Endings count. Even when they come at the end of an incredible 46 year career as head coach, people tend to remember the end. At least for a while, before the good memories triumphs over the bad ones. Joe Paterno, right now, has his name in such a storm, it’ll be a while before the good recognition come flowing.
Paterno wasn’t the only one who could have done more, but he himself didn’t, admitting to it himself, simply saying I wish I had done more. I read Stewart Mandel’s take on the matter, and it seems those who last the longest in College Programs, go out the in the ugliest of ways. Bobby Bowden stands out because he just stopped winning as much as he used to. He wasn’t forced into retirement because of a scandal.
The talk about leaving on your own terms doesn’t apply to the world of sports, not as a head coach, not even in College sports. It’s amateurish roots have all but disappeared. The only thing that’s amateurish is the fact that players don’t get paid while Universities create a fortune through their Football and basketball programs. Winning is the only option. A year of decline, in order to regroup and start building something new is acceptable, you can’t ask for more with players coming for a maximum of four years at best.
But it will always end on a sour note. So few have actually left a post they’ve held on to for seemingly forever without getting pushed out at the end. As time goes by, the positives from their tenures come back, and we forget why that guy got fired in the first place.
Joe Paterno, among many others, is going to have a lot of explaining to do. These alleged crimes could have been prevented, and that stain will stick with him for a long time, whatever it was that he could have done. In the end, after a few years, maybe less, he’ll be remembered as Mr. Penn State. For his national titles. For his 409 wins, or maybe more, depending on how much longer they’ll let him stay. For his 46 years.