Longtime Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, 85, lost his battle with lung cancer. His death was announced by his family early Sunday morning.
“His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled…He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.” -ABC News
The former coach known as “Joe Pa” was such an influential figure in the sport of football. High schoolers wanted to play for him, and many of his college players went on to play and/or coach in the NFL. His teachings transcended all levels.
Joe Pa set the record for most wins in division I history (409) and the most bowl appearances by a coach (37). He won 2 national championships in his 46 years with the university.
All of the career highlights were put on the back burner last fall, however, when the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal came to light. Paterno was dismissed from Penn State by the school’s board of trustees.
It was shortly after that Paterno’s health really started to deteriorate. The official cause of death was metastic small cell carcinoma.
I was curious as to how many Broncos played under the legendary coach. The list of players drafted and/or who suited up for the Broncos is relatively short considering how long Paterno coached at Penn State.
LB Phil Yeboah Kodie (drafted by the Broncos in ’95. Never played a down for them)
QB John Hufnagel (drafted by the Broncos in ’73. Played 3 seasons before moving on to the CFL)
P Ralph Giacomarro (drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. Played for the Broncos in 1987)
DT Ron Coder (Spent most of his time with the Seahawks in the late 70s.)
DE Courtney Brown (Played for the Broncos in ’05-’06)
Nevertheless, a legend was lost, but his legacy lives on.