Joe Paterno Quotes

Joseph Vincent “Joe” Paterno, 1926 – 2012

Born: 21 December 1926, Brooklyn, New York
Died: 22 January 2011, Mount Nittany Medical Center, State College, Pennsylvania

Paterno went to local schools, playing football at Brooklyn Preparatory School where he caught the eye of comic book publisher Busy Arnold, an alumnus of Brown University. Arnold paid Paterno’s tuition at Brown where he played both quarterback and corner back and distinguished himself on defense. Intending to go on to law school, his college football success led coach Rip Engle to ask Paterno to become his assistant when Engle became head coach at Penn State in 1950. Fifteen years later, Paterno took over and started the winningest career in college football. (409-136-3) He met Susan Pohland in the library, they married in 1962 when she graduated. Under Paterno the Penn State football program consistently had one of the best records for academic achievement by players. Early in his career he turned down an offer from the New England Patriots, the only job he ever held was coach at Penn State. He and Sue gave several million dollars to the school and led fund raising efforts, the library where they met has been augmented by a new one with Paterno’s name on it. In November of last year, former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested for sexual abuse of children, including at least one case of sodomy in the team’s showers. Paterno notified campus officials but did not follow through when the those officials apparently did nothing, but when the story broke nationally he was fired. The same month it was announced that Paterno had lung cancer. Regret over the abuse scandal hurt Paterno badly. Complications related to the cancer required hospitalization on 13 January 2012, death followed nine days later.

Joe Paterno quotes:

A hard-fought, well-fought, hairline-close game is as classical in sports as tragedy in theater. A tragedy usually ends with the stage strewn with bodies from both sides of a struggle, and you can’t tell who won and who lost. Victory is contained within defeat, and defeat is contained within victory. That’s the way it is in the best of games. What counts in sports is not the victory but the magnificence of the struggle.
    Joe Paterno – The New York Times (1989)

Act like you expect to get into the end zone.
    Joe Paterno

Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things.
    Joe Paterno

Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart, and mind, confidence is the key to all the locks.
    Joe Paterno

I didn’t know exactly how to handle [the report of Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse] and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was. So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.
    Joe Paterno – The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)

I got three boys and two girls. It’s sickening.
    Joe Paterno – The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)

I had a great bunch of kids. They all hung with us. The coaching staff hung with us. And we played tough every game. If you’ve got kids that want to play and react to you, it’s fun. I’m having a good time.
    Joe Paterno

I stayed on the track I wanted to stay on. I don’t think I deviated from what I’m all about and what I thought was important. Whether you want to call that a legacy, or whatever you want to call it.
    Joe Paterno – The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)

I still haven’t gotten that little something out of my system that I’m still not a kid going to a football game. I’m excited.
    Joe Paterno

I wanted to build up, not break down.
    Joe Paterno – The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)

I’m not 31 years old trying to prove something to anybody. I know where I am.
    Joe Paterno – The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)

It’s the name on the front of the jersey that matters most, not the one on the back.
    Joe Paterno

Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.
    Joe Paterno

My father said about money: ‘You have to have some. But you don’t have to have all of it. Just be honest with yourself.’
    Joe Paterno – The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)

My thing was play as hard as you can, don’t be stupid, pay attention to details, and have enough guts in the clutch that you’re not afraid to make a play.
    Joe Paterno – The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)

Publicity is like poison; it doesn’t hurt unless you swallow it.

Joe Paterno
Right now I’m trying to figure out what I’m gonna do, ’cause I don’t want to sit around on my backside all day. If I’m gonna do that I’ll be a newspaper reporter.

Joe Paterno

The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)
Some things I thought were important for a young man to know.

Joe Paterno

The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)
Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.

Joe Paterno
The bigger the problem the guy was, the more I enjoyed it when we had success.

Joe Paterno

The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)
The minute you think you’ve got it made, disaster is just around the corner.

Joe Paterno
The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.

Joe Paterno
There are many people, particularly in sports, who think that success and excellence are the same thing. They are not the same thing. Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person’s control. In contrast, success is perishable and is often outside our control.

Joe Paterno
This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.

Joe Paterno

(November 2011)
We’re trying to win football games, don’t misunderstand that. But I don’t want it to ruin our lives if we lose. I don’t want us ever to become the kind of place where an 8-2 season is a tragedy.

Joe Paterno
When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellency becomes a reality.

Joe Paterno
You guys can pick on me all you want, but I don’t pay any attention to you, because I don’t have to. I don’t give darn what you guys think, to be honest with you.

Joe Paterno
You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others. That’s the mark of a true professional.

Joe Paterno
You know, [Mike McQueary] didn’t want to get specific. And to be frank with you I don’t know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man. So I just did what I thought was best. I talked to people that I thought would be, if there was a problem, that would be following up on it.

Joe Paterno

The Washington Post interview with Sally Jenkins (14 January 2012)
You need to play with supreme confidence, or else you’ll lose again, and then losing becomes a habit.

Joe Paterno

You went to bed with a millionaire but you woke up with me. I’m not going.

Joe Paterno

to his wife after deciding not to become New England Patriots head coach

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