Originally posted on NBC Chicago  |  Last updated 11/10/11

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)
What's happening at Penn State right now is what happens when you decide to make a football coach more than a football coach. Read virtually any profile of Joe Paterno this week, you get the sense that Paterno was some kind of benevolent, eight-armed sentry God sent to watch over a wide swath of Central Pennsylvania. Language like this isn't uncommon: Being accepted to Penn State felt like a family, and Joe Paterno was the father. From John Wooden to Bob Knight to Coach K to Paterno, we have built up an irrational image of who college coaches are and what they're capable of doing. They don't just teach you how to block or tackle. No, no. They teach you how to be a MAN. They build entire communities with one forceful blow of a whistle. They shape. They mold. They cobble together future leaders using only clay and bits of leaves. All of this is a myth, of course: a grand illusion that sports writers eat up and that the NCAA -- which for so long has looked down upon its athlete...
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