Writing yesterday in his Washington Post sponsored blog called Hard Hits with LaVar Arrington, the former Nittany Lion and Washington Redskins linebacker stated that Joe Paterno should remain head coach at Penn State as long as he is physically and mentally able.
LaVar, who could use a grammar coach at this point, correctly posited that “college athletics isn’t all about wins and loses [sic] for a team”. He writes of the positive influence Paterno had on his life and the lives of countless hundreds of other student athletes he coached. Regardless of how much ink Joe gets in the record books, this will be his lasting legacy.
“I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with coach. He was real hard on me — like a father figure I didn’t like it too much. But as a result, he prepared me for a much more important game, the game of life.” —LaVar Arrington
During the past ten years, fans including this Turkey at times have grown restless about Paterno. In each year when the PSU football team falls short of their expectations — or perhaps, their needs — they clamor for Joe’s head on a plate. In years like 2005, they shut up for a while, placated by what has more often than not of late turned out to be fleeting success. In most years the team has been ordinary — middle of the pack Big Ten — as Bob Flounders and I recently asserted (see “Floundering Around in Mediocrity“).
It would be nice if Penn State was able to put a national title contender on the field every year, but that’s not possible. Even if it were possible to field a top five team every year, would you really want to have a program like USC?
When Joe goes, we will have lost a legend, and you’re not likely to see another like him during your lifetime. Isn’t that worth preserving as long as possible?