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Joe Paterno and the Lost & Found Story

November 10, 2011
Posted at 5:35 pm
Updated: November 16, 2011 - 5:29 pm

I have had quite a few readers write to ask how I will incorporate the events of the last few days at Penn State into the story. My initial reaction was to say it won't be incorporated at all. I am about 75% done with the final two chapters of the story. They should be ready to post next weekend.

After further thought, I decided I should address this situation. Here is a snippet from the epilogue to Lost and Found that I expect post in a few weeks. I will let Kyle do the talking for me.

March, 2026
It was early March and I had finished my first year in __<city>____ as John's wide receiver coach when we heard the news of Coach Paterno's death at age 99. The legend's death was remarked upon but little noticed outside the extended Penn State football family, which certainly included the __<team>___s' staff. Half of us had coached or played at Penn State. I imagined the thousands that would have turned out for the funeral, if not for the old coach's misjudgement half a dozen years before I arrived on campus.

The college football world was shocked eleven years ago when Coach Paterno's long time assistant coach Sam Jankowski was arrested, tried and convicted of molesting young boys back in the Nineties and early Two Thousands. I had met Jankowski a couple times at Penn State but never really knew him. He retired a decade before I started at Penn State. Coach Paterno heard about one of the incidents in 2002 and did not call the police when he got a report of the sick bastard sodomizing a boy in our locker room. What was Coach Paterno thinking? As a dad with three boys, I'll never understand why he didn't call the police immediately. Grandpa Martin tried to explain that was how things were done in the "day." Certain things just were not spoken of - ever. He supposed that is the reason for Coach's inaction. I don't know.

I bought into Coach Paterno's whole "doing college football right" attitude. I really was a student athlete and I was proud how Coach Paterno and Coach Burton insisted we take our academics seriously. Does this one lapse in judgement invalidate everything Coach Paterno preached? I think not. Even so, it will take more than the intervening years to allow people to judge his contributions soberly. Penny and I sent flowers to the funeral but did not attend.

Back to Doug again...

Of course I am playing a little loose with the real names and dates, as I have done throughout Drive for Excellence and Lost and Found.

I fully support the Penn State Board of Trustee's quick action when this abuse finally reached their attention. It is going to take a thorough house cleaning at the team and the university to begin to live down these sad events.

I heard a group of students are calling for a "blue out" for Saturday's game against Nebraska. Not Penn State blue but the blue of the child abuse ribbons. I know I will be at home watching the game with a blue ribbon on my lapel.

Thanks for reading my rant. Please offer a prayer for the young men at the heart of this scandal - the young men abused by that sick bastard.

Doug Fox