COMMENTARY | The man whom Bobby Bowden referred to as "one of the greatest coaches in the history of college football," has died.
According to family members and various news agencies, Joe Paterno, former Penn State football coach has died at the age of 85.
Paterno will be remembered for his legendary career in football. The only major college coach to win more than 400 games leaves a "career marked with distinction, glorious accomplishments, and immeasurable contributions to the Pennsylvania State University."
Nine days after Paterno was fired in November, he was diagnosed with treatable lung cancer. On Jan. 13, Paterno checked into a hospital in State College, Pa., for observation. On Saturday, he experienced additional health complications as his condition deteriorated to "serious," according spokesman Dan McGinn.
Rumors Saturday reported Paterno had died when in fact he hadn't.
Paterno started as an assistant in 1950 at Penn State. In 1966, he began his storied career as head coach. He won 409 games and two national titles. Paterno's rushed exit from the school last fall stands in contrast to his legacy of success over the decades.
When Paterno started coaching, he instituted a grand experiment where he defined success as "first-class football played by students who put first-class lives first." Paterno will always be remembered for putting academics back into college sports. To further his commitment of sportsmanship, Penn State under Paterno was a winning football program that has never been found guilty of a major violation by college football's governing agency, the NCAA.
"A great coach, a great man," President George H.W. Bush said. "A sports hero and an icon."