Earlier today, we presented some of your personal tributes to late Penn State coaching legend Joe Paterno. Well, someone who coached as long as Paterno did had an impact on many lives, so here are a few more of your thoughts and stories:
Kelley from Los Angeles/PSU Nation): I was a dancer for the Penn State Dance MaraTHON (which raises millions of dollars for kids with cancer) in 2009. In the last few hours of the 46-hour dance-a-thon, all of the families that we help were called onto the stage. And then out walked Joe Paterno. I was in the front row of dancers nearest the stage. What he said to us that day says more about him than I could otherwise articulate. His words were "I've been here 58 years at Penn State. I've never been more proud, than right now." It wasn't his achievements on the football field he was proud of, it was the students. Hearing that helped me get through those last few hours. His commitment to academics and to every single student at that school was unrivaled. And I could never thank him enough for doing so much for the school I love.
Lisa M. from Lewistown, Pa.: Having lived my entire life a half hour from Beaver Stadium, I am familiar with the love that was felt for JoePa. This man meant so much to our community for the way he showed us what it was to stand for what you believe in, even when others don't. He set a great example for all, and if my son turns out to be half the man Paterno was, I would be proud! We will miss you Joe, and thanks for letting us all share your life with you. It was the best gift you could have given.
Aaron G. from State College: Dear Coach Paterno: I never had the privilege of meeting you, but you have always had a huge impact on my life. For the longest time, Penn State has been not just a university, but a nurturing place when students and players go to learn not only about math science and writing, but also how to conduct ourselves in the harsh world that we live in. That legacy started with you, coach. You not only molded your football players, but you challenged the rest of the university to do the same. Because of that, Penn State is a place that cares. A place that gives back. You were a father or grandfather figure to so many of us here. Through your influence, you have made every single person at Penn State a better person. I promise you coach, as your Penn State family, that legacy will live on. We will continue to be a family that nurtures those around us. The way we can honor you most is to continue on your life goal: change the lives of those around us for the better.
Caroline M. from Brooklyn, N.Y.: When I followed my Dad's footsteps and went to Penn State, I did so partly because I loved the Classics, and I wanted to major in Latin. I had read an article JoePa had written about how the ancient mythical hero Aeneas has both inspired his love of the classics and helped him learn how to deal with life's travails. I also went because I had grown up watching Penn State football with my father, an alum, and revered Joe, the uniforms, and what the program stood for. As a student, I was lucky enough to receive an award sponsored by JoePa for students majoring in Latin. The fusion of athletics and academics is what inspires me about Joe. The fact that our school's football coach fielded a competitive team of students who graduated, and sponsored the intellectual life of the entire PSU community, is what made him unique. His impact went beyond football players and reached even me, a 5'3" woman who was never going to play linebacker for him. Today is a sad day, but the library and academic scholarships that remain in his name tell JoePa's true legacy.
Paul E. from Baraga, Mich.: One of the best memories I have in my life is getting to watch Joe Paterno coach against my favorite team in Ann Arbor. I got to watch the legend direct his troops to a win against my Wolverines. I was angry at the loss but happy I got to see one of my favorite coaches at his finest. Thanks for the memories and everything you did for the sport I love. We will miss Joe Pa.