Joe Paterno and the Future of Penn State Football

Paul SalmanSenior Analyst IMay 26, 2008

As a die hard Penn State fan, it's hard to see the football team without Joe Paterno, in his rolled up khakis and black Nikes patrolling the sideline.

I have been a Joe Paterno supporter through my tenure as a Penn State fan.

With that being said, I also think, and have written, that he needs to give us a succession plan. He needs to tell us and the university what his plan for this program's future is.

Is this his last year? Does he have a successor? Does he want to have a different role besides head coach?

The university is allowing Joe to do things on his terms.

Given that the university is not forcing him out and is giving him the opportunity to coach on a year to year basis, rather then a long term contract, the least he can do for the program that he built is fill us all in on what he plans to do moving forward.

Like Peter King states in his May 26, 2008 edition of Monday Morning Quarterback, Joe is being selfish and needs to think about the future of his program.

He cannot just hang on the fact that he feels he has a great team for 2008 and say that he wants to be a part of that.

Joe always says that his father once told him to make sure that whatever he does in his life, he leaves a lasting impression and makes his mark on whatever it is he is doing.

Well Joe has definitely left his mark and lasting impression on Penn State football. Let's hope he doesn't tarnish his impression with his actions in the last couple years of his long illustrious tenure as the Penn State Football Coach.

Read below for the part of Peter King MMQB about Joe Paterno:

"I think I appreciate everything Joe Paterno has done for football, and he has certainly been a generous ambassador for Penn State. But can't one of his friends tell him he's being selfish in not stepping aside to allow a younger man to coach the team? At the very least, Paterno should announce that this will be his last yearor confide this to the university president. Every coach should always do what's in the best interests of his team.

It's not in the best interests of his team for an 81-year-old man showing increasing signs of frailty to be running a world-class college football team. Penn State's not the Vatican, and Paterno's not the pope. He shouldn't be keeping this job just because HE wants to.

I'm prompted by Paterno's words in Pittsburgh the other night at a dinner honoring him. 'I've got a good football team, and I'm anxious to see what we can do with it,' he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 'I'd hate to walk away from it right now because I think they can be pretty darn good and I want to be a part of it.'

That's just it. I want to be a part of it. Of course he does. But what he should be thinking is: The team would be better off without me, and with a younger, more energetic person who can recruit, coach, and lead the way I used to. There's no shame in admitting that at 81 you're not as good as you were at 51. The shame is not being able to walk away, and making it about you.

Now, all those who are outraged by criticism of Paterno should ask yourselves these questions: Is it about Paterno wanting to coach, even if it might not be best for the team, or is it about the team? And would Penn State be a better football program right now with Paterno as coach or, say, Greg Schiano?"