If a person were to recall memories from a distant past, he/she would recall that many voices were screaming out for the resignation of Joe Paterno. To be more specific, August of 2005 people were calling for a new coaching staff at Penn State. That head-hunting tone seems to have disappeared for the time being in Happy Valley, but how long before that plague resurrects? As long as Joe Pa continues to win, Penn State supporters will continue to love him.
Penn State performed a massive turnaround in 2005. The team finished 11-1 (7-1 conference record) to lead the Big Ten into the Orange Bowl where Mr. Paterno defeated his nemesis, Bobby Bowden of Florida State. This exhibition happened just after Penn State had finished 4-7 and obviously not gone to a bowl game for 2004. All throughout the 2004 season, people said Joe Paterno’s coaching days were over, that he was washed-up, that he needed to retire. The tone got louder after every Penn State loss. The media, prior to the 2005 season, constantly debated whether Joe Paterno would be forced to step down, or if he would be allowed to retire on his own free will. It is as if the mass wanted ole Joe gone.
Once the 2005 season began, the people simply made excuses for Paterno’s wins. Naturally, a washed-up coach can’t turn a team around. The media had to continue to doubt Mr. Paterno as they wrote him off long ago. As the team continued to win, the tide began to change and people were supporting, rather than opposing Joe Paterno. It’s funny how winning can change a situation.
The fact of the matter is that as long as the team wins, everyone is happy. Joe Paterno has won more football games at Penn State, and is second only to Bobby Bowden in NCAA history. Still, Paterno has coached for more years than some coaches have for an age. Mr. Paterno is way past the age of retirement, and if anything goes wrong for the team, people will think about the age factor. Joe Paterno can go into the 2006 season with a strong support group, but if the team has a performance like 2004, watch how quickly the press will start mentioning retirement.