posted on Jul, 17 2004 @ 12:42 PM
What the Penn State Nation spent almost 55 years building up, they now want to tear down. It isn't easy. JoePa deserved the four-year extension he
signed during the offseason. It's good for the program and it's good for senior citizens everywhere. In our society, we tend to dispose of the
elderly. It's good to see age discrimination doesn't exist in college football (also see: Bobby Bowden). Well, at 77, Paterno isn't quite ready for
the retirement home yet. The game's second-winningest coach is sharp, energized and ready to change the recent downturn, which has seen the Nittany
Lions lose in three of the past four seasons. Less than two years ago, Penn State finished 9-3, losing a couple of games by less than a touchdown.
Paterno didn't suddenly become a bad coach now that his team is coming a 3-9 season. Yes, recruiting has slipped. Yes, there has been staff upheaval.
Yes, the program has been less than dominant in the Big Ten. But be careful what you wish for, Penn State Nation. Who is to say Paterno hasn't already
arranged for a smooth transition after this season or next? The bad part is that Paterno has outlasted former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and
offensive coordinator Fran Gantner. Retread Galen Hall takes over the offense, while son Jay Paterno is still in the picture. Is JayPa waiting in the
wings? Privately, Paterno has told friends he is almost "afraid" of retiring because of what happened to Bear Bryant. That's a logical, human emotion,
but some are more concerned an 81-year old might be coaching the team in four years. Deal with it. Paterno still graduates players, does things the
right way and is the ideal for a sometimes-corrupt sport. He deserves to be that icon until he proves he can no longer be a leader of men.