Paterno fought off efforts to remove him earlier this decade

Photo by Bill Moore. Copyright 2006

With the news that Joe Paterno may have been involved in a cover-up at Penn State, here’s a look back on an article that detailed Paterno’s “come back” in 2005 after Penn State officials tried unsuccessfully to ease him into retirement.

This was dug up and highlighted by SPORTSbyBROOKS and it’s instructive on how Paterno had an iron grip of the football program. Nobody would seriously doubt that, but this article fills in many of the details. Paterno told them to go to hell, and then he or someone in his camp likely leaked this story as he spiked the football in their faces. After this story there was no doubt who was the king of Happy Valley, and he would leave on his own terms.

This paragraph also jumped out at me:

He chose unforgiving punishments for players who drank too much or skipped class, like when he cut star wide receiver Joe Jurevicius from the travel roster just before the Citrus Bowl Jan. 1, 1998. Yes, he was willing to worsen his team to strengthen his way. He donated his millions to the school library and his minutes to film study. He pledged simplicity — a blue blazer wardrobe, a modest house. He decided he would never fire an assistant coach, finding it senseless to let one go when he could help make him better. “You showed you were committed to it,” former assistant Kenny Jackson said, “and he’d die with you.”

It’s all painfully ironic now, but the real message here was that Paterno was tough on players and others around the football program when they broke his rules. He was the king.

Read the entire article. It’s actually creepy thinking about it now. The bottom line is Paterno didn’t want to let go, and that singular drive may be what kept him from doing the right thing when the Sandusky allegations were explained to him.

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