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Posts Tagged ‘WE ARE PENN STATE’

Nike CEO Phil Knight at Coach Paterno’s Funeral – Don’t Miss It

In Joe Paterno on January 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm

For those of you that did not see Nike CEO Phil Knights speech at Coach Paterno’s funeral today you must see this. I know who Phil Knight is and what he does and that he has a bunch of money that supports the University of Oregon athletic program. What I didn’t know was that Phil Knight had the same hero that a lot of us have had. This is great, Enjoy!!

WE ARE PENN STATE!!!!

 

 

LaVar Steps Up for JoePa!!

In Joe Paterno on January 24, 2012 at 10:10 am

Following is an interview done with LaVar Arrington yesterday that I wanted to share. Thanks to my friend Don for sharing it with me. I don’t know where it came from so can’t provide a credit. This says it all about Joe Paterno and the lessons taught to so many, even an emotional person like LaVar Arrington. Great job Joe and great job LaVar.

People have been asking about my feelings on this weekend’s passing of Joe Paterno. My phone has not stopped ringing with requests for interviews about Joe.  I know this will be a very long week for me. In a blog entry I posted after his last interview, I pretty much said my piece about my relationship with him and my thoughts on how he handled the scandal. I really thought I would wake up angry and upset today, ready to fight against what I feel took Coach down that final road of no return, but I didn’t. Instead of gearing up to lash out and let my emotions get the best of me for the second time, I actually woke up feeling a great deal of peace. I began recounting so many times I heard that loud distinctive voice directing and teaching. I started envisioning all the funny little moments, like when I use to smack Joe on the behind at team meetings and say, “Good day to be a Nittany Lion coach!”

 I remember the pregame speeches. Boy could he deliver a pregame speech. There are so many moments yesterday evening and this morning that I’m recounting about my time at school with him. I remember one time he sent for me to come to his office. At the time that was a scary invite, and I was right; my grades had started to slip after I became a “superstar” and he got into me pretty good about it.

The reason why I feel peace about Joe’s passing, is because all that Joe was is what I represent today and will pass on to my children. People may try and tear down his legacy. They will attempt to turn Joe into something he was not because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. I waged war on the Penn State board of trustees because in my opinion they allowed this to happen. 

My focus was misguided. I should’ve approached the coaching search the way Joe would have — with grace and thoughtfulness. I made a terrible mistake when I said I was done with Penn State. I let frustration and anger guide my actions. But today my focus is not about attacking those who wish to say or do things to try and tarnish his legacy or ours. It’s not even about defending him in the media every day. Joe’s work speaks for itself. Through it all, he maintained the man that he was and even when he had one last chance to open fire on those who sacrificed him, he didn’t. I realize it’s our actions, in how we live our lives and impact others, that will forever tell the true story of Joseph Vincent Paterno.

Today I’m rededicating myself to strive to work harder, to be better — a better husband, a better dad, a better son, a better role model. Today I will carry the lessons taught to me by the great people who have graced my life and work to be better.

 The biggest tribute I can give to Coach Paterno is taking all that I’ve learned from him and apply it in my life. I, too, someday will cease to exist on this earth physically, but to know that my good works impacted someone so much that they would speak of me the way I speak of my former coach today, that’s the best way for me to honor the man who for three years taught me in his own way what it took to be a man.

 Thank you so much for being a great example, Joe. I will keep your memory alive as I too am not a perfect man, but yet and still a man. That means I can admit when I’ve made a mistake. I will protect and provide for my family, I will never yield standing on my spiritual, moral values and principles. Most important, I will always keep God first in the things that I do in my life.

 I didn’t see Joe much after I left school, so selfishly a small part of me will continue on as if he is still around just enjoying retirement. I hope in some way, maybe he is.

 Take care, Joe.

Sincerely,

LaVar Arrington, Class of ’99. We are Penn State.

My JoePa Story – WE ARE PENN STATE!!!

In Joe Paterno on January 22, 2012 at 11:47 am

 I’m very saddened by the turn of events in Coach Joe Paterno’s health. This is such a sad day for all Penn State fans and followers. At the time I was living and coaching high school football in Florida. I had the opportunity to meet coach for the first time in 1994 when I took my first player to the Penn State football camp through Tom Bradley, who has become a friend over all these years. A few years later I had the opportunity to take my son, Billy Furman, and his friend Greg Adkins into the football building and have a picture taken with Coach that I later got signed and have cherished. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was going to take the picture of Billy, Greg and Coach when Joe said to me, “Coach, do you want to get in the picture?” Of course I did, so he had a staff member take the picture so that I could be in it too. What a great moment! (I have the photo posted on my Facebook page, Philly Pressbox). I had the opportunity to meet Coach several other times over the years but the most exciting time was actually over the phone. It was 2001 and Penn State was again recruiting one of our players, Wayne Dickens, who ended up going to Auburn. Wayne was being recruited by Bob White and Larry Johnson and Bob had called me at my office to check on Wayne’s recruiting status. At that time Bob said, hang on a second Coach wants to talk to you. I proceeded to talk to Coach Paterno for 15 minutes. During that time we talked about everything except for football for the first 13 minutes. He wanted to know how my family was doing, how it was in Florida and of course how the weather was. We spent the last 2 minutes talking about Wayne and his recruitment to Penn State. It was a great time to be talking to someone who you think you’ll never have an opportunity to actually feel like you’re spending time with other than a handshake. I only met Coach once after that but those memories will never be forgotten.

The two other things I will remember most about the impact Coach Paterno had on me was the people who I met that were directly impacted by Coach. The first year I went to the camp I took one of our players, Keydrick Vincent, to the camp. Keydrick was 6’5” and 340 lbs at the time so obviously you could see him. He ended up going to Ole Miss and playing in the NFL for 10 seasons. When we were on the small plane between State College and Pittsburgh on the way back Matt Suhey was on that plane. When we got to Pittsburgh Matt waiting for us to get off the plane and spoke to us for 10 minutes. He spoke about his PSU experience and about his experience with the Bears and playing in the same backfield with Walter Payton. When Matt walked away I remember Keydrick saying, “Oh my God that was Matt Suhey of the Bears and he’s the coolest guy I ever met”. Talk about impact on an 18-year-old. I know Keydrick never forgot it through his years in the NFL. I also have had a chance to meet John Cappelletti on various occasions. Cappy is always talking about the values he learned from Coach and PSU. I’ve become friends with Adam Taliaferro over the last few years. Most people know Adam’s story but don’t know the person. Adam credits Coach Paterno, his parents and Penn State University for his success as an attorney and involvement in many charitable groups. Adam wants to and is going to make a difference in people’s lives. The list goes on and on but I think the way the PSU football staff handled themselves says all that needs to be said. Anything less than be a first class professional when dealing with high school coaches and players was unacceptable. Coat and tie when visiting high schools was mandatory but the actions and the impression about what to expect academically and in college life was put ahead of what to expect on the football field. The final impact that I feel is the actions of the PSU fans either at home or on the road. There is nothing like a road trip to Beaver Stadium for a football game with all out tailgating. It’s an event like no other. If you’ve never been part of it you have no idea what you’re missing. Visitors can come to Happy Valley, walk College Avenue and go to any local establishment and know they’re going to have a good time and not have to worry about the actions of fans. When the massive Penn State road show heads out everyone knows they’ll be first class fans. It is all a part of the foundation that was laid by Coach Paterno as he built the football program and the university over 45 years as head football coach.

Coach proved that the Grand Experiment can work. Quality athletes can be great people as well as great athletes. Many have become very successful in their personal lives outside of football because they were good students who were held to academic standards like every other student. Coach Paterno led the charge that made 10’s of thousands proud to say “WE ARE PENN STATE”.

Last on this list but surely the reason he was able to build the program he has is his 409 career wins, more than any other major college football coach. Coach really didn’t care about all of records. As far as he was concerned it was important to him how it affected his players and his coaches and fans. Being able to brag that you were a Nittany Lions fan was a special place to be. Whether you were in Gator Country, Seminole Country, Alabama, Tennessee or anywhere else in the country a PSU conversation always led to every fans respect for Joe Paterno as a great coach and a great person who coached college football the right way.

Coach, you will be missed by all of Penn State fans and all fans around the country.

FOR THE GLORY!!

WE ARE…….PENN STATE!!!!

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