Thursday, November 10, 2011

When does a great coach stop being great?

I love football.  Most of my friends know this.  I'm not a huge college football fan because I have issues with how the bowl system is determined at the end of the season.  Please don't get me started on this.  It's a ramble that I can't stop and one in which once I get started, it becomes a never ending jumble of complicated thoughts and redundant sentences (sort of like this one); however, I do appreciate good college players and especially good coaches.  I'm guessing some of you know where I'm heading with this; Coach Joe Paterno, Penn State. 

Yesterday, he was fired from his position as head football coach of over 40 years due to the sex abuse scandal which erupted on campus surrounding his former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.

This is an ugly, ugly issue.  I've read the reports on Sandusky's alleged crimes.  If true and convicted in a court of law, this man deserves the maximum sentence.

I've attached the sex abuse timeline below.  Concerning Paterno's involvment, a grad student witnessed a crime being committed, who in turn reported it immediately to Coach Paterno, who in turn reported it immediately to his supervisors, who in turn did nothing with the information.  Should Paterno have gone directly to the board of directors or to the police once he realized no action was being taken?  In my opinion, yes.  What a slippery slope.

When do we rock the boat?  Joe Paterno was a great coach and believe it or not, when I began this blog less than ten minutes ago, I was going to defend him and say, he should never have been terminated.  He did his job.  He went right to his superiors; however, I've just realized that a great coach is more than someone who leads his team to victory, it's someone who molds the character of the team he leads.

By not going directly to the police, Paterno, in essence, showed young men everywhere that he would rather protect his institution and the game itself than to defend a group of helpless individuals.  Based on when the grad student came to him and when he realized that the university would not act upon the information, he could have saved at least one more victim from sexual abuse.

In March 2002, Mr. Paterno stood at a cross road.  He should have retired when he was at the top of his game, when he was a great coach

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