Stories posted on these boards about JoePa ...

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Tom McAndrew

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
May 29, 2001
Collection of Articles about, and video tributes to, JoePa ...

below are links to articles and videos paying tribute to Coach Paterno. While there have been 100s of tributes since his passing, I've tried to include those that I felt were the best in this post. They are posted in random order, so don't read anything into the order.

If you find articles or videos that you feel should be added to this post, please post them on the board, and in the Subject line or the Message, ask me to consider adding them.


Wilkes-Barre Times Leader: Penn State to the End, by Bill O'Boyle

USA Today: Penn State's Joe Paterno belongs to the ages now, by Mike Lopresti

ESPN: Joe Paterno's true legacy, by Rick Reilly

Video tribute created by tbeaver, a member of the BWI Message Board Community

Huffington Post: The Final Judgment of Joe Paterno, by Bob McKinnon

AP: After 61 years, he deserved better, by Jim Litke

Video of Blue Band playing Amazing Grace & PSU Alma Mater at the Candlelight Vigil held at Old Main on Jan. 22

Des Moines Register: Former Lion's (and former member of the board community) Letter to Coach

ESPN: Coach K talks about JoePa

Video tribute created by VuonoNYC, a member of the BWI Message Board Community

Tom Bradley speaks on KDKA about his memories of Coach Paterno

Philadelphia Inquirer: In Joe Paterno's rise were planted the seeds of his fall, by Bill Lyon

Altoona Mirror: Former players have heavy hearts over Paterno death, by Neil Rudel

Washington Post: Thoughts on the passing of Coach Joe Paterno, by LaVar Arrington

Video Tribute: Joe Pa in his own words

Philadelphia Inquirer: Farewell to the King of State College, by Frank Fitzpatrick

Sports Illustrated: Paterno's final days: no bitterness, just marveling at his fortunate life, by Joe Posnanski

ESPN: Joe Paterno's sons recount final days, by Ivan Maisel

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Franco on JoePa

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Former Players to pay respects to Paterno, by Ron Musselman

ESPN: Joe Paterno's football family pays tribute, by Ivan Maisel

Video Tribute

Video Tribute: Remembering Joe Pa the Right Way

Video Tribute: Someone Like You JoePa

Video Tribute: Respect to a Legend, Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno-46 Years THANK YOU

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno's Final Public Address

Video Tribute: Short Tribute to JoePa

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Penn State Tribute

Video Tribute: JoePa Forever

Amusing Video from a Wedding: Don't Stop Believing JoePa

Paterno’s passing ‘marks the end of what we loved’ -- PSU great Mike Reid speaks about JoePa's passing

Video Tribute created by PSU95alum, a member of the BWI Message Board Community

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Memorial Video

Video Tribute: The Legacy of Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: We Are...Grateful

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Tribute - RIP Joe (1926 -2012)

Video: PSU Lettermen Speak about JoePa

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Tribute

Video Tribute: Tribute to Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno A Tribute

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno's Speech Before Penn State Homecoming Day 2008

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno: 1926-2012

Video Tribute" Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Remembered

Video Tribute: Thank You, Joe Paterno, R.I.P.

Video Tribute: Penn State Students Reflect on Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: Coach Tom Bradley speaks about Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: Joe PA Tribute

Video Tribute: Tribute to the best College football coach of all time JOE PATERNO!

Video Tribute: Legends Never Die. RIP JoePa

Video Tribute: Golden Moments with Joseph Vincent Paterno

Video Tribute: Remembering the Legacy of Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Tribute

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Never Forget

Video Tribute: Joseph Vincent Paterno Tribute Video

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno & Poz - 2005 Chuck Bednarik Award (always makes me laugh)

Video Tribute: Minecraft Memorial to Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: We Will Miss You, Joe Pa (great song selection, IMHO)

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Legend. R.I.P.

WTAE Video Tribute: Jack Ham Remembers Joe Paterno

Video: Joe Paterno addresses Paterno Fellow students

Video Tribute: Tribute to Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Tribute The Paterno Class

Walter M. Brasch Blog: Sanctimonious Hypocrites Can’t Diminish the Warmth for Joe Paterno, by Walter Brasch

Video Tribute: Joements

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Tribute R.I.P (2012)

TCFA: An Honest Assessment of an Immeasurable Life (not sure who wrote it)

Video Tribute: Music tribute to Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno: Legends Never Die (Nicely captures Joe with students)

Philadelphia Inquirer: Family values built Penn State and may still heal it, by Bill Lyon

Philadelphia Daily News: Paterno, Bryant will be linked forever, by Bernard Fernandez

Video Tribute: The Legacy of Joe Paterno

Dayton Daily News: St. Henry grad (Jeff Hartings) fights for Paterno’s legacy

Video: Nike Chairman Phil Knight's speech at Joe Paterno Memorial 1-26-2012

Video Tribute: A Tribute to JoePa

Video Tribute: Remembering Joe Paterno

Video: Kenny Jackson Speaks at JoePa's Memorial

Video: Jimmy Cefalo Speaks at JoePa's Memorial

Video: Michael Mauti Speaks at JoePa's Memorial

Video: Michael Robinson Speaks at JoePa's Memorial<

Video: Jay Paterno Speaks at JoePa's Memorial

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno

Video about the sculptors that created the JoePa statue

Bergen Record: Ex-Giant GM Ernie Accorsi mourns loss of his mentor

ESPN: Penn State - Turning out the lights

1st Video Shown at JoePa Memorial

2nd Video Shown at JoePa Memorial

3rd Video Shown at JoePa Memorial

4th Video Shown at JoePa Memorial

Video Tribute: Friends Like Joe

Video Tribute: Remembering Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno - WE ARE PENN STATE!!! (almost 25 minutes long -- skip the 1st 2:30)

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno: My Tribute to a Legend

Video Tribute: Google+ A Tribute To Joe Paterno (this is different, but pretty good)

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Tribute Video

Video Tribute: We Love Joe - Joe Paterno Tribute

Video Tribute: RIP Joe Paterno

Video Tribute: JoePa forever tribute (music is Stairway to Heaven, so you know it will be good)

Video Tribute: Remembering Joe Paterno (another tribute set to Stairway to Heaven)

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno

Daryll Clark: What I would have said at JoePa's Memorial

Video Tribute: Joseph Vincent Paterno Forever

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno Tribute

Video Tribute: Joe Paterno - A Lasting Memory

Video Tribute: If

This post was edited on 2/3 4:27 PM by Tom McAndrew

This post was edited on 1/24 11:49 AM by Tom McAndrew
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Tom McAndrew

Well-Known Member
Gold Member
May 29, 2001
Many members of the BWI community have posted stories about JoePa that are pretty moving. I've tried to collect each of them (probably missed a few), and am posting them here. In addition, I've included a couple of stories from non-PSU fans that were linked on the BWI boards.

I should note that some of these stories were posted in the Lions Den.

If you have additional stories that you'd like to see added to this, post them on the boards, and I'll try to continue collecting them.


Posting from BornALion:
Rolled pants no more,
Sidelines forever empty,
The legend still alive.

Posting from Allthingslion:
To the BOT:
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel.
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar lov'd him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty
heart. . . .

Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 2, 181-186

Story from Mjmirv:
It started when my Dad gave me the middle name Joseph after Joe Paterno. Growing up I was always so proud to tell everyone that little fact about me. In July of 1994, when I was 15 years old, I was in a serious car wreck and broke my neck. Without my knowing, my aunt called Joe’s office and told them about my injury and how much I loved PSU Football. My family was not wealthy, had no connections to the football program, and had no PSU alumni. We were just diehard fans from central PA.

In late August, while in the rehab hospital, I received a box from Joseph Paterno. I was shocked. Inside was a hat, the exact same shirt all the coaches wore on game day, an autographed football from Joe and the players, and a hand written card from Joe. I still get chills remembering the day that box arrived.

I was in the hospital for 5 months. I wore my hat 24/7. That shirt was my lucky Saturday shirt. I kept the football on a stand by my bed for everyone to see. I remember when Illinois got up big on PSU, I was very superstitious so I sat the football on my lap. It worked because we had a great comeback. BTW I still think we won because I kept my hand on the case lol.

This was obviously a very hard time for me, but PSU played a huge part in me getting through this. I had therapy Monday-Saturday. My therapists would let me be the first one to finish on Saturdays so I could get back to my room to watch the games. PSU was the perfect distraction for me. Of course God and my family were the biggest things that helped me get through this, but PSU and the things Joe gave me helped more then you’d ever understand.

As you all know 1994 was an unbelievable year. Joe was flying high with an undefeated team. I can’t imagine the time constraints Joe was under, but in November I received another hand written card from Joe. I still can’t believe he took time out of what was a magical season to write me again. I was shocked he even remembered me with all that was going on with his team.

I love to tell everyone what Joe did for me with zero publicity. He wasn’t trying to make himself look good. He just gave a kid the biggest pick me up you could ever imagine. I’m sure I’m just one of many stories like this that Joe did without any publicity. That was Joe Paterno. He cared about people, not just players or big money donors. He wasn’t looking for any praise. He knew these simple acts would help a kid who was hurting. Thank you so much Joe for giving me a helping hand in my darkest hour.

Until the day I die I’ll proudly tell everyone my name is Michael Joseph after an incredible man named Joseph Vincent Paterno.

Michael Joseph McGarvey, PSU Class of 2002.

Story from SEEKER:
In February of 1989 while working for Cellular One, I had a group of agents that were to meet to hear a motivational speaker, learn about new products, and have a buffet dinner at a hotel in Altoona. As very often happens at that time of the year, a freak snowstorm hit the area around 3:30 in the afternoon. The speaker that I had scheduled was to speak at 6:30 p.m. I kept watching the weather reports and watching the road conditions outside. The snow continued to come down harder and the roads were getting bad. At one point, I was talking with a gentleman in the hall and he said that he had a group there also. Joe Paterno was scheduled as his guest speaker. The gentleman was also concerned that Joe might not be able to make it either because of the storm. Around 5:45 I received a call from my motivational speaker that I had hired for that evening and he informed me that he could not possibly make it. The roads were very hazardous and he was extremely sorry but there was nothing he could do about it.

Of course, I was upset, although I understood the situation. In walking back to the banquet room that I had reserved, I ran into the man who had Joe Paterno scheduled as his speaker. I asked him if he had heard anything from Coach Paterno. He said he had not and assumed that everything was going off as planned. I was trying to come up with something creative to fill that time. At that time, people were starting to arrive. We had all 27 participants registered at 6:15. At approximately 6:30 just as I was telling everyone that the motivational speaker had cancelled, someone knocked on the door. I went out and it was Joe Paterno. Joe said to me, "I understand your speaker did not make it. As I am not scheduled to speak to the other group until 8:00, I would be happy to come in and say a few things to your group if you think that would help." Joe went on to say that he arrived early as he heard the roads were going to get bad. I replied, "We would be delighted to have you speak. Just let me know what your fee is and I will make arrangements for payment." Joe looked at me and said, "There is no fee. I hate to see someone be disappointed when they expected to hear a speech." I took him in the room and the group went crazy. I certainly did not have to spend a lot of time introducing him. JoePa spent about 30 minutes talking to our group. He took time to speak individually with several of them as he was leaving, wished us luck, and went to his next engagement. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a "CLASS ACT".

Story from waltpsuscranton:
About 10/12 years old, my son (then about 8), father-in-law and I went down to PSU on a spring Saturday (think it was a Coaches Clinic day). First need to say that my father-in-law is related to Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli and we usually tried to see the doc in the training room (easy way for my son to get autographs).
Anyway, the day we were there, my son cracks one of his baby teeth. Go to training room and one of the other team doctors wiggles the remaining piece out. Tells us to come back in an hour when Wayne is there. Go back in an hour and while talking to Wayne, in walks Joe. My son is wearing a Capri Italy sweatshirt. Wayne introduces us and Joe starts to talk to my father in law in Italian. Now the coaches clinic is normally closed to the public. Joe invites us to the practice in the indoor practice facility and then to the stadium. Talks to my son extensively about his lost tooth. Most coaches would not let strangers into a closed practice. My son had the time of his life talking to various players.

At the end, we got a picture and an autograph. Took that picture to work yesterday to remind of that day. BTW, son is now a freshman at PSU.

Story from ewb75:
I have cried so much the last few days, that I thought I would share this story, as it always makes me chuckle..... even today when I looked at the ball...

Like many of you, I was born a Nittany Lion. I was born in Clearfield County Hospital and lived in central PA until I was about eight. Then, with the economy being what it was at the time, my parents moved us all south to Alabama. However, I still bleed Blue and White.

After we moved, I told my grandfather that I wanted a football sent to me from Penn State. All of my friends were playing with their Bama footballs or Auburn footballs and I wanted a "real" one. So, my Pap pap, being the kind soul he was, gets on 322 and goes to State College to get me a football from Penn State. Pap pap tells me he was trudging through snow in downtown State College when alas, who did he literally bump into- but JoePa. Pap pap says he begged his pardon, and then had the idea to ask for his autograph to send to his grandson in Alabama. JoePa said certainly, but what did my grandfather want him to sign? Well, Pap pap had not purchased the football yet, and he said he certainly could not ask Joe to wait for him to do so, so he asks Joe if he would mind walking the half block back to his car to get something. Shocking my grandfather, Joe agreed and went back to the car with him.

In the car, the only thing Pap pap could find was an old toy plastic football that the dog had chewed up and put holes through. It was white, with blue stripes though- and it is all he had. Pap pap said he was ashamed to ask JoePa to sign it, but he had no choice. He handed the ball and marker to JoePa and began apologizing about the shape the ball was in from the dog. Pap pap said JoePa started laughing and in his high pitch voice tells him to forget about it. JoePa tells him to tell me that this was the actual ball that the Nittany Lion carried in his mouth as he crossed the goal line against Alabama. And, he tells him to make sure I tell all of my Alabama friends too.

I have many helmets and jerseys and footballs signed by JoePa and a few others. However, that 32 year old worn out dog's toy sits in a very prominent spot in my office. And, even in tears, makes me laugh as I think of JoePa cackling and telling my grandfather to tell me that.

And, just for the record- I am 40 now, and still tell my Alabama friends that Joe said this is the one the Nittany Lion carried across the goal line against the Tide!

God, I miss Pap pap... and I am gonna miss Joe.

Story passed along by PSUMBAGRAD:
My father is a Notre Dame grad as is his friend Joe D, who relates his story below. What an amazing testament to the great Joe Paterno.
By Joe D:
Like everyone in the Penn State family, I am heartbroken to learn of Joe Paterno's death this morning. I first met JoePa in 1966. Since our first meeting, he has been my hero, not because of his many years as a top college football coach, or his national championships, or even the hundreds (thousands?) of players he has helped move on to productive lives. He's been my hero because of the things he did behind the scenes for ordinary guys like me that never made the headlines. Here's my story.

Way back in 1966 I was a young graduate student at Penn State studying for a Ph.D. in Chemistry. During my first year there my wife worked on campus and between her salary and my academic stipend we were just able to make ends meet. However, my wife became pregnant, and as difficult as the decision was to make, we decided that once the baby was born, I would have to drop out of graduate school and "get a real job." My dreams to earn my doctorate in chemistry were about to go up in smoke.

The day after my son was born I went over to the hospital in Bellefonte, PA (the closest maternity hospital to State College at that time), and, while looking through the glass at my newborn son in a roomful of newborn babies in their tiny beds, I noticed a short fellow with thick glasses, whom I didn't recognize at all, standing next to me, also looking at a newborn baby (I'm pretty sure it was one of his newborn sons). We struck up a conversation about babies, parenting, and growing up in Italian-American families. The fellow then said to me "what do you do?" and I responded "well, up until now, I've been a graduate student at Penn State, but this little guy is going to force me to quit school." The fellow asked "what are you studying?" and I said "I was hoping to get my doctorate in chemistry." He then shocked me by saying "come by my office tomorrow, and we'll find a way to help you out."

Not knowing who he was or why he cared about me, I said rather bluntly "who the hell are you?" and he replied "I'm the new football coach around here, and I have a few players who could use some help with their chemistry classes. Are you interested?" I, of course, responded "sure," still not knowing the fellow's name, or if he really was the football coach, or if he was just handing me a lot of BS.

Next day I knocked on his door in the football offices, and within a few minutes "Coach Paterno" arranged for me to tutor his football players in chemistry. I tutored Penn State football players for the next three years (you would recognize many of their names) and earned my doctorate in chemistry at Penn State in 1969.

Nineteen years later I returned to Penn State as an Associate Professor and Associate Dean. One of the first things I did when I arrived on campus was to walk over to the football office and knock on Joe Paterno's door. Joe looked up from his desk and, without batting an eye, he said "say, aren't you the fellow who tutored some of my players a few years ago?" If JoePa wasn't already my hero after all he had done for me years earlier, he certainly was from that moment on.

For the next nine years while I was employed at Penn State, I frequently brought my elderly dad from Philadelphia to visit, and each time I'd walk with dad over to football practice, and JoePa would always nod to the guard at the gate to let us in. Joe would then stop whatever he was doing and walk over to my father and chat for 10 or 15 minutes about anything my enthralled father wanted to talk about. Til the day he died, my dad always referred to JoePa as "my friend the Penn State coach."

A lot of bad things were said about him in the weeks before his death this morning, but what remains untold and unsaid are the hundreds of stories about how Joe Paterno quietly changed ordinary people's lives, not just the lives of his football players. I should know. I'm one of them.
Joe DiGregorio
Santa Rosa, CA

Story from captux1:
It was 1966, Joe's first year as head coach, and four of us were sitting around the fraternity house thinking about the game that week-end playing UCLA in Los Angeles. One of the guys said why don't we go the game? Considering that we were young college kids with not a lot of disposable income we had to first overcome a minor issue. That being money.

It was also the year that Hi Way Pizza opened. Two of the guys worked for Andy Z. To solve our problem we emptyed our checking accounts and borrowed all Andy was willing to lend. (Remember in 1966 there were no credit cards or fast food restaurants)

Off we headed to the Pittsburgh airport for our flight to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. (Couldn't resist the opportunity) Unfortunately we left Las Vegas with very little money.

Arriving in Los Angeles we realized we had no money to buy tickets to the game and eat. One of my friends was friends with Richie Lucas - who was business manager at the time - so we called every hotel in Los Angeles until we found where the team was staying. We got ahold of Richie and he gave us sideline passes to sit on the bench with Joe in his first season as head coach. It was an opportunity and experience I will never forget. Joe treated us like a 5* recruit.

By the way if I remember right we got blasted 49 - 14.

Story from Go Lions:
I've been meaning to write this down for almost 6 years. Yesterday I finally did it.

I grew up in a Penn State Football family. Not players, but fans. As a little girl, I was lucky enough to go to the games. At the time, I was more interested in the band, the cheerleaders and the Nittany Lion than the game itself. My Dad used to yell at me, that if I wasn’t going to watch the game, I couldn’t use the binoculars! My brother and I joke, to this day, that the reason we Love Penn State Football so much is because we weren’t allowed to SPEAK when the game was on, so we didn’t have a choice but to be fans!

As I grew up, Penn State Football became a glue that held my family together. As an adult, I still look forward to Saturdays in the fall, because I know I’ll be spending each and every one of them with my family.

Over the years, I came to realize that Penn State was more than football. And more importantly, Joe Paterno was more than a football coach. I educated myself on the history of the Nittany Lions and Joe Paterno. I became one of those people that bleed Blue and White. Not because of wins and losses, but because of what Penn State stood for. Success with honor. The great experiment. I learned to live my life based on the morals and integrity that Joe Paterno taught us. The glue that gave my family something to believe in. As I got older, I often imagined what it would be like to tell Joe Paterno how much he meant to me and my family…. Then one day, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do just that….

I was attending an event in State College. It was a social event, and to be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about being there. But then Joe Paterno walked into the room. I almost froze into a star-struck statue. I took a deep breath and realized I needed to get it together- this was going to be an opportunity if a lifetime. As Joe worked the room, bourbon in hand, I prepared myself for my turn to shake his hand. Sure enough, he walked up to me and asked what my name was, and where I was from. I told him that I was from a small town about an hour away. He smiled and immediately recognized the area. My little town just happens to be the hometown of a past player (who still holds a number of records). As we were exchanging pleasantries about the town, I let him know that my Aunt coached that former player’s daughter in field hockey and that she was now a part of the US Olympic team, to which he replied, “Yeah- I tried to get her to come to Penn State, but she ended up at Maryland. But she did get to win a National Championship there!” I was absolutely FLOORED that he knew this about my little town.

Amazingly enough, the story doesn’t end there. Joe Paterno then gave me a wink and pulled up his shirt sleeve and pointed at his watch. He said, “ya see this watch? This watch came from your town!” (At the time, I wondered of the bourbon was getting to his head!) He then told me a story that in the late 60’s, he spoke at a banquet at my high school. He said that a few days after the banquet, he received a check in the mail from one of our local companies as compensation for speaking. He said he had to send the check back, as he was not permitted to accept money for those types of engagements. He told me that they sent the check again, and he again sent it back. He said the third time they sent him something, it was THAT watch. Said it was the best watch he ever owned. I knew then and there that this was my moment to speak to him from the heart. I thanked him for sharing that story with me and then I told him how much he meant to me. I thanked him for being the man that he was and I explained how Penn State Football was something that gave my family glue. I thanked him for giving us Saturdays in the fall. He then took my hand in both of his, and with tears in his eyes, he said, “Thank you for sharing that with me. That is the best compliment I could ever get.” I knew then that I had met my obligation to myself and my family. I had done the right thing and hadn’t wimped out for fear of embarrassment. It was absolutely an amazing experience. But my moments with Joe Paterno didn’t end there.

It just so happens that my career would cause me to cross paths with this great man again. About six months after my amazing experience with him at the social event, I received a phone call that would throw me for a loop.

When Joe Paterno broke his leg at Wisconsin, it was my company who got the call to make sure that he could be mobile within in home as well as Beaver Stadium and the Lasch building. When I answered the phone that day, I thought I would fall off of my chair. I let everyone involved know that I could handle it and I conducted myself with as much professionalism as I could muster. While I feel it necessary to keep some of the details private, I will share the most touching parts of the experience.
I was in and out of the Lasch Building as well as the Beaver Stadium press-box (which, at the time, was not even CLOSE to being ADA accessible!). It was the first time that I was inside of these places for something other than an “event.” I was amazed at how down to Earth it felt. I was amazed at the Family atmosphere that permeated through these buildings. And I was amazed that it was little ole me, a typical Central PA girl, who was called upon to “help” what I always viewed as a Giant, Corporate Empire. I just assumed that they had “people” who would take care of this stuff. But they didn’t. And they needed me. It was a normal community that needed a neighbor’s help.

I also was in and out of Joe and Sue’s home. Even though I was caring for a true legend, I was given a glimpse of what I can only describe as again, Family.

I was incredibly touched by Mrs. Sue Paterno. I was there before Joe was released from the hospital to set some things up, and just being able to talk to her, woman to woman, was amazing. She was a wife who was truly worried about her husband. I remember her joking that from then on, she was going to make Joe wear a Flak Jacket on the sidelines! I remember the doorbell rang, and she looked at me and said, “Do you mind grabbing that?” So, I opened the door and signed for a “Get Well Soon” basket. Her request was just so sincere that I didn’t think it odd that I just signed for flowers for Joe Paterno! (I admit that after the fact, I was thinking- Holy Crap! I just signed for flowers for Joe Paterno!!)

When they were in the house together, the feeling was one of love- many years of marriage, friendship- Best Friends. I experienced jovial bickering, laughter and SuePa keeping Joe on the straight and narrow.

I happened to be at the Paterno Residence the morning of the only game that Joe ever missed in Beaver Stadium. Just as my family was pulling into the stadium traffic, my phone rang. When I looked at the number, I almost passed out. When I answered, it was Sue and she asked if I could stop by quickly to help them out with some of the medical equipment so that Joe could watch the game comfortably. I assured her that I would be there momentarily. Imagine me telling the traffic cops that they needed to let me through on Park Avenue because I needed to go to Joe Paterno’s house! Luckily I had a credential ID and after a few strange looks, they let me through.

Then came some of the moments that will live with me forever. Keep in mind that I was on my way to the game, so I was dressed in FULL Penn State Garb. #31 jersey, ribbon in my hair, paw print on my cheek. Up to this point in this entire experience, I had been able to remain strictly professional, but I was worried that my “get up” would blow my cover! As Sue opened the door to let me in, she gave me a hug and thanked me for coming and fighting the traffic. When I walked into the family room, where Joe was going to watch the game, I was taken aback by the amazing sight. The man had just had major surgery on his leg, but there he was- bad leg propped up, but on his good foot, was his Black Nike Cleat, with the other on the floor next to him. He looked up at me and said, with a sarcastic chuckle due to my outfit, “Hi Lindsay! Ya going to the game?” I just laughed and said “Nah- this is my regular business attire!” Joe gave me smile and said “110,000 people come to see us play Temple in the rain. Who does that??!!”

While I was doing the work that I was there to do, we had friendly conversation about hospitals and doctors and “all that rigmarole!” Sue and I had a chuckle when Joe complained that she could go to church in the morning, but he couldn’t. Sue was worried that I wouldn’t be warm enough since it was so damp and chilly on that November Saturday, and she offered me a coat. I declined, mostly because I knew that form then on, my heart was so warmed by them, that not even the coldest wind could chill my bones. There I was, in the presence of greatness, and it felt like I was simply a neighbor helping a neighbor. There are not words to express the kindness that they had in their hearts. I was doing my job, and they appreciated my professionalism.

As I finished up, we said our goodbyes; I wished Joe luck in the game and let them know to call if they needed anything else. Sue gave me a hug and again thanked me for coming so quickly.

And as I reached out to shake Joe’s hand, he once again, took my hand in both of his. He thanked me and just as I was about to let go, he held my hand just a little tighter, gave me a wink, and said, “What time is it?” And he raised his wrist up to me and stuck his watch in my face. I said “You remember!” And he again gave me a wink and a smile and told me to have fun at the game.

As I walked from McKee Street to my family’s tailgate, it dawned on me that I had fulfilled my dream of letting Mr. and Mrs. Paterno how much they meant to me and my family. I once fulfilled it through words; I then fulfilled it through actions. And I am truly thankful for my brief interactions with them. They are people who can change your life with a smile.

Story from a Georgia fan (don’t have his handle):
I saw my first college football game on TV when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I can still remember bits and pieces of that game. It was Oklahoma vs. Nebraska. Were talking back in probably 1971. I've been hooked ever since. I remember looking at my mom and asking if Georgia had a football team like the ones I had watched on TV that afternoon. Of course, the rest is history. I've never been a fan of ANY team other than Georgia since. At the age of 15 or 16 my father gave me the ultimate trip we all strive for. A trip to a bowl game and that year it happened to be the 1983 Sugar Bowl which pitted #1 UGA against #2 Penn State for the NC. We drove to New Orleans the night before the game, stayed in a run down motel on the outside of the city. We went to the Super Dome for the game quite a few hours early. I remember my father saying that we needed to get there early to beat the crowds. Well, we did. We were probably in the first 200 people there, other than the tailgaiters. We stood near a tunnel entrance to the dome and I got to see my beloved Dawgs team bus enter and I also got to see all my heroes disembark from the bus not more than 40 feet away from where I was standing. I remember yelling for Herschel Walker, and I actually got an autograph from the Georgia QB Lastinger. In my excitement of seeing my heroes I asked my father if we could go on in and get our seats. We went to enter the dome and to mine and my fathers horror, we realized that my fathers wallet had been stolen by a thief. His back pocket had been cut with a knife or razor and his wallet was gone as were the tickets that were inside of it. I was devastated and just crying uncontrollably. My father tried explaining to every security guard and manager that he could talk to. As we made our way back to our vehicle. I noticed another bus rolling toward the tunnel so we ran to the tunnel entrance in hopes that I got to get another DAWGS autograph. Standing there I just couldn't help but start crying again about not being able to go to the game. My father was trying to comfort me to no avail. The bus doors opened and the first man off the bus was none other than Joe Paterno, head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions. He shook hands with a few security people and then turned and looked right at my father and I. Imagine my surprise when he walked toward us. Here I was all decked out in my DAWG colors and had my UGA flag in hand. He bent down in front of me and asked if I wanted an autograph and of course, being 15 or so, I absolutely did. I guess this man Joe noticed how upset I was and he asked my father what was going on. My dad told him what had happened and coach Paterno told us to stay right there. He walked off and within 30 minutes A guy in a suit with a Penn State pin attached to his jacket came up to me and my father and walked us right into the Dome and right up to a suite on the 40 yard line of the dome. It was the best seats I have ever had for a game. My father couldn't thank everyone enough. Penn State won that game but it was, at the time, the best Sugar Bowl ever played. I never got to thank coach Paterno for what he had done that day and to this day, that one moment and act of kindness has made me a big part of the 46 year old man I am now. So, Coach Paterno a good man? One of the best I ever met. RIP Coach.

Story from Fgkick69:
I attended Penn State from 1967-1971, which included the 30 game unbeaten streak. Although I did not play football in high school, I could always kick decently-or so I thought. Our 1968 team went 11-0, beating Kansas in the Orange Bowl. Our defense was incredible and so was our running attack, with Charlie Pittman, Bobby Campbell, Don Abbey. Lydell and Franco were both freshman and could not play in 1968. Our one glaring weakness was in the kicking department. In those days, believe it or not, kickers were not specialists--usually a fullback (Abbey), quarterback (Tom Sherman)or some other player, handled the kicking. Very few sidewinders then (that's what we called soccer style kickers)and I only recall the Gogolacks (from Cornell and Princeton)as standout soccer syle kickers. Many pro teams still used postion players to kick as well (QB Georg Blanda, End Bobby Walston, Tackle, Lou Groza, etc.) Anyway, our kicker in 1968 was a non-scholarship specialist by the name of Rusty Garthwaite. Really nice kid but he missed several (maybe even 10) extra points that year and his field goal % was about 30%. Sooooo, I got Bob Phillips, the kicking coach, to give me a pair or square toed shoes, a ball and a tee and I spent the winter practicing. In the spring, I went out for the team. It was obvious from the beginning that Garthwaite could kick much further than I and I think he thought I was there for a lark. However, the coaches never cut me and I would spend each day at practice kicking to Garthwaite, who would kick back to me (He would come in about 10 yards when I would kick). At the end of the practice, Joe would yell out that we were "going live" with kicking and Garthwaite would trot on to try about 5-10 field goals with the team lined up and the defense actually trying to rush or block his kicks. I never did get to "go live" but one day at practice, I must have been facing the other way on the sideline and Joe, who had only been head coach for 3 years, ran over to me and started screaming at me with this high-pitched voice. Honestly, I have no idea what I did wrong (probably just facing away) nor could I understand what he was yelling, but I never forgot. Toward the end of spring practice, we had Photo day and this old dude from "Laughead Photographers", the guy who used to take photos for the NFL and football cards, showed up and we would all stage a "run" or a "throw" or, in my case, "a kick". I would take my steps to this X and kick (no ball and no helment). I never went out for the team the following year, when Linebacker Mike Reitz beat out Garthwaite but I kept a couple of those photos, put them in a little frame. Interestingly, the year after Reitz kicked (1970-when we beat Missouri in the Orange Bowl and again, with an assist from Richard Nixon, finished 2nd in the country at 11-0), Joe gave his first football scholarship to an actual kicker--Alberto Vitiello, a left footed soccer style kid from Italy, via Long Island.
Flash forward 42 years. I'm an attorney now and I sometimes am invited to Happy Valley to speak to students interested in a career in law, usually during career week. I was asked to speak this year and the woman who invited me, a Penn State Alumni Fund raiser (Hi Carol, if you are reading this), asked me if I would like to have Joe sign my photo, as one of her friends was Joe's daughter. Of course, I said yes and she thought that I would have to wait until the end of the season, but she took the photo with her. I was due to arrive in State College on Thursday evening, November 3 to speak with a panel and then to meet with students on that Friday before returning to Philadelphia. When I got to my room at the Nittany Lion Inn at about 5pm on that Thursday, there it was, propped up in my room and waiting for me--42 years later. My kicking photo, in a nice, new frame, signed in blue flair, To Chuck, Joe Paterno. Carol said that he even remembered that time, when Garthwaite struggled and was replaced by Reitz. So, 42 years after the photo was taken, Joe signed it and personalized it. He signed it on that Wednesday. I spoke Thursday and Friday and the next day, Saturday, November 5, is when the story broke about Sandusky. I didn't even have time to put it on my wall in my office. I sometimes wonder if that may have been the last autograph he ever gave as coach or, possibly, the last autograph, period. All I know is, It proudly hangs in my office now and will stay there as long as I am there. Hope you enjoyed my sharing.

Story from cjamesd:
I had one about a month ago, before Christmas. My family and I went to PSU for the NCAA volleyball game and stayed over in State College. The next day we walked around town, school, & football field. It was nice because there weren't 200,000 people around, just me and my "girls" (I have a 4 & 7 yr old). They finally got to see more of PSU and why it's not just about football (although they know I love the football as much as everyone else).

What sticks out is the statue and what it means to everyone that it's there. When we went, we took pictures of everyone around it and hugging it. My youngest asked me why I was crying and I said, "because this is a statue of the greatest man at the greatest school in the world." My wife wouldn't let me talk to the lone TV crew that was there.

Then yesterday, when ESPN showed the statue and everything going on, they both were excited to see it on tv and a pic on our wall with everyone by it. My daugther asked me again why I was crying and I said, "because PSU just lost their heart and soul." She then told me it would be okay and that I we could go and see it again next year. I know we will go back, but it won't be the same without him.

Here's to JoePa and the thousands of souls he's touched in his life...


Story from flyrz6:
I grew up a Penn State fan thanks to my Dad. One of the many great memories I have is all the games we wnent to together including many bus trips to away games. As I grew older and passed our family tradition to my sons we would call each other after every PSU touchdown. His one request was when he dies I spread his ashes in the end zone at Beaver Stadium. After he passed I kept my promise and during the Blue White game my two sons ( ages 6-8 at the time) spread a little of his ashes in the end zone. My Dad and Joe both died on January 22.

Story from 85Cock05 (South Carolina fan):
I have always hesitated telling this story, because, incredible as it seems, my life is based on a true story ... but it has more to do with my family, my father and his father, than my own life. But since I am his son and grandson, I've been fortunate enough to meet some famous people in my short lifetime. Joe Paterno was one of them.

In 1958 my grandfather was one of the highest recruited QBs in the country, as things went back then. He was a rare passing QB who, for decades, held a lot of HS passing records in the state of Tennessee. Memphis, Treadwell HS. He was offered by the likes of Bear Bryant at Alabama. Still, to this day, my Grandfather has a framed copy of the Memphis Commercial Appeal in his office where The Bear is on the front page sitting behind his desk, his elbow on the desk, with a puff cloud over his head and a picture of my grandfather contained within that cloud throwing a football. The headline read, "Will Bryant Get His Wish And Sign (insert my Grandfather's name). I have the same picture here in my house ... I'll try to scan it and include it in this post if possible.

Pa Pa was also recruited by Frank Broyles at Arkansas (via Barry Switzer), by Wally Butts at Georgia, by Bowden Wyatt at Tennessee, by the guy at Tulane who's name escapes me at the moment, Piney something maybe (?), Paul Dietzel at LSU and many other schools including So Cal, Clemson, Johnny Vaught at Ole Miss, et al. But you get the idea. His best friend was a Tight End named Claude Pearson who signed with and played for Baylor. He had over 1,000 yds receiving as a TE in HS, which was huge in those days.

Anyways, so Pa Pa was selected for a number of All-Star games. He played in the East-West All Star game and The Hershey Bowl in Hershey Pennsylvania. One of those bowls, I cannot remember which, he had a wide receiver by the name of Jerry Stovall. Stovall was being recruited by LSU at the time and Pa Pa connected with Stovall and another guy for over 300 yds passing in the game - which made him a national name at the time. Stovall was the MVP for having over 200 of those yds in the All-Star game.

(Side(lines) Note) - Pa Pa was invited to attend the Sugar Bowl that year and was on the sidelines with Stovall, who was trying to get him to sign with LSU.

Anyways, so at the Hershey Bowl, Pa Pa had a big game. In attendance was an asssistant coach at PSU at the time named Joe Paterno. He went into full bore recruiting mode trying to sign Pa Pa. Ended-up sending him a bunch of personal letters. Very cool letters that he still has. And while Pa Pa never considered going north, he always said the most impressive guy that recruited him was Joe Paterno. He kept all the letters and has always spoken highly of him every since.

Pa Pa ended-up signing with several schools, because in those days you signed Grant in Aids with one school from each conference if you were highly recruited, that's how you narrowed down your list. Then on deadline day, you enrolled at the school of your choice. He signed with Tulane (because he wanted to be an Architect), and Arkansas (because they were good to married players with children and my Grandmother was pregnant with my Dad at the time), and Clemson, (because my Grandmother's family are all Clemson people), and he signed a letter with Penn State because he liked Joe Pa and the campus up there ... but he readily admits he never intended to go there, it was just too far from home. In the end he enrolled at Arkansas with Frank Broyles.

Well, we traveled a lot when I was a kid. Lived overseas because my Dad was in Foreign Service. But we came home as often as possible, and because my Dad played ball for South Carolina, he was active in with the football stuff when we were home in Charleston, and he was a member of the Touchdown Club there. He wanted me around football from the day I was born and we spent a lot of time doing football things when I was a kid, when we were stateside.

While we were home in Jan/Feb of '96, I was just a kid, but we attended the Charleston TD Club annual meeting. Joe Pa was the guest speaker. He was recruiting a defensive end at the time, out of Macedonia HS named Courtney Brown who had narrowed his choices down to Penn State and South Carolina. He ended-up signing with Penn State but that is neither here nor there for this story. Because after Joe Pa gave his speech, we got in line to meet him and shake his hand.

See, my Dad had told my Grandfather that we were going to see Joe Pa speak that night and my Grandfather had said, "he will not remember me but if you can, get a signed hat from him for my collection."

So anyways, we finally make our way to Joe Pa, and my Dad says, and I'll never forget this, he says, "you recruited my father in 1958 ..." and before Dad could go any further Joe Pa asks, "who is your father?" So my Dad answers him with just my Grandfather's name, and Joe Pa immediately starts shaking his head in the affirmative and starts giving my Dad all this info he remembered about my Dad's forward passing prowess and what a great player he was and what an incredible arm he had and how accurate he was and how, to that day, he thinks maybe my Grandfather threw the most perfect spiral passes he had ever seen, "ole bullets). (I met Paul Dietzel when I was in college with my Dad when Dietzel came back to SC for a ceremony and he too told some good stories about my Grandfather's ability to throw the forward pass in those days and what a gun he had, which he can still throw today in his seventies - it's amazing.) But Joe Pa remembered everything about him - I mean right down to saying that he remembered my Grandmother was pregnant at the time with my Dad ... made a comment about how time flies and how he was honored to be meeting the baby that was now a grown man in my Dad. Was unbelievably personal and friendly and genuine. Asked my Dad about his playing days, made a comment about good genes, etc. But when it got around to finding a PSU hat for him to sign it was a no go ... Joe Pa's handlers had not brought anything like that for fear of a recruiting violation where Courtney Brown was concerned ... the only thing Joe Pa was allowed to do was shake Brown's hand when handing him the Player of the Year award. Couldn't even talk to Brown, he just shook his head like "yes, yes" as if confirming he was going to commit and sign with PSU.

Now, fast forward to later in the year, 1996, and my Uncle invites my Dad and me up to Michigan for the Penn State game. We stayed at this hotel in Ypsilanti where they had a golf course named The Eagle's Nest, but I cannot remember the name of the hotel. My Dad and Uncle were playing golf, I was caddying for my Dad, and we had just finished a round of 18 and were coming off the 18th green on top of this hill behind the hotel, when up drives all these Penn State buses. So we jump in the golf cart and drive around to the front of the hotel and lo and behold but who is the first one off in the first bus but Joe Pa. So we drive up to him to say hi ... and Joe Pa says, "you look familiar." So my Dad quickly reminds him about meeting him in Charleston and tells him we are staying there for the ballgame in Ann Arbor the next day between Michigan and PSU. And then, and I'll never forget this, Joe Pa says, I owe you a signed hat for (and he names my Grandfather by his first name, which to this day I still find incredible.) So he looks around, and Courtney Brown is getting off the bus with a PSU hat on his head and he says, "Courtney, come here, give me your hat." So Courtney, who was very soft spoken says yessir and hands Joe Pa the hat. Joe Pa asked this other guy standing beside him for a pen, and the guy hands him a black el marko and Joe Pa signs the hat and hands it to me and says, "give this to your Grandfather and tell him I said hello young man."

That's a true story.

I just hung up the phone with Pa Pa a little while ago. He is very sad tonight, I could tell. He said, "there are not many great ones left out there ... we just lost one of the last great ones. I hope he is remembered for the man he was his whole life, rather than for the things that transpired in the final months of his life. He deserves a better legacy than that and there are always two sides to every story."

Anyways, God Bless Joe Pa and may he rest in peace. He deserves some peace now.

Story from ApexLion
In the summer of 1994, my best friend was ill, very ill. We weren't sure what was going on but we suspected something grave due to the unusual symptoms. He went thru various tests and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. His father and mother had passed in '93. I had left my job in the PA State Senate and began working with him every day for 12-16 hours at his father's business. We are more brothers than friends imho.
All summer, we had talked about our trip to the Big House to see Kijana, Collins, Engram etc. My father's cousin was the President of the Victors Club so we had planned a big weekend of tailgating, attending bball Midnight Madness after the game, seeing the ESPN set and basically rooting on the Lions to victory during our big road trip. When my friend got sick, I told him that we are not going. He said, no, we are going no matter what. At that time, I remember thinking who could I tell, what I could do to make things beter? So being the rabid PSUer I am, I wrote Joe Paterno a letter. Seems silly doesn't it? I explained that my best friend had cancer and would be starting treatment soon at Johns Hopkins. I mentioned that his illness wasn't going to stop us from going to Michigan to cheer on the team.I dropped it in the mail. I'm not sure what I expected and frankly I forgot sending it not long after doing so.
A few weeks go by and we drive to Michigan from PA. My friend's health was not good. I remember thinking near Toledo that we should turn around -- no visible signs of sickness but I could tell he felt bad. However, we pressed on and enjoyed a late dinner with my father's relatives in their Michigan room (a veritable shrine to Bo, not big Moeller fans).
I guess the excitement made things go more smoothly then expected for my friend. We had a great weekend. We tailgated, met alot of people, hung out with Steve Fischer (bball coach at the time) who invited us to sit behind the bench and go on the court after Midnight Madness. Of course, Fischer ribbed me about my PSU stuff but was very kind to us. We had the trip of a lifetime that we will never forget.
When we returned to PA from our trip late Sunday night, exhausted and elated from the victory, it dawned on me that hey my best friend could die. I remember thinking you have to savor every moment of life. A few days went by and I received a package from State College. The package contained a photo of Joe Paterno and a handwritten note. On the note (paraphrased), it said "xxxx has someone in his life who is loyal and committed as a friend. This is what matters in life and sustains all of us in good and bad times. Thank you for supporting us when we traveled to Michigan. Your support helped us. I hope my note and prayers help xxxxx." Sincerely, Joe Paterno.
Needless to say, I was stunned. I kept the note and gave the authographed photo to my friend.
Now, here's the thing that is a bit unusual and I'm not sure what it means other than coincidence or a quirk or whatever. My friend had a bone marrow transplant in early '95 and lived cancer-free for 17-plus years. In 2008, he moved to State College. He now lives one mile from the stadium -- his wife is in a grad program and he loves State College. This past Thursday, he was admitted to Mount Nittany for a recurrence of cancer on his thyroid. On Saturday morning, they excised the cancer cells and said they think he will be okay. He was released at roughly the same time as when news of Joe being on his deathbed emerged. I know, its coincidental and I'm not a guy into mystical things etc., but the circumstances of it just made me think and wonder about some things. I thought about my friend, Joe's impact on my life and how to handle the ups and downs in my own life going forward.

Story from Heek
I have been a subscriber to Blue White Illustrated since its inception and to Catch Lions Fever before that. I am not a PSU graduate. Our family has had season tickets for forty plus years and currently have eight of them.

I have special memories of Joe Paterno. I was Chairman of a Testimonial Dinner for Joe when he turned down Billy Sullivan's offer to become the Patriots coach in 1973. I was privileged to work with Jim Tarman, Fran Fisher and others on the planning committee. Besides the state dignitaries and former players the evening was highlighted by a large contingent of Joe's classmates from Brown University. We gifted Joe and Sue with their first trip to Italy where they had an audience with the Pope. I am a Lutheran pastor so we often joked about this strange experience in ecumenism. Joe also received a blue and white car and it was a great night of fitting tribute.

The next fall after watching John Cappiletti score four touchdowns against West Virginia my wife and I had dinner at the Paternos. Joe was in rare form tending bar and Sue made delicious braccola.Nick Crane and other Orange Bowl scouts were there in their bright orange blazers. The door bell rang and in walked Cappy's parents with a young boy. At that time I did not know Joey's story, but I noticed he was pale with none of the robust features of his brother John. My wife sat next to Joey during dinner. After dessert Joe made a presentation to Joey. That moment was reprised in the television movie "Something for Joey" which I have watched many times.

I loved Joe Paterno. I have never presumed on my relationship with the family even when we spent some of our retirement years in Happy Valley. Joe inspired and drove a univeristy to be number one on the field and in its wider mission. I wish I did not have so much anger in my grief. I admit I used to spend too much time on other team message boards or listening to talk shows primarily on ESPN. I do little of that these days. I will spend my time and resources supporting Coach O'Brien and his staff as they extend the legacy of the one and only Joe Paterno. Thanks to Phil and his staff for all that you do!

Story from locopsu
I was born in Philly, my mom was from Pittsburg, I grew up a Pitt fan, but never followed college football too much. After a couple semesters at Drexel, a year + at community college I followed my dream of becoming an engineer to Penn State Erie. Planned to transfer to State College after a year or two. I never did. I became a Resident Assistant 1987, 1986 I watched a few games with my classmates and watched the Fiesta Bowl with my family, my older brother still to this day talks about the lamp I broke when Pete G intercepted the ball. He still watches the odd game with me when we are in town together. My dad became a big fan at this time. We followed the recruitment of Dan Connor, who played with our family friend Richard Hall at Strath Haven. Dad was sick that fall with heart trouble and could not goto the two games I was able to attend at SH with mom and my sons. Dad got better and we went to the Wisconsin game before Thanksgiving 2004. We went with my two older sons, had a hotel room for the night, got to the game early and partied with Apex Lion and some alumns before the game. We were a little late to see them come off the blue bus, but got to meet Galen after the game. We walked around the stadium and got our picture taken with the JoePa Statue, the Lion, had stickies, ice cream (peachy Paterno of course). The next saturday we watched the state semifinal game, it was so friggin cold, thank god there were so many fans there providing wind blocks and warmth. When we got home I got the fotos developed and sent them to Joe for a signature, I had heard he was not signing much at this point, but I included a note about my story. He signed both pictures and sent them back. I framed it and it hangs on the wall in my parents home. My got lost somewhere in our many moves, but I got dibs on the one at my parents. The foto is a reminder of our special weekend together, Dad and I would go onto more weekends at Penn State, including Connors first game the next year. My kids still talk about going back to see another game, living overseas these past 4 years has made it hard. The Wisconsin game was Mills last game as a Lion, he won. This story is nothing as personal as many others, but it means as much to me as the personal encounters of others. Galen was very kind, but we did nto talk much as he was chattin up his college room mate, at whose tailgate we were attending.

Story from courtneybrownsjockstrap
My father was a professor at Penn State New Kensington and he had a meeting to attend in State College. I was about 9 or 10 and he decided to take me along and it was my first trip to Penn State. While we were there, he bought me a football that had white leather on two sides at the student book store. After his meeting he took me to the old football museum. We went to the car in the parking lot and my dad said, "there's Joe right there". We drove over and he signed my football for me and I remember he said he had been to the town where I'm from (Springdale PA), which surprised me because it's a very small place.

So on my first trip to Penn State I met Joe Paterno and got his autograph! Obviously it's something I will never forget.

Thank you for all the great things you have done and thank you for the memories. RIP Coach Paterno

Story from walleye38
My recollections of JoPa
I met Joe at the Pittsburgh Airport many years ago. He was coming back from a recuriting trip to Ohio. I was Athletic Director at a small High School on the border of West Virgina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. We started talking and he told me he was interested in Jeff Wolfter from Oak Glen High School in WV. and Tim Spencer from St. Clairsville(who went to Ohio State). I told him I was familiar with both players, since we played both teams. I sent Joe some information about a couple of other players in the area, and received a wonderful thank you , personally hand written by Joe. Two years later my Wife and I were in the parking lot right across from the Creamery when Joe happened to walk by, I said hello, and believe it or not, he called me by name and said hello. Also took time to have his picture taken with us. I had the opportunity to talk to him at the Dapper Dan in Pittsburgh, and at a banquet in Youngstown, Ohio. He will be missed. Nothing can take away what he did for Penn State, and when all is said and done Joe will be vidicated. Thank you Joe. You stood for all that is right in College Athletics. I and My family will always love you.

Story from therod
The year was 1974 and I just left rec. hall after running at the indoor track. I just passed the Nittany Lion fixture and was walking east. I looked up and spotted Coach Paterno walking east across the street and about five yards ahead of me. I don’t know why I did it but I hollered “Hey Coach” half expecting him not to have heard me. He stopped in his tracks and turned around and since I was the only person around, he looked right at me I guess trying to figure out if he knew me. I told him I just wanted to say hi. I felt like a complete jerk and to my amazement he hollered back thanks, and asked me how I was doing and where I was heading. I told him I had a class in about fifteen minutes and that is where I was heading. He said good luck and to study hard. He turned and continued on his way. I can remember that 35 seconds like it was yesterday. I’ll soon be 61.

Story from psuro
I met him just at the end of Fall Semester in 1986. Was walking across campus, and just sort of saw him there - it was about two weeks before the team left for the 1987 Fiesta Bowl.

I said, "hi", and wished him good luck against the Hurricanes. He stopped and asked me how my semester went, and how things were going for me. We spoke for a couple of minutes, and then he had to go. I extended my hand and said "Good luck versus Miami, Coach Paterno". He shook my hand, and looked me in the eye and said "Thanks. And call me Joe."

Story from OhioLion
Football coaches' clinic 2008 and my son - 8 at the time - and I had just spoken with Sean Lee (it was the day after he tore his ACL). We are walking out of the stadium and see Joe signing autographs. While Joe is signing he says "last one, I need to get going." I had my son position himself close to Joe and told him when coach leans up from signing, I will click the picture. Not a pose by Joe, but didn't want to bother him for a posed shot with my son.

Joe grabs my son around the head, gives him a "dutch rub" on the head, and says "who's this knucklehead?"
With that, Joe looks at me and says "take the picture dad". You see the picture here. (The picture was in OhioLion's post, but I didn't copy it for this complilation)
My son has a couple hanging in his room. Last night when we originally heard the incorrect information of Joe's passing, my son said "who's this knucklehead?"

Story from phillybilly
It was June 13, 1969. Graduation was the next day. I was walking with a coed who lived in the apartment below us. [That was so long ago, that back then, coeds were only allowed to live off campus if they had permision.] We were taking books back to Patee as final were over. Joe was walking by himself from Rec Hall. I said something like "Hello Coach, great season!" He thanked me and asked why were still on campus. We said we were graduating the next day. From there on the discusssion was about us, our majors, did we have jobs and finally he wished us the best in our futures. We parted ways in front of Patee and I felt like I could go out and tke on the world. Joe Pa had wished me luck!

Story from NelsonMunce
ay of the last days of finals week......
many in my dorm had already gone home. As I was picking up a buddy at Snyder Hall, with a friend and a packed cooler in the car to go out to a cool spot near Fisherman's Paradise to hang out, I look in the rearview mirror, and see Joe walking in our direction. I say to my buddy, Holy Sh#t , here comes Joe! As he starts to walk by us, we yell out of the car, hey coach, coach!! He walks over to our car, puts his hands in the driver's side door, peers in the car, sees the cooler, and says , "yeah, you guys look like you're getting ready for a safe!" We all cracked up and started cheering!

Story from delcoLion
It's 1973 and it's November on a Sunday night. I used to work in the dining hall and I was an IM official. On this Sunday night, the IM department was having it's orientation meeting for the IM basketball refs in Rec Hall, and both Dutch Sykes and Bill Swan were present and running the meeting.

Now, I guess that you old-timers like me know that Rec Hall had some huge classrooms and meeting rooms and that's where the football offices were before the move out to the east side. Rec Hall is where they did their film sessions and all that.

So, our meeting is ongoing and unbeknown to us, the football team was meeting in the room next door. Bill Swan tells us all to quiet down and listen and it was Joe just ripping into the squad. I think it was the day after the game vs North Carolina State, which went down to the wire, if you remember. Joe could really yell at those guys. Dutch and Bill were laughing like all get out listening to Joe.

One of the things that you should never forget is that Joe was tough, tough as nails. You don't build something like he did without that.

Several weeks later a couple of us IM refs ran into Joe over in Rec Hall and he complimented us on our referee "uniform" - which I still have : - ) - and spoke to us for a minute. Darn, I'm getting too old to remember what he said, but I remember the night.

What a ride. It was a privilege coming up thru the golden era. You young guys will never know. But PSU will rise again, better in many ways we hope.

Story from mickyfun
Back in 1981 our schedules meshed such that Joe and I used to pass one another regularly as I was walking to class. I always waved and said “Hi Coach” but that as about it. One day he said how’s it going and I answered big test today and off we went. Saw him two days later and he reached out and grabbed my arm to stop me and said so how’d you do on that test? Felt like I was walking on air the rest of the way to class!

Story from Putsched Out
I remember when he brought his kids over to North Halls to watch a tug-o-war in one of the quads. It was around the same time period...74-75 school year. Lots of football players on the two teams facing off in the tug. We felt we had a celebrity in our midst,even then.
Around the same time he gave a talk to a packed room at the WUB. Answered questions and told us to work hard. (Probably got no fee for that. LOL.)
Good memories.

Story from Fayette_LION
I was invited to a dinner presentation where JoePa was the guest speaker. It was held at the IUP library and was to support the Library. I was the only guy at my table and my wife and I were the youngest two at the table(mid 50's at that time). After dinner and Joe's talk, he came to every table and spent time with each group. He got to our table and the oldest lady was in a wheel chair. Joe came over and immediately went to her and got on one knee and gently held her hand and talked only with her. He was an absolute charismatic individual and he gave her undivided attention. He finished by standing and hugging her and continued around the table with each person. When he talked to you, you felt like you were the only person in the world near him. He was dynamic in his communication with each person. I have my photo with him displayed in our house and always will. I told my wife that he was an absolute expert in communicating with individuals, especially the ladies. RIP JoePa, there will never be another as great as you towards any university. Thank you for your generosity, character and integrity.

Story from ericstratton-rushchairman
In 1986 I was blessed to have dinner with Joe and Sue...
In the fall on 1986 there was a big ticket “Campaign for Penn State” dinner in Rec Hall. Reagan Chief-of-Staff Don Regan was the guest speaker. I was invited to attend as a member of University Student Executive Council (USEC)… at the time I actually sat as a non-voting student rep on the PSU BOT. I escorted the president of the Sorority Pan-Hellenic Council (giggidy) and sat at a table with Joe and Sue Paterno. In fact I sat next to Sue. It was an extraordinary event with a live 10 minute message from President Reagan broadcasted from the Oval Office. I was working my way through the Army ROTC program and his address brought tears to my eyes. What I remember most is that Joe and I had a long conversation about the benefits of a classical education (I attended a Jesuit prep school) and our mutual appreciation of Latin. I also remember Sue was an incredibly lively woman and appreciated the wine that was being liberally served. If you never knew who they were you would think he was a humble professor who happily deferred to his bubbly wife.

Story from 9fold
Remembering JoePa at the 1989 Holiday Bowl
I was a sophomore in the fall of 1989. I was also in the Blue Band. If you remember the 1988 season, then you know that the 1989 Holiday Bowl was my first bowl game at Penn State. Of course, that was a memorable game. Penn State versus Brigham Young. Ty Detmer. 50-39, Penn State. While I remember many plays from that game, my most vivid memory from that trip was attending a pep rally as a member of the Blue Band at the team's hotel the day before the game.

This was San Diego, so of course the weather was perfect. The pep rally was held in a grass courtyard at the hotel. There were the usual pep rally festivities -- the cheerleaders led cheers, the Blue Band played fight songs, Joe spoke to us. The best part, however, was what occurred moments after the pep rally ended.

Everyone in the Blue Band received generic "Holiday Bowl BAND" ballcaps before the pep rally. After the pep rally, we mingled around the courtyard. There was Joe talking to fans and alums. All of us in the band swarmed Joe like vultures. We asked him to autograph our hats.

Joe laughed upon being surrounded by a bunch of band geeks, as if to say, "What do you want with me?" He then thanked us for making the trip and asked if we were enjoying ourselves. Of course, we nodded in approval, in disbelief that he cared enough to talk with us. Then as Joe signed hat after hat, he kept chuckling saying that he couldn't possibly sign everyone's hat. He signed everyone's hat. He never once complained.

As band geeks, we went into that pep rally thinking Joe was larger than life. In reality, he was a humble man who cared. I'll never forget it.

Story from DavidM
Minor Joe Story...
Joe forgot nothing--and nobody. I helped to arrange to get Joe to a PSU alumni club banquet (along with Dick Harter) in the Chicago area in 1982, right after the Fiesta Bowl against USC and Marcus Allen, and it was my extreme pleasure to sit next to him at dinner and chat for a couple of hours. Nothing extraordinary was said, although he did indicate he had real contempt at the time for the Pitt football program. He was humorous and honest and unassuming.

Fast forward to about 1996. I was helping BWI out by being a volunteer stringer and getting some coaches' quotes during the Big Ten Luncheon preseason meetings in mid-summer, and I happened to run into Joe in the lobby of the hotel. He knew me instantly, said I always turned up like a bad penny (once in fifteen years?), and we chatted for a couple of minutes before he had to go to another round of interviews.

Fifteen long years, and he knew exactly who I was. However, I didn't kid myself. The fact is, he knew thousands of people--thousands. Did he remember everybody he'd ever met? I don't think he was necessarily the very brightest person I've ever met, but he sure as hell had the best memory of anybody I've ever met, seen, or heard of.

His example and values encouraged me to be the best damned high school teacher that I could be, and literally thousands of my students, without realizing it, wound up getting a little piece of Joepa. His influence, like the ripples from a stone in a still lake, expands ever outwards...

Story from PSU Proud
I had 4 phone conversations with Joe on Thursday nights

In the 80's I urged him to start throwing the ball on first down.

In the 90's I urged him to stop throwing the ball on first down.

I called to congratulate him on ignoring the media and others and supporting Rashard Casey.

I called him to tell him I was never more proud of him when he chased down that Michigan referee, turned him around and pointed his finger at his nose, no matter how many bad calls we would receive. Joe said “Well, somebody has to stick up for the kids”.

What a sight! Joe was jogging off the field after the game and you could tell he had just sighted that Michigan ref, Joe got this fierce look on his face and sprinted like a 30 yr old and caught the guy. Oh, that ref was a big Ann Arbor businessman and MU supporter. He retired shortly after.

What a man! Now, every college football player has a better chance to play without having somebody take away their success. JoePa brought us instant replay. Another aspect of his legacy. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to start knowing of and about him in 1967 as a sophomore at Pennsbury High School. Later, while attending PSU and taking classes in Rec Hall, I had the opportunity to converse with him. In many ways he has been teaching me all of my life. He has been the most consistent person I have ever encountered, in addition to all that is being said of him today. History will remember Joe Paterno warmly. As the legions of people tell their stories of JoePa and the evidence of his class, honor, intellect and commitment to making the world around him a better place grows those that chose to diminish him will stand out as mere nattering nay bobs of negativism.

Story from butchnitt
It was a Sunday in the spring of 1987. My son asked for a ride back to campus from Hazleton and it happened to be what I think they called Camera Dap or Picture Day where you can meet the players. I also asked a friend to come along.

Well, we dropped my son off at his dorm and headed to the football event. There was a line waiting on Joe. I asked my friend if he would take a picture of me with Joe if I got close enough.

Well, when I got to Joe I asked if he would mind taking a picture with a big nose Italian. Joe responded "that makes two of us" and my friend took the picture as Joe was putting his arm around me.

My friend furnished a photograph and my wife insisted that we have it enlarged. This picture (approx. 20" x 30") has been hanging in our family room ever since.

Love 'ya Joe. May you rest in peace.

Story from go1psu
In 1990, my roomates and I were at a Penn State Basketball game, sitting near the top of Rec Hall. Apparently, Joe slipped in during the first half and sat behind us. After debating for 10 minutes or so if we should bother him or let him enjoy the game, we decided we would say hi and shake his hand. When we turned and began introducing ourselves, he was very warm and started asking us about where we were from, our majors and what we thought of our education. Not once did we even bring up football. After 15-20 minutes of talking about our lives (not his), we turned back to watch the last minute or two of the first half. He left before half time began. A warm, genuine human that used football as a platform for greater good. His legacy is secure in all of us that have been touched by his life.

Thank you coach!

Story from flash86
My personal experiences wtih Joe were limited, but meaningful to me. He and his wife always came by the Thon to encourage the dancers. At the '85 Notre Dame came, he came over to the Sr. Blue Band members personally to tell us himself/express regrets that we could not march on the field in that last home game (it was POURING rain!).

A more telling story is that of my wife's. She was ushering a football-related event at Eisenhower Aud, feeling poorly. After she got everyone seated, she went back to the lobby and lay down on a bench. A few minutes later she is tapped on the shoulder, rolls over and Joe asks her if she is OK and if he can do anything for her.

Story from psutim
It's so hard to know what to say. As a freshman living in North Halls in '69, I used to run into Joe regularly on my way to class. He would always say hi and ask if I was taking advantage of this great opportunity I had. It meant a lot to a young kid to have Joe take an interest. Thank you Joe for making me always proud to be a penn stater. We've been so lucky to have him as a representative of our school. He has been so much more than just a football coach. Like so many of us, I have been crying while typing this. I'm a drug and alcohol counselor and deal with misery on a daily basis so I don't cry easy. It's very hard to imagine Penn State w/o Joe. We'll never see his like again. We are......

Story from JeannieNeedsAShooter
Summer '04, working in State College. Decided to go downtown and finally buy the newer version of the stand up Joe. After putting it in my car, I decide to take a walk on campus. I remember it was a beautiful day and there were very few people around. Suddenly I see out of the corner of my eye from about 100 yards away, a lone figure who I immediately thought might be Joe. I change the course of my walk so that I can get in his oncoming path. A few more steps I look up and see it is indeed Joe walking towards me from about 20 yards. My heart began to beat so fast I thought it might explode. As our paths crossed I look up and he waves his hand and says "how you doin". All I could muster was "Good luck this year coach" as we kept walking.

I'll never forget being in State College during the early 2000's with the losing seasons. Listening to the call in shows was brutal. I remember going to the 2004 Purdue rally in the valley where Joe threw down his jacket and screamed "I'm frustrated"!! I will always remember how he kept his values in tact as PSU dug itself out of those tough times.

When Joe passes, whenever that may be, I will bring in my stand up Joe and put him in my elementary school music room as a tribute.

Thanks coach...

Story from mbm165
When I graduated law school in 2007 I wrote him a letter expressing my gratitude towards him and his philosophy. I let him know that I know his father wanted him to go to law school and he had always been an influence on my life. He took time out of his busy schedule to respond with a congratulations and kind words. While my father is my true hero and idol, Joe has always been someone that I looked up to. He is a man of superior integrity, intelligence and kindness. Losing Joe will be like losing someone in my extended family. While I didn't always agree with his coaching strategies, he stood for much more than football and he is the reason Penn State is what it is. Again, I love you Joe and I hope you can fight through this. I will certainly be thinking about you in these tough times.

Story from MJPSU1980
While I was a student at PSU, I worked for the student police. I was called in to work one day to cover an event at the stadium and it ended up being the wake for George Paterno. I remember Joe coming over to me towards the end of the event and thanking me for helping with the security detail. All I could think was that this man was grieving for his own brother and yet was thanking me for just doing my simple job. It just goes to show that it was never about him and how much he really did care for others.

Story from danomat
Two encounters:
1. My wife's best friend was a long time employee in the football office, having just retired last year. My wife and I went to Phoenix for the 86 Fiesta Bowl, which was actualy played on Jan 2, 1987 due to TV reasons. We spent most of our time out there with my wife's friend and her husband, who were travelling with the PSU football party.

On Dec 31, they invited us over to the team hotel, in the early evening, and then took us into a big tent that had been set up in the parking lot. Much to our surprise, it was a New Years Eve party for the team and coaches - no parents, alumni, etc. - just players, coaches and some university big wigs. After a few minutes, my wife's friend brings Joepa over to our table and introduces him to us - we spent about ten minutes chatting, and all the time I am thinking I am standing here talking to him just hours before one of the biggest games in school history - quite a treat. The other thing I remember about the party was that 9 PM rolls around (12 midnight State College time), and all of the players blew noise makers and enjoy a short celebration, then off to their rooms they went.

2. My second encounter happened after a Quarterback Club meeting last year. (We are told never to discuss anything that happens during the QB Club meeting, but this conversation took place after the meeting had let out, so I don't think I am breaking any rules.) In any event, I am walking out of the meeting and much to my surprise I discover that JoePa is walking beside me. I had just finished reading a Sport Illustrated article about Joe wherein it was mentioned that when Joe was young, he used to be close to a scratch golfer. So I said "Joe, I have a question for you. I just finished the SI article in which it was mentioned you were a very good golfer when you were younger; if so, why did you quit the game??"
He said someting on the order - "Yea, I was pretty good, but I had 5 kids. The guys I played with were very good, and I just couldn't put the time in that was required to stay competitive wiht them, so I gave it up."

Story from c1976
One of my co workers father was a freshman on Joe's first team as an assistant over 60 years ago. Several years ago, Don's dad took sick with cancer. 2005 or 2006 as I recall. Out of the seeming blue a voicemail was left on my coworkers fathers cell phone from Joe wishing him well and encouragement. Think about the humanity in that. He will always be remembered with the utmost admiration by my family and me.

Story from scottpsurules
My senior 86, Friday nite before the BW game. I was going into a liquor store on Atherton, I held the door open for someone coming out. As he passed our eyes met, he stopped and said hello. As I stood there with my mouth hanging open in dis-belief, he laughed and put his out to shake my hand. It took me several more seconds to respond. We shook and I told him it was an honor. I asked if he was having a big party as he had a bottle in hand. He replied, in-laws in town, gotta keep them happy. and off he walked. I stood motionless for several more seconds, all I could think about was if my roommates, waiting in the car saw what happened.

An hour ago my wife, both our sons and I were in tears, it has been a long evening on this rollercoaster and sleep isn't going to come easy with the worry. JoePa you are in our thoughts, now and always. WEARE

Story from JudgeDD (father of incoming player, Derek Dowrey
I had the pleasure to meet Coach Paterno a few times. The first was nearly twenty years ago at a coaches’ clinic. I heard him speak (more about life than football) and then got to shake his hand. It was a story I’ve repeated over the years ? like meeting the president or the pope. It was a highlight of my career as a coach until the past few years, when PSU began recruiting my son.

Circumstances afforded me the honor of talking several times with Joe over the past two years. He had a way of walking up and talking like we were old friends and in the middle of a conversation. We seldom spoke of football. He was much more likely to talk about the weather or the traffic. He always spoke of Penn State with a certain respect and reverence. And it was never about the facilities or the Big 10 or TV exposure. It was about the people, the relationships, the integrity. It was obvious that these were the things that made Penn State special to him.

The last time I spoke to him was in the locker room before the Nebraska game. I was there with my son and another recruit and his father. My son and this other young man attended the summer camp together in 2011 and were offered at the same time. Bill Kenny had been telling my family for about six months that he and Joe were both very high on my son, and that he and Joe were pushing Larry Johnson to pull the trigger and offer. I admit, I thought it was a bit of a sales pitch at the time. Before that game, Joe confirmed how he had been campaigning for my son for a while now. But he said Coach J needed to see him in person one more time, since the scheme we ran in high school was so different than what would be expected of him at PSU. Joe said that it was always a good thing when they offered an athlete after a camp, because then they weren’t guessing. He said after a camp that they felt they knew a bit more about an athlete’s heart; about his work ethic, his coachability, and his desire. He shook my son’s hand and said he was proud to have him as part of the Penn State family. I looked away; I didn’t want him to see me cry.

Story from NewEnglandLion
I went to the same high school as Brennan Coakley and was a freshman when he was being recruited. Pretty much everyone in my class knew I was a huge Penn State fan. Joe made a visit to the school one day in January and just casually strolled through the front doors at 7:30 AM when classes were just starting. He shook hands with some students and proceeded along to meet with Coakley. All throughout high school my friends and I hung out by the doors in the morning before classes started. On this day I had left for my first class about a minute before Joe walked in. All day I had people coming up to me and asking if I had met Joe. It was really disappointing that I missed the opportunity to meet him.

Had I known Joe was going to be at the school that day, I would've been late/skipped that class without a second thought. I'm sure Joe wouldn't have appreciated that though.

Story from psuhysch
One of my funniest memories of Joe occurred at a Delaware County pre-season "Night with Joe". It preceded the 2002 season, so we had just come off of two lousy seasons and a friend that was with me questioned the linebacker play. Joe rambled on a little about they'd be alright, etc. and my friend chimed in, "I'm talkin' about toughness, coach", to which Joe responded, "you wanna take this outside?!" It was hilarious. My friend was 40 at the time and Joe was 74! Man, I'll miss that man. My thoughts go out to his family, his players, his coaches and everyone else who he's touched in his storied career.

Story from Skellar33
I can't remember the year (I think 2008), but it was the Michigan game, and it was the game we broke the "streak" of the Michigan beating us. I was waiting for my wife outside one of the lower level bathroms when Joe came by on the golf cart. I reached out and shook his hand and said let's finally beat these guys today coach. He said, don't worry, the kids are ready to play. He told me to enjoy myself and respect the Michigan fans. That was the only time I met Joe and I remember thinking how much bigger than life he was. And that amidst the crazy atmosphere, he was telling me to be respectful. Joe, we will never forget you and the class you ALWAYS carried yourself with. You were, are and will always Penn State. We'll miss you coach.

Story from PSU MAY
Well my JoePa story goes like this. I grew up in a die heart family of Penn Stater, none bigger then my Grandmother. To make a long story short my Grandmother loved JoePa and everything that he stood for. She was a lot like him. She was a feisty old gal and was still living on her own at 100. When we had her 100th birthday party in 1989 no one knew what to get her (at a 100 you really don't need too much), so I had an idea. I called up to the athletic dept. at Penn State and explained to them about my Grandmother and asked if there was any way to get Joe to sign a birthday card and send it to her.The lady that I spoke with said she would see what she could do and took down my grandmothers info. Needless to say a card showed up in the mail on her birthday. This is something that I will remember the rest of my life. As for the card it's in a frame in my Penn State room where I'm looking at it right now.

Story from WhipLion
Back in 1999, my wife's father (he's third generation PSU, she's fourth) was having septuple bypass surgery. She wrote to JoePa and told him the only thing that would cheer him up was a personal letter. Sure enough, the letter came, and had the desired effect!

I lucked out a couple years ago: Decided to head down to Tuscaloosa for the 'bama game. We were staying at the team hotel in Birmingham, and my buddies were ready to go. I had to run back to my room for some reason. When I was heading back to the lobby, around the corner comes Joe. Just the two of us alone in the hallway. Introduced myself, told him I was in from Houston, shook his hand. Sweet.

Story from TooLongBlue
In the late 60's I used to go with my dad to work on Saturday's. We would go out to our car and listen to the games on the radio. I loved spending that time with my dad.I lost my dad 10 years ago. Tonight I am thinking of my dad and Joe. Lots of tears.

Story from kurth
I met Joe once. In 1977 my father took my brother and I to see the team practice. Joe came over to talk to us for a few minutes. My father subsequently visited with him in his office and asked him to write a letter to a good friend who was dying of cancer and was a big PSU fan. Joe agreed to write the letter and did write it. The friend of my father was overwhelmed by the gesture from Joe. That letter was placed in his casket when he died. Joe then wrote my father a letter thanking him which my father still has to this day. He was a remarkable man. My father has three degrees from Penn State. He met my mother there and married her. I went there. My sister got her graduate degree there. My brother goes to every game even though he never went there. It it truly is an integral part of our lives and the a passion that has made my father, brother and I very close. It is hard to describe what he has meant to our family.

Story from ssergi7
1) 1989 - On football recruiting trip to PSU, JoePa sat down next to me in the football office lobby. He had no idea who I was but saw my HS letterman jacket and said, "You've got the most athletic Athletic Director in Pittsburgh." I didn't even know it then, but Rip Scherer (My AD) had played football at PSU on the 1948 Cotton Bowl team. JoePa proceeded to talk about Rip Scherer for 5 minutes, shook my hand and left.

2) Wedding in January, 1996 at Nittany Lion Inn, JoePa walking out while bride and groom (me) walking in. He had multiple recruits with him, but stopped for pictures with us and delayed that part of wedding when bridal party walks into room. Picture is now signed by JoePa hanging in our Penn State room.

3) Playing golf in late 1990's on White Course, JoePa walking UP the jogging path while my friends and I drive cart DOWN hill. JoePay yells something at us, we stop and apologize assuming he was upset that we nearly ran him over. He shouted louder, "That's embarassing that two young men need a car to get around this course!" He kept speed walking.

4) Everytime I coach my kids, mentor my employees or frankly work on improving my life, I quote JoePa's line, "Just do the Little Things right and the Big things will take care of themselves."


Story from cigarowl
In the late 80's I went to an area Penn State club rally at the Schwab Estate in Loretto Pa. Everyone was waiting for Joe to show up and milling around meeting a few Penn State players when a helicopter landed on the estate.When Joe appeared around the corner of one of the buildings, I ran over with a few others who were close by and got to greet him and shake his hand. Later on I got to speak with him alone and ask him some questions until others started to gather to get his autograph. He asked me to hold his beer and I yelled "SURE". He looked as surprised as me and said "Don't drink it". I got to stand there for 15-20 minutes holding Joe's beer while he talked and signed autos.

Story from m.knox
I shined his shoes
Yeap. He brought them into Anglo Card's shop, and I "winterized" them in the back. Gave him a nice new edge on the sole, painted it, waxed it, buffed it, then cleaned and treated the upper.

Pops looked over my shoulder the whole time. Couldn't f'up coaches shoes for sure.

Story from mwaltrip
I was taking care of a very ill heart transplant patient at Hershey Med back in 94 & somehow they got word back to Joe that the patient was a fan. I was finishing rounds when in walks Joe. He spent just about an hour with him and shook my hand and gave me an autograph when he left. That patient was so much better for the next few weeks with the emotional lift he got from Joe. It is a sad sad day, but I will remember him with pride and awe.

Story from dave_1974
This is what I wrote to Jay-pa on Nov 14th says it all for me
Just wanted to say thanks to you and your family for everything you have provided mine, although many would consider these indirect I would not agree, your family has had an impact on mine directly to say the least. I wanted to share how, and although I am not much of a writer work in IT I wanted to share with you the list of things that I believe the Paterno Family has done for me, and my 3 generation deep Alumni Family:
1. Born in 1974, in Maryland was raised in the Penn State Way (yes it still exists), that your family drove
2. My childhood memories revolve around Penn State football, pre cable, so listening to radio reports and reading the newspaper
3. My family would get season tickets to MD just so we could see 1 Penn state game a year
4. My mother still has the coke bottle with your Dad’s picture on it, we joke about it every year how gross it is, still has the coke in it
5. My first trip to beaver stadium and Penn State was 1985 home against Pitt where my dad broke his credit card while chipping the ice
6. 1993 I was not accepted to Penn State Main Campus, had to go to Altoona, but at the last second switched to Main Campus for Summer
7. 1993 First Home Game as a student, chanting Joe-Paterno for the first time
8. 1993 my parents get season tickets for the first time so they were up every home game of my college career (okay maybe that is not a good one☺)
9. 2004 I married a diehard PSU fan, a pre-requisite to marrying me
10. 2005 my parents retire to PSU, my wife and our oldest son move to State College not long after that
11. 2009 my 2 year old goes out as Joepa for Halloween, the players at the museum even acted as if it was actually him
12. My 3 sons and I play Penn State football every weekend
13. This year, while on a bike ride, at one point I thought I was going to hit your Dad on the bike path, and he yelled keep it up, I proclaimed I got a pep talk from Joe Pa to all my friends.
14. I have been a season ticket holder and tailgater for 4 years now
Make it clear my family and my world does not revolve around Penn State Football in the way that your family’s likely does, but as you can tell some of the most fond memories in my life are from this institution and football, both of which I will always love, and both of which carry the Paterno family name in my opinion. I do not know how this thing will shake out, but I felt it was important for me to share that your family has and will always influence who I am although to some this could have happened with anyone at the helm of this program, I do not agree.
I have had the pleasure of meeting you a few times, once at Dulles as we were delayed, and I truly enjoyed and I know that you will be successful whatever path you take, and wish you the best going forward.

Story from bcondel
My wife who was 8 months pregnant at the time and I went to a dinner to see joe. He shook everyone's hand that was in line. I was so excited to see him, but when he saw my pregnant wife his eyes lit up and completely did not know I existed. He could not stop asking questions on how my wife was feeling and how proud he was of his grandchildren. In fact he came as sought us out during the dinner to talk to my wife.

Story from tbair1!
Freshmen in West Halls...was throwing the football early Fall when Joe walks tbrough and an errant pass almost hits him..." throwing a football in the quad" yelled Joe in that high pitched voice....called my mom and dad...brothers right away...all Penn State grads..."He spoke to me!"...was on cloud nine...will never you Joe

Story from rag195
A few years ago I attended a Big 33 Banquet and saw Joe up close and personal. I took a photo and we talked about some of the letters he and I wrote back and forth. I said: Joe do you know that I attended your first Penn State Football Camp when I was going into my soph year in HS.

He said, "You are really getting old."

Then he said tell my dad that he says hello.

Story from cyonish1
I have two stories. The first was when I was 12 and my Aunt and my Uncle both PSU alumni took me to PSU to show me the campus. They took me to see Beaver Stadium and it was open. It just happen to be the coaches clinic and we walked right in. Upon entering the field Coach Bradley recognized my Uncle and came over to talk to us. He asked who I was and my Aunt said a future Penn State football player. I was in awe just being on the field. Anyways to make a long story short Scrap got Joe to come over and shake my hand and that I will never forget.
The second was 2010 senior day and my son who was 5 at the time wanted to see Sean Lee (his favorite player then). So I took him to see them get on the Blue buses at the Lasch Building. While we were waiting Joe and some other coach came out and as Joe walked by he shook my son's hand and patted him on the head and said thanks for coming. My son look right up at him and no problem JoePa!!! I am tearing up as I type this sorry.

Story from mikegskpsu
2005, the day of the osu night game I was a student cutting across sunset park on my way to the stadium and out walks Joe down his driveway and stops my friend and I. He talks about our studies and coursework for 15 min...and this is on gameday of probably the biggest game of the last decade or so. It was unreal that for a moment he wasn't even thinking about the game, and had a genuine interest in what my friend and I wanted to do in life.

Story from sg out west
I was standing with Tate F next to DC while Morelli was running with the ones.. Joe came over and talked for 5 mins and asked us if how we were doing with the wildfires that were raging back in Cali that weekend. Very gracious.. you could tell that he was getting up there by this point.

Story from PhillipintheValley
A friend of mine lived in College Heights. Her former neighbors were the Welshes. As a result her family became friends with the Paternos. Joe came to her graduation party and worked the room, making sure he talked to all of her friends individually. I remember he asked what I did and I proudly told him that I had just started working for the University. He congratulated me and told me to make sure I did a good job. He also had a couple of shots of bourbon with us in toast to Eileen's graduation.

I also worked at Graham's Newstand as a student and he came in regularly to get a couple of newspapers. He always asked if I was going to class.

Story from psu4nacl
I met JoePa in the Spring of '93 I was taking part of a greek function that was on campus for Spring week. It was an outside event in the evening... It was on one of the intramural fields - I noticed two people out of the corner of my eye... they were just outside of the area on the field that was lit up by the lights... so as I was walking by to head to the other side for whatever reason and my eyes adjusted to the dark.... suddenly there was standing JoePa and SuePa both with big smiles... just watching a bunch of college kids doing there thing... so I walked up and said hello and shook his hand... he asked "you guys having fun?" - I don't even remember what I said back... but I remember telling him "looking forward to the fall and another Penn State football season" and that it was great to meet him... it was not a long conversation - they had just either come out or stopped while they were on a walk to watch just another example of the PSU experience... one that he was such a big part of for myself and so many of my friends and family... Thanks Joe for everything!

Story from es19
I never had the pleasure of meeting Joe, but I always thought of him as a grandfather because my grandmother loved him so much (I never met my grandfather - passed before I was born). We spent every fall watching PSU games together throughout the 80s and 90s.

A few weeks after I got married (Joe cardboard cutout was in attendance), my wife and I received a late gift. We opened up the package and stared in shock. Inside was a university issued photo of Joe.

On the picture was the following:

To X and X,
Joe Paterno

Story from PSU42Fan
When I first met Joe was at a family function for the team after the Blue-White Game in 2003. Just a real quick meet and greet.

The next time I saw him was at a get-together the night before the first game against Akron in 2003. It was at the home of a coach, I believe. I was walking by the front door on my way to get something to eat, and I noticed Joe and Sue getting out of their car and heading up the driveway. Trying not to be too obvious, I waited by the door so I could greet Joe as he entered the house. I opened the door for him, and he said "Hi, Jon." I was dumbfounded that he remembered my name after having met me for the first time 5 months prior.

I was fortunate enough to visit Joe's house after games a couple times that season. Even got to sit down and listen to Joe tell stories as we sipped on expensive bourbon. Never forget it.

Story from mdlion1
I was way too young to appreciate it at the time, but I had the fortunate chance to meet JoePA at a MS dinner event in Hershey one year. I was probably 11 or 12 at the time and I dont remember much about the evening with the exception of one thing. I remember my Dad telling me to go up to him after the dinner and say hello and ask for his autograph. The dinner had a booklet with all celeb athletes in attendance with their pictures. JoePa's was in there too. So, not thinking to much of it, I did as my Dad suggested. I approached him and asked for his authograph. Of course he signed it and I just remember him being so nice.

Fast forward to today. I still have that autograph and picture and it is actually framed and hangs in my basement. Actually, not my basement but my PSU man-cave. It is something I value the most of all the items I have.

Even with all that has happened in the last several months, I will not take it down. Thought about it but then quickly realized that I am, or We Are Penn State.

My only wish is that I wish I could have paid more attention to the things he said and to really capture the moment in my memory. For 41 years I've been Penn State and it is hard to imagine a Penn State without JoePA, whether as a coach or not. Very appreciative of the memories he has given to us and will continue to cherish the one moment I got to meet him and the autograph I will forever keep.

Story from kjb32812
Buddies and I were getting money out of a MAC machine downtown on a Friday afternoon and he came up behind us and asked if we were going out drinking. We told him we were and he said we better make sure we still make it to the game.

My dad was in the stadium when they were doing one of the expansions. Someone came up behind him and said, "it's going to be something isn't it?" It was Joe. He spent about ten more minutes talking with my mom and dad.

Story from lilburky21
I was in second grade when PSU was recruiting John Gilmore, Joe came and spoke to our entire elementary school while he was visiting John. I was sitting in the front row and still remember just staring in awe at this big time coach who was willing to take time out of his schedule to talk to elementary school kids. Not about football, but about the importance of school and how we make a living based off of what we learn in the classroom, not on a football field. I fell in love with PSU that day.

Story from markboltz
A PSU basketball player was friend of mine, and we roomed together one summer ('86). I was taking a class and working a nonsense job. He would work out at the football complex and I would frequently join him. We finished lifting one day, went over to the lounge area where there were a few sofas, and I sat down. There was a coffee table in front, so I took a load off, put my feet up and my head back, and slouched down. Suddenly, I see this face directly above me - so I'm looking straight up - and it's upside down. It's Joe, and he says, "Son, maybe you put your feet on the table in your own house, but we don't do that here." Yours truly put his feet down and sat straight up, perfect manners. He just smiled, gave me a pat on the shoulder, and moved on.

Story from kwall07
I met him once coming out of the elevator in Beaver Stadium. All I could manage was "Hi Coach" I wanted to tell him that I modeled my life and my career after the way he did his. I knew I'd regret not doing so.

For a while, I had gotten to be quite a regular on the Nitanny Lion Hotline. Twice he told me that my observations were good ones and jokingly offered me a job. As dumb as that sounds... It made my day. I'm sitting here typing this and tears are welling up.

God bless you Joe.

Story from bohucon
My son, who is also a coach,and I met Joe in the Lasch Bldg. and when he found out we were both coaches, he chided me for letting my son become a coach. Jokingly, he said "can't believe you let your son get into this business". We laughed and he shook my hand. Will never forget that moment. My son gave me a signed helmet fom Joe later that evening. Great memory.

Story from darwiny2k
While attending PSU in 1994, I had the opportunity to see Joe walking on campus. I spent my time trying to talk about our undefeated season (8-0 at that point) as a diversion to the tragic death of my sister earlier that month. He spent the entire 10-15 mins asking about my schoolwork, and upon finding out that my sister had passed, asked if he could help. Told him thanks, but no.

He also sent a recruiting pack to my then 1 year old son (in 2004) which still hangs framed in my basement rec room.

We luv ya Joe!

Story from butchnitt
This occurred in early 1970's when David Paterno fell from the trampoline and was hospitalized at Geisinger in Danville.

Our custom on gameday Saturdays was to stop at the Dutch Pantry (?) right off I-80 Danville exit. Well, when we were being seated we noticed Joe sitting along at a table drawing X's & O's on a tablet. We stopped only to ask about David's condition and told him our prayers were with him. No pictures, autographs, etc.

Well, on his way out he stopped by our table and asked our children (approximately 9 & 11 at the time) who was going to win today. Our children decked out in all Penn State apparel shouted "Penn State".

My son (who graduated in engineering with David) wanted to go home instead of attending the game so that he could tell his friends.

This was not the first game following David's accident but the first home game. It may have been West Virginia.

Story from FourDGlory
I was giving the toast for my brother's wedding. We are both Penn Staters (his wife-to-be was not) and consider ourselves a Penn State family (my wife is PSU). For the toast, I wrote a note to Joe and asked for a congratulatory letter back to the new couple. I sent the letter over the summer during a slow time of year.

I was expecting a form letter back with his signature at the bottom. That would have been great. When I received the letter back, here is what I got.

My exact letter came back with handwriting scribbled on the margins. It said,"Sorry this is not very neat. My secretary is out for the week and I could not type it to you. Congratulations to the new couple. You will find Penn State families are very welcoming, even to Vanderbilt grads. Good Luck Joe Paterno."

I got the letter framed and presented it at the wedding. It was a HUGE hit. My brother thought it was the best wedding gift he got.

Story from dwallpsu
my wife and I both knew Joe.....prior to us dating he came up to her (while she was eating a garlic bagel)....."you know if you keep eating the garlic ones, you will never get a date"

He was a great man...I hope he rests.

Story from Sue Iorio (mother of former player Joe Iorio)
Note: this was posted as a comment on a newspaper site, and then linked on the board.

I remember, with sincere gratitude, the first time we met Joe Paterno. My son, Joe Iorio, was a sophomore on the football team. He started as a true freshman walk-on the year before. But during the summer between his freshman and sophomore year he contracted mono and was forced to remain on the slide lines for the first 7 games of the season. He wanted so much to play that year and felt he was being sidelined unnecessarily. He contemplated quitting football. His dad and I were so distraught because we believed he would also need to change schools. This was a particularly frightening time for us because Joe's older brother, Nick who suffered from depression, just a few years earlier quit football after his freshman year at John Carroll University, transferred schools and never recovered only to die of suicide. So my husband Tim and I, and our son Joe met with Coach Paterno in his office to discuss him quitting. He told Joe if he wanted to quit football that would be okay but he didn't want him to quit school. He would do whatever he needed to help him get an academic scholarship to stay at Penn State. After that meeting, our son decided to stay at Penn State and stay on the team. He went on to play football through the remainder of his college years, graduated in four years and received Academic All American. I never really got to tell Joe Pa how truly thankful we are for what he did that day or for giving our son and family the opportunity he did. He helped Joe become a man and he helped our family heal from his brother's death. Thank you Joe. And, by the way say hello to Nick when you see him in heaven.

Story from Jim Heller (former player)
Note: this was sent as an e-mail, and posted by Jim's friend, board poster jayhimes

As you can well imagine, My family and I are very saddened by Coach Paterno's passing. For over forty years Penn State football has been an integral part of our lives....with Joe Paterno as a constant. His great contributions to college football, to Penn State, and his molding of hundreds and hundreds of young men will never be forgotten. Obviously, I've been asked countless times during these last forty plus years "what was it like to play for Joe Paterno?" I would reply that he was a strict disciplinarian, but always fair....that he truly cared about all his players and their families....and, of course, that he always stressed educationover football.

He had an amazing memory. In recent years, he may not have been able to recognize a lot of the older players immediately, but he remembered your name and your family history. When I talked to him at a letterman's golf tournament a few years ago, as soon as he saw my name tag he asked how my parents were and if they still lived in Pottsville. When I played, I used to like when he gave us his "life's lessons" during his talks to the team......the one I remember most and have tried to incorporate into my own life was " take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves." And I was actually able to "tell" him that in the new book that was published just this year...."Captains' Letters to Joe".

For me personally, and for whatever reason, he gave me the opportunity to play and become the best football player my ability would allow.....and for that, I will be forever grateful. May he rest in peace.

He was....Penn State

Story from tsgill
I was just recently told this story by a former walk-on player for PSU. I will not share his identity as I did not get his permission. He arrived on campus as a walk-on DB. He described his status at the time as the lowest man on the totum pole. The tape on his helmet had a name, it just wasn't his. He eventually asked someone for a marker and put his name correctly on his helmet. He thought his days on campus were numbered, as he was in over his head. He missed a class on his first day, he claims in error. Later that week he was summoned to Coach Paterno's office and thought Joe would offer him a managers position. Instead Joe chastised him and said, "if you are going to be a PSU football player, you WILL attend your classes." Joe cared about the kid, even though at that time he figured to never contribute to a PSU victory. He did end up being a contributor, and credits Joe with his development as a football player and as a young man. I almost never post and did not do this to try to exonerate Joe of any missteps. It is just part of the patchwork which is Joe Paterno.

Story from rag195

As a soph end in HS I attended Joe's first football camp In Western Pa. right after he was named the new football coach at Penn State. I remember him talking to me about the coal regions and their football heritage. I told him I was from GAR High School in Wilkes Barre and he mentioned all of the great HS QB's that Penn State missed out on who went to other programs
like Pitt and ND.

He also told me that I had a great athletic director who was tough as nails when he played football at Pitt.

40 some years later I attended a Big 33 banquet. Coach and I chatted again about that camp. About how we had to bathe in the river since the showers were not working. Then he looked at me and said, "you're getting old."

Coach and I grew old together, just like so many of us who were with him on a football field have done.
This post was edited on 7/6 3:04 PM by Tom McAndrew


Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Jul 5, 2001
The Joe We Know website has launched

Tremendous tribute to Joe.

Personal note - my fraternity roommate was instrumental in this, including his daughters who were a big source of inspiration for the project.

The Joe We Know


Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Nov 1, 2002
Re: Collection of Articles about, and video tributes to, JoePa ...

Tom...can you pin this to the top of the board so it doesn't get lost?

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