– Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin Athletic Director and former Head Football Coach

“I am saddened to hear the news of Joe Paterno’s passing. Joe was a genuinely good person. Whenever you recruited or played against Joe you knew how he operated and that he always stood for the right things. Of course, his longevity over time and his impact on college football is remarkable. Anybody who knew Joe feels badly about the circumstances. I suspect the emotional turmoil of the last few weeks might have played into it. We offer our condolences to his family and wish them the very best.”
– Tom Osborne, Nebraska Athletic Director

Joe Paterno has meant so much to college athletics over such a long period of time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his immediate family first and foremost, and then, certainly, to the extended Penn State family.”
– Gary Barta, Iowa Athletic Director

“College athletics lost one of its pillars with the passing of Coach Paterno. Very few people are responsible for building something that will last forever. Coach Paterno was first and foremost an educator, whose immeasurable contributions to Penn State, the coaching profession and the entirety of college sports, will be felt permanently. That is the legacy of a great leader. We extend our deepest sympathy to the Paterno family and the entire Penn State community who’ve lost such a remarkable man.”
– Mike Krzyzewski, Duke Head Basketball Coach

“Barbara and I are saddened by the sudden and untimely loss of our long time dear friend Joe Paterno. His wife, Sue was a special friend and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. Joe was a great role model and represented all that was good about college football. It was tragic that such a person had to endure the heartbreaks of his last months on earth. God Bless Joe and Sue.”
– Vince Dooley, former Georgia Head Football Coach

“First of all, my condolences go out to his wife, Sue, and his entire family. Joe Paterno was an icon above icons in the football coaching profession. What he accomplished as a football coach will never ever, ever, be threatened. When you think of a word to describe Joe Paterno and what he did at Penn State, the word unimaginable comes to mind. That a man could give that much of himself to coach football and shape young men’s lives at one school for that many years speaks volumes for what that man is about. He will be very sadly missed as a person, a friend and in the football coaching profession.”
– Don Nehlen, former West Virginia Head Football Coach on

“Walter Payton once said, “Always remember that every opportunity you have to meet someone is an opportunity to leave a piece of yourself.” Joe Paterno not only fulfilled a promise he made to his father by making an impact, he left an indelible piece of himself with everyone in his life. The values Coach Paterno instilled in each of us that were fortunate enough to play for or work alongside him will never be diminished. They are manifested in our leadership, character, class and dedication to improving the lives of others in the classroom, workforce and community. They are distinctly evident in the way we raise our children and the type of husbands and fathers we have grown to be. I am forever grateful for the impact that Joseph Vincent Paterno has made on my life. I am not ashamed to say to Coach and his family that the way all of your former players will carry your legacy forward is by humbly improving the lives of those around us every day. Thank you Joe!”
– Al Golden, Miami (Fla.) Head Football Coach, former Penn State captain and assistant coach

“Early in my collegiate playing career at Penn State, it became clear to me that from my athletic perspective it was going to be a challenge to get playing time with great players like Jack Ham ahead of me. If I was to stay involved in the game of football, it was going to be as a teacher and a coach. Fortunately, there could not have been a better experience than learning how to teach and coach the game than being around Joe Paternoand the Penn State program. Not only did I get a great education in the classrooms at Penn State, but I also learned lessons as part of the football program there that I continue to use today as part of my coaching career.”
– Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut Head Football Coach and former Penn State letterman on

“Joe Paterno embodied the way college football was supposed to be. He educated young men by using the game of football, along with all of its challenges, in preparation for the real world. He was a great thinker, who was never afraid to say and act on what he believed. He leaves a tremendous legacy with the thousands of players and coaches he worked with. I will miss him deeply. My prayers are with Sue and the entire Paterno family.”
– Greg Schiano, Rutgers Head Football Coach and Penn State assistant coach, 1991-95

“The legacy of Joe Paterno will be long lasting – not only as a football coach and mentor, but as a family man. For 62 years, Coach Paterno poured his heart and soul into a football program and university, helping countless young men reach their dreams and goals on the football field before moving on to successful careers and lives as adults. It’s hard to fathom the impact that Coach Paterno has had on college football and at Penn State. His insight and wisdom will be missed. We at Northwestern send our condolences to Sue and the Paterno family.”
– Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern Head Football Coach

“It is certainly a very, very sad day. The passing of Coach Paterno is a huge loss; there will never be another Joe Paterno. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Paterno family.”
– Kirk Ferentz, Iowa Head Football Coach

“On behalf of my immediate family and the Michigan State football family, we express our deepest sympathy to Joe Paterno’s wife, Sue, his five children and 17 grandchildren, as well as his extended family, the Penn State football family and the entire State College community. Joe dedicated his life to Penn State and college football. He had unparalleled success during his 46 seasons as the head coach at Penn State. Joe was a major player who helped revolutionize the game of college football. In his six-plus decades at Penn State, he influenced and impacted countless numbers of players and people at a championship level. “Over the past five years, my wife and I have had the privilege of spending time with both Joe and his wife Sue. We appreciated and enjoyed the time spent at our various functions together and will forever remember him as a steward of our profession.”
– Mark Dantonio, Michigan State Head Football Coach

“I am certainly saddened by the news today of Coach Paterno’s passing. College football has lost one of its greatest, a coaching icon. Even though I was just an assistant when our teams faced one another, I feel honored to have shared the field with Joe. His players’ love for him, it shows how he touched their lives and it tells who he was as a man. He will be missed. His mark on Penn State and college football will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe’s family and friends and the entire Penn State community.”
– Brady Hoke, Michigan Head Football Coach

“My condolences go out to Coach Paterno’s family and the Penn State community. I have so much respect for what Coach Paterno accomplished at Penn State both on and off the field. He wasn’t just a legendary coach, but a class individual and his record speaks for itself. I had the honor of getting a few chances to spend time with him since we joined the Big Ten, and those were special opportunities for me as a relatively young head coach in this profession.”
– Bo Pelini, Nebraska Head Football Coach

“Coach Paterno obviously did so many wonderful things for a number of years, not only with the success of his teams on the field but the number of lives he shaped. I hope people remember his lifetime achievements. From day one, when I joined the head coaching ranks and was fortunate enough to cross paths with him at coaches meetings and various functions, he was always very engaging and complimentary of the way we did things at Wisconsin and how we played. I enjoyed competing with him at every level. Our Badger football family sends our condolences and deepest sympathies to the Penn State community and the Paterno family.”
– Bret Bielema, Wisconsin Head Football Coach

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Paterno’s family. We have the utmost respect for what he brought to college football and what he meant to the coaching profession.”
– Kevin Wilson, Indiana Head Football Coach

“I got home last night from recruiting and my oldest daughter said she had just heard. Fifteen minutes later, my youngest daughter at Murray State called. That’s two girls from a coach’s family reacting to it. That really sums up his impact. It hits home. He coached for 60 years with more than 100 players per year. Think about how many lives he touched, how many good things he has done. From my family to the Paterno family, our prayers go out to them. It’s a sad day for football, but a good day for the man upstairs. I would tell people not to forget what that guy has done. To coach for 60 years in one place, that just won’t ever happen again. I didn’t get to coach against him. But I got to coach in the Big Ten, sit next to him at a meeting and have my picture taken with him. That’s something I won’t ever forget.”
– Jerry Kill, Minnesota Head Football Coach

“I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Coach Joe Paterno. He was a man who I have deep respect for as a human being, as a husband and father, as a leader and as a football coach. I was very fortunate to have been able to develop a personal relationship with him, especially over the course of the last several years, and it is something that I will always cherish. My prayers and thoughts go out to his wife, Sue, and to their family, and also to the family he had at Penn State University. We have lost a remarkable person and someone who affected the lives of so many people in so many positive ways. His presence will be dearly missed. His legacy as a coach, as a winner and as a champion will carry on forever.”
– Urban Meyer, Ohio State Head Football Coach

“This is obviously a great loss to all of college football. The impact he had on literally thousands of young men who played for him at Penn State cannot be measured. There will never be another coach like Joe Paterno. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Paterno family.”
– Tim Beckman, Illinois Head Football Coach

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Coach Paterno. I will remember him with respect and admiration. I will remember his competitive spirit, his incredible generosity, his honesty, his integrity and his humanity.”
– Lloyd Carr, former Michigan Head Football Coach

Joe Paterno gave his life to college football. He gave his life to the players and college football. Not just at Penn State, but when I was the head coach at Michigan State, we had a player who could get a sixth year because of an injury, and Joe was the head of the committee. He got it done for the player, and that player actually ran a touchdown against them that could have cost them the game later that season. But never, I never doubted with him, that he was going to do what was best for college football, and the players that played it, and I think that should be his legacy.”
– Nick Saban, Alabama Head Football Coach on ESPN

“We have lost someone with great and special talents. He had great and special talent as far as being a leader, which is very obvious by his winning record. And, he had a great and special talent in how he treated people. In my experience with him, he was always charming, gracious and thoughtful. I think he was a great fighter, and I know he fought this illness to the very end. College football will miss Joe Paterno.”
– Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech Head Football Coach

“I’ve known Coach Paterno since I started coaching. Sally and I built a great relationship with him and Sue over the last 10 to 15 years, and we shared many great times. I know our lives are better because we had the opportunity to spend time with them. He was a gift to us, and when we heard the sad news today, we both openly wept, not only because college football lost a great man, but we lost a great friend. I appreciate all of the advice, the attention and the time he’s given us over the years. We will miss him dearly and will always cherish the wonderful memories. College football will be left with a major void because he has done so much for our game and for Penn State. It’s a very sad day, and with his passing, we have lost one of the greatest coaches our game, and all sports, will ever have. He leaves us with great stories, memories and records that may never be broken. There will never be anotherJoe Paterno. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sue and the family.”
– Mack Brown, Texas Head Football Coach

“I am very sad to hear the news of Joe Paterno’s passing. He was someone that I had a great deal of respect for, both growing up as a young man and as a football coach. He did so much for college football, athletics as a whole, and education. The positive influence he had over so many people and what he’s done for collegiate football and athletics will never be duplicated. He will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathies go out to the entire Paterno family and the Penn State community.”
– Steve Addazio, Temple Head Football Coach

“Katharyn and I got to know Coach Paterno and Sue at a Nike coaches retreat. We were the new kids on the block at that time but the Paternos were very gracious in welcoming us into the head coaching fraternity. His record stands alone and his immense contributions to Penn State and the game of college football make him one of the greatest coaches of all time.”
– Mark Richt, Georgia Head Football Coach

“I have the utmost respect and admiration for Joe Paterno. I’ve coached around 300 college games and only once when I’ve met the other coach at midfield prior to the game have I asked a photographer to take a picture of me with the other coach. That happened in the Citrus Bowl after the ’97 season when we were playing Penn State. I had one of our university photographers take the picture with me and Coach Paterno, and I still have that photo in the den at my house. That’s the admiration I have for Joe Paterno. It was sad how it ended, but he was a great person and coach.”
– Steve Spurrier, South Carolina Head Football Coach on

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Joe Paterno, and our heartfelt sympathies go out to Sue and the Paterno family. Karen and I were fortunate enough to spend time with Joe and Sue. Their love for each other and passion for life was inspirational. Joe was not just the winningest coach in major college football history, but he was a man that cared deeply for his players on and off the field. He truly was a role model for all coaches in college football. He will be deeply missed and our sympathies go out to the entire Penn State family.”
– David Cutcliffe, Duke Head Football Coach

“Coach Paterno is one of the greatest coaches in all of sport, and his achievements in college football may never be surpassed. More important is the lasting impact he left with the countless players who played for him. I’m saddened of the news of Coach Paterno’s passing and my thoughts and prayers are with the entire Paterno family.”
– Gene Chizik, Auburn Head Football Coach

“Coach Paterno was not only a great football coach-arguably the greatest ever, but he was truly a great man. I have had the privilege of knowing Coach Paterno for most of my life-since I was five years old. My Dad was a Penn State football letterman and a high school coach in the Pittsburgh area, and Joe would frequent our house on many occasions while recruiting. Later I had the honor of working under him as I began my football coaching career at Penn State as a graduate assistant from 1974-76, and without a doubt, his footprint was on every coaching opportunity that I have had in this profession. He impacted my career and my coaching philosophy to this day, and I am thankful for that. As of late I have been able to observe him from the perspective of a parent whose son played for Joe, as my son Ryan has been a Penn State football player the past four seasons. I can attest that from many perspectives he touched many young people’s lives in an extremely positive manner. The world of college football and college athletics will never see another coach or person like Coach Joe Paterno.”
– Rip Scherer, Colorado Assistant Football Coach; former Penn State graduate assistant coach

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