In addition to the children who were abused and their families, there are other victims. The players and others at Penn State who believed in Joe Paterno and what they thought he stood for have been harmed, too. Coach Paterno could have stood up 14 years ago and done the right thing, but he chose to protect the football program and the university, putting them before the children.
Doing the right thing would have caused a black eye for Penn State, but nothing in comparison to the damage that has been done in the last year or so. Why Coach Paterno didn't do more is anybody's guess, but it seems he was trying to protect himself and his program's legacy.
Fifteen years ago he was 70 years old and it makes you wonder if he stayed on way too long as head coach at Penn State. In my experience I think coaches who stay long past the normal retirement age are not necessarily doing the best thing for their universities.
Directing a major college football program is a strenuous, 365 days a year job. I know that it something I wouldn't have wanted to do past retirement age. I got out of it when I was 51 years old and have had a great life since then. I know that I didn't need to be running a college football program in my 60s and 70s.
Two of the most revered coaches in the profession, Paterno and Bobby Bowden, hung on at their schools and didn't have good finishes to their careers. Although Coach Bowden's end at Florida State wasn't tragic like what happened with Coach Paterno, he is bitter about his situation there and that is a shame considering all of the great things he did for Florida State.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor's Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.