And it’s very clear that despite the sex scandal that rocked Penn State University last year, Joe Paterno will be remembered very fondly by those who knew him.
Since his death, shoppers have flocked to the stores on campus to purchase all the JoePa memorabilia they can get their hands on, while another 3,000 fans, alumni and students braved the cold for a candle-light vigil.
It’s not just PSU that is mourning the loss of the most winningest coach in Division I college football history either — the entire country is!
Hundreds of figures in the sports world and beyond have made statements regarding the sudden death of a legend. It’s pretty incredible how far this college football coach’s reach was. Check out who said what below!
Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden:
“It’s going to be very hard to imagine college football without Joe in this world. I met Joe in 1962 when I was the head coach at Howard College and he was an assistant at Penn State. I took a train up to State College to watch them during spring practice. We started playing each other once I got to West Virginia University in 1966 as an assistant coach, which was Joe’s first year as Penn State’s head coach. We had many great battles over the 40 plus years, and many great times together with our wives on various coaching trips.”
Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski:
“Few people are responsible for building something that will last forever. ├óΓé¼┬ªCoach 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.”
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald:
“The legacy of Joe Paterno will be long lasting ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ 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.”
Former Penn State player and 4-time Super Bowl champion Matt Millen:
“I am numb. Forget the football aspect. We just lost a great contributor to our society. He was way more than a football coach. There are many living positive testimonies walking around because of Joe Paterno. He straightened out many lives.”
“He was rare. This was a real guy ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ he was not a fake. Was he infallible? Absolutely not. He had his flaws; he made mistakes. But he was as close to being what you are supposed to be as anyone I ever have been around.”
Former Penn State player and current Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny:
“His influence on me personally was a lot more far-reaching than the playing field. ├óΓé¼┬ª Coach Paterno should be remembered and revered for his 61 years of service to the Penn State community, the many games and championships he won, and the positive influence he was.”
Former PSU player and current Buffalo Bills safety Bryan Scott:
“It’s really difficult to find words that encompass what Coach Paterno will forever mean to me. He reinforced that a man’s character, morals, values and fundamentals were the main ingredient for success. Succeeding in the classroom, succeeding at your job, succeeding at home, should all be placed before success on the football field.”
“He brought great perspective to my life, and I will always and forever take those lessons, live by them, and pass them forward.”
Former President George H.W. Bush:
“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 ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ 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.”
LeBron James on Twitter:
“R.I.P Joe Pa! Met him before while I was out at Nike campus. He was great man!!”
[Image via AP Images.]