Originally posted on Nittany Lions Den  |  Last updated 7/2/12

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions stands on the field during warm-ups before a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 7, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
It had to happen. Everyone knew it. One day, someday, Joe Paterno would be finished at Penn State. Problem was, even though everyone KNEW it would happen, it was hard to believe it. The man had simply lasted year after year (since 1950 as an assistant and since 1966 as a head coach) and outlasted head coach after head coach (almost 900 changes in major college football during his tenure). They wondered about his retirement in the eighties. They anticipated it in the nineties. They marveled about it in the new millennium. But it never came. Even in what wound up being his final season (2011), no one knew if Joe would finagle one more contract extension for himself, despite his nature-defying age of 84. Unfortunately, Joe couldn’t go out on his own terms. The Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal tainted everyone remotely involved with the long-retired defensive coordinator. And Joe—the most recognizable face in the Penn State universe—took the brunt of the public backlash. While the Nittany
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