Joe Paterno

About Joe Paterno: Friday letters from online readers

Here are letters sent in today from online readers.


I never played for Joe Paterno. I never met the man. I did not go to Penn State. But I grew up in Lewistown.

I wish to thank Paterno. Yes, I wish to thank Joe for the memories (to steal pharase).

Memories of more than football games. Memories of a 19-year-old soldier in Vietnam listening to AFN radio for game results or on rare occassions the games themselves. It brought a little bit of home to a lonely soldier.

Memories of family and friends gathering on game days while stationed in Germany. Good food, friends,family, and football. What could be more American?

Memories and life lessons learned (even though you probally didn't set out to teach them). Such as football is a game you play while attending college to get an education and to graduate...or anyone can suceed if they try hard enough...or ordinary people can suceed wihtout the need of all that hype of names on uniforms...and best of all, the best individual should do the job. Blue collar people pack thier lunch, go to work, and get the job done.

Memories of my son growing up and watching Penn State games with me. He now has three sons of his own and they watch college football together, unfortunately they cheer for University of Washington.

Yes Joe, thanks for the memories.

Walter E. Lynn, Spanaway, WA


Dear Joe,

You didn’t know me, yet you left an imprint on my life. I was simply one of the countless faces in the crowd, watching you every Saturday in the fall, and if I was lucky, occasionally seeing you at a pep rally or other event.

You were a role model to so many regarding how to do things the “right way” – through strong ethics, prioritizing family, and showing kindness and respect for others while always maintaining a competitive fire. In this day and age when “style” often trumps “substance”, you held to your ideals. You gave generously of your time, financial support, and wisdom.

In honor of your legacy, I plan to double my donation to THON this year, and I challenge all alumni and friends of Penn State to do the same (in support of THON and/or Special Olympics of PA). I think you would appreciate us remembering you by helping others in need. We’ll miss you, Joe – but your impact lives on.

Tom Helock, Fleming Island, FL


Joe Paterno has been laid to rest and, with the ceremonies of this past week, healing has begun. However, for many affiliated with the university, an open wound remains – the Board of Trustees.

They claim they had no other choice but to fire Paterno. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps the mounting pressure from the media, critics, and others would have been a distraction and, as the board claimed,

Paterno’s continued presence on the sidelines a detriment to the interests of the university. I happen to disagree but am willing to accept this as a possibility.

However, a large number of alumni and friends of the university can never accept the action taken by the trustees. For some, it was a flawed decision that resulted in the undignified termination of the man most responsible for the Penn State we all know and love today.

On Wednesday, Phil Knight gave voice to this view and some 12,000 mourners at the Jordan Center sent a clear message of agreement. And thousands more watching the live feed from around the state and the country likely added their voice to the applause inside the Jordan Center.

For these Penn Staters, those involved in the termination of Paterno will remain a distraction and detriment to the interests of the university unless and until they all resign.

For the Board of Trustees, it is time to apply your own standard to yourself. In the best interests of the university, it is time for you to resign. All 32. Only then can the entire Penn State community heal.

Tim Quigley, Nazareth, Pa


I am writing this in memory of football coach Joe Paterno. I had never met him but over many years was taken back by this superior football coach who brought so much to Penn State and to everyone who followed him in his long career.

A truly honest, hardworking coach who cared about his football team and the players on it. Everyone heard of Joe Paterno, even a Mom like me who watched her own son play football for the Univ. of Delaware.

I found it so heartbreaking in the way he was fired telephone. They did not even have consideration to face him. More than sad to bring him to the end of his career by this uncaring tactic.

I watched the two-hour memorial service for him and cried with all those speakers who told stories about him. This service made me again know others cared about him and did not put him down, but believed in him and all he did for Penn State.

Mr. Paterno may you rest in peace knowing others like myself believed in you and thought of you as a great person! God Bless You for all you did for everyone!

Mrs. Eileen A. Kumpon, Binghamton, NY