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by Joe Posnanski

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From America’s premier sportswriter, the definitive, #1 New York Times bestselling biography of Joe Paterno.

Joe Posnanski’s biography of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno follows in the tradition of works by Richard Ben Cramer on Joe DiMaggio and David Maraniss on Vince Lombardi. Having gained unprecedented access to Paterno, as well as the coach’s personal notes and files, Posnanski spent the last two years of Paterno’s life covering the coach, on (and off) the field and through the scandal that ended Paterno’s legendary career.

Joe Posnanski, who in 2012 was named the Best Sportswriter in America by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, was with Paterno and his family as a horrific national scandal unfolded and Paterno was fired. Within three months, Paterno died of lung cancer, a tragic end to a life that was epic, influential, and operatic.

Paterno is the fullest description we will ever have of the man’s character and career. In this honest and surprising portrait, Joe Posnanski brings new insight and understanding to one of the most controversial figures in America.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451657517
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 08/21/2012
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 323,224
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Joe Posnanski is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of six books, including Paterno and The Secret of Golf. He has written for The AthleticSports IllustratedNBC Sports and The Kansas City Star and currently writes at He has been named National Sportswriter of the Year by five different organizations and is the winner of two Emmy Awards. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his family.

Read an Excerpt

Paterno { Aria }
Joe Paterno

speech to high school coaches

February 5, 1993, Hershey, Pennsylvania

What is a coach? We are teachers. Educators. We have the same obligations as all teachers, except we probably have more influence over young people than anybody but their families. And, in a lot of cases, more than their families.

To teach an academic subject is certainly not easy, but compared to coaching, it is. We can say two plus two is four to every kid and be sure that we are right. But in coaching, we have to literally get to the soul of the people we are dealing with.

We have to work with emotion, commitment, discipline, loyalty, pride.

The things that make the difference in a person’s life.

They look to us for examples. A boy wants to be a man. But he doesn’t know what a man is. They look to us for poise. Everybody doesn’t get a fair shake in life. They look to us for values. You must relate athletic experiences to life. You are role models.

They look to us for consistency. We have to realize a kid will love us one day and hate us the next. That cannot change who we are and what we are about. We are there to help them reach for excellence . . . and not just win games.

We have to be understanding but tough. Firm. Real firmness is always helpful. Bill Clinton said, “I feel for you.” Vince Lombardi said, “The pain is in your head.”

Tom Boswell of the Washington Post wrote about the difference beween excellence and success. He wrote:

“Many people, particularly in sports, believe that success and excellence are the same. They are not. No distinction in the realm of games is more important. Success is tricky, perishable, and often outside our control. On the other hand, excellence is dependable, lasting, and largely within our control. Let me emphasize at once that nobody is all one way or another. The desire for success and love of excellence coexist in all of us. The question is: Where does the balance lie? In a pinch, what guides us?”

I think we all have to ask ourselves that question. In a pinch, what guides us—success or excellence? Which will give us shelter when the storm clouds gather?

Table of Contents

Aria 1

Overture 3

Act I Before

Prelude 19

Brooklyn 21

Intermezzo 37

Engle 43

Requiem 55

Sue 59

Act II Excellence

Aria 77

The Other Thing 81

Intermezzo 95

The Grand Experiment 99

Nixon 115

Race 125

Intermezzo 129

Sainthood 135

Act III Success

Aria 157

Bear 161

Memento Mori 169

Intermezzo 181

Mountaintop 187

Two Callings 203

Evil and Good 209

Rhythms 225

Jay 231

Act IV What Comes After

Aria 237

The Filthiest Word 241

Sandusky 247

Adam 263

Winter 283

To Be, or Not to Be 291

Winning 305

The Final Act

Aria 319

Fall 323

Finale 345

Encore 351

Afterword 375

A Note on Sources 381

Selected Bibliography 383

Acknowledgments 385

Index 387

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