When my brother died in Vietnam in 1967, my father reached out to Joe Paterno in his grief. He wrote to Joe and asked what Joe would do if he lost a player from injury. Mr. Paterno wrote back and expressed his sympathy and how he would handle the situation. That letter from Joe meant the world to my father. I was a freshman at Penn State at the time and was both touched and surprised that a coach so busy would answer my father. The letter was framed and put on the wall next to the flag from my brother’s funeral.
Joe will always remain a great man in my heart. He was a great coach and will always be a great humanitarian. We will never know if Joe did the right thing when confronted with the allegation of child abuse. I do know that Penn State Football will survive because a great man built a solid program for young athletics.
I hope Joe Paterno goes down in the history of college football as one the great coaches. I know I am just one of the many that he touched.
Gary Ottey, Ellicott CityCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun