PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Messages of support and condolences began pouring in shortly after the passing of Joe Paterno on Sunday.
The Penn State community is grieving the loss of their former head football coach and the university has released a statement on its website:
We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always.
The University plans to honor him for his many contributions and to remember his remarkable life and legacy. We are all deeply saddened. We are considering appropriate ways to honor the great life and legacy of Joe Paterno. The University's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is consulting with members of the Penn State community on the nature and timing of the gathering.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also expressed his condolences after learning of Paterno's death.
Susan and I were saddened to learn of Joe Paterno's passing. His legacy as the winningest coach in major college football and his generosity to Penn State as an institution and to his players, stand as monuments to his life. As both man and coach, Joe Paterno confronted adversities, both past and present, with grace and forbearance.
"His place in our state's history is secure.
Tom Bradley was the man who took over the Nittany Lions' head coaching duties after Paterno was fired amid a child sex abuse scandal.
His statement regarding his colleague and former coach reads:
Words seem to pale in a moment such as this. The terms "icon" and "legend" have been often used to describe Joe Paterno. Certainly, he was both within the world of college athletics. But to those of us who played for him, to those of us who coached with him and to those of us who had the privilege to call him a friend, Joe Paterno was much more.
To me, he was my mentor for 37 years and the lessons that I learned from him as a player, coach and friend will live on with me forever. It was Coach Paterno who saw what I could be and helped me to realize that potential. He was a tremendous teacher not because he knew all of the answers but because he challenged us to find the answers for ourselves. He made us better men than we believed we could be – both on and off the field. And when we lost our way or became unsure of ourselves, it was Coach Paterno who was there to encourage us, guide us and remind us that we must always strive to succeed with honor.
Coach Paterno never believed that his role as "Coach" ended after practice, or when the fourth quarter wound down or when a student-athlete graduated. He was a coach for life. I am deeply grateful to have had Coach Paterno in my life. He was the epitome of class and his spirit will live on in all of us who had the great honor of knowing him and running out of the tunnel with him on so many autumn Saturdays.
My thoughts and prayers are with Coach Paterno's devoted wife, Sue, his son Jay, with whom I coached so many years, and with the entire Paterno family during this sad and difficult time.
Earlier this month, Penn State announced that New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien would be the next head coach of their football program.
O'Brien issued the following statement regarding the passing of Paterno on the Patriots' website:
It is with great sadness that I am compelled to deliver this message of condolence and tribute to a great man, husband, father and someone who is more than just a coach, Joe Paterno. First, on behalf of Penn State Football, we offer our sincerest condolences to the Paterno family for their loss. We also offer our condolences to the Penn State community and, in particular, to those who wore the Penn State colors, our Nittany Lion football players and alumni. Today they lost a great man, coach, mentor and, in many cases, a father figure, and we extend our deepest sympathies.
The Penn State Football program is one of college football's iconic programs because it was led by an icon in the coaching profession in Joe Paterno. There are no words to express my respect for him as a man and as a coach. To be following in his footsteps at Penn State is an honor. Our families, our football program, our university and all of college football have suffered a great loss, and we will be eternally grateful for Coach Paterno's immeasurable contributions.
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