Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/9/11

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions leaves the field following the 2010 Capital One Bowl against the LSU Tigers at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on January 1, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. Penn State won 19-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)


The career of Joe Paterno, the all-time winningest coach in college football history, at Penn State is over after being fired by the school's board of trustees Wednesday night.

To call Paterno's 61 years at Penn State a "career" undersells his hold over not only his football team, but the university as well. He was more king than coach in Happy Valley.

He had survived questions before about his fitness to run a behemoth like Penn State football well into his 80s. He never appeared to have a problem circling the wagons when critics came after him to argue that his continued presence as head of the Nittany Lions was damaging the program. Likewise, he didn't hesitate to go to bat for his players and friends when called upon.

Yet, this time, amid questions as to whether he had enabled an alleged predator in committing unspeakable atrocities against children, Paterno's only allies proved to be an assembly of students gathered on his lawn. They cheered him on like loyal subjects, blind to the trouble that their ruler had invited upon not only himself, but them as well.

It may sound like Julius Caesar, but, ultimately, there was no Shakespearean ending for a figure who only a week ago seemed destined to go down in history as an icon.

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