Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died early today at the age of 85 from complications of lung cancer.
Paterno was the coach of the Nittany Lions for 46 years. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer in November, not long after having been fired from his job. The firing came as part of the child sexual abuse scandal in which one of Paterno’s former coaching assistants, Jerry Sandusky, was alleged to have been molesting young boys on Penn State’s campus. Paterno was made aware of the allegations but did nothing other than inform the people to whom he reported.
Fans of Paterno insist that it was wrong for the trustees of Penn State to fire him as part of the scandal. Others believe he should have called the police, and that he could have done more to protect innocent children who would go one to be abused after Paterno had been made aware of the problem.
Despite the sexual abuse scandal, Paterno is still likely to go down as one of the greatest college football coaches of all time. ABC reports Paterno, “… won 409 games and took the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games and two national championships. More than 250 of the players he coached went on to the NFL.”