VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS
William Johnson's article on Joe Paterno (Not Such an Ordinary Joe
, Nov. 19) was excellent and portrayed the high moral principles of the man. The respect that the students and faculty of Penn State have for Paterno was well demonstrated at last June's graduation exercises when some 18,000 students, parents and guests sat in a drenching rain at Beaver Stadium to listen to his commencement address. Coaches like Joe and Alabama's Bear Bryant keep college football in a favorable light in spite of the "many recruiting violations and dirty tricks...going on in college football now."
GEORGE J. SUSKO
Although I have always been anything but a Penn State fan, I have become quite a Joe Paterno fan as a result of William Johnson's fine article. I had already been somewhat impressed by what I had read of Paterno's commencement address last spring. However, his coaching philosophies coupled with his honesty and candor have won me over.
I think that the NCAA and everyone concerned with the future course of college athletics would be very wise to closely consider what Paterno has to say about recruiting violations. This is a problem that seriously threatens the basic concept of college athletics, and it must not continue to go unchecked.
JOE WADE DORNER
Joe Paterno need not apologize for being a football coach with political ambitions. Not only is he a tremendous individual, he happens to be more candid and in better focus than just about any politician I can remember in the 34 years I have been voting in Pennsylvania.
ERNEST F. MARSHALL
West Chester, Pa.
My congratulations for bringing to public attention the values of a man who is certainly a credit to the world of sports—Joe Paterno. Too many words are wasted on the flashy athlete who has little behind his talent besides a big ego.
But your article left me with one regret. There should be two Joe Paternos: one for the playing field and one for the field of politics. In this era of shady dealings, I can't decide where he is needed most.
Many thanks for your article about Joe Paterno. We who live around Penn State like him, too. Perhaps, though, we could straighten out Mr. Johnson (and many others) about where Coach Paterno and the rest of us are. University Park, Pa. is the campus, with its own post office. State College, Pa. is not "former," it is present and very much alive. University Park may be a "sophisticated oasis of 27,000 students," but many of those 27,000 are eligible to vote in State College. They may patronize one of our seven movie theaters, attend one of more than 25 churches, cat at one of 50 or so restaurants and mingle with the more than 83,000 nonstudent inhabitants of "barely inhabited" Centre County. Incidentally, for Mr. Johnson's "desolation," could we perhaps substitute "verdant wilderness"? And as for inaccessibility, well, he is right. Several of our fellow citizens regularly fight the state's department of transportation to keep it that way.
State College, Pa.
My choice for Sportsman of the Year? Coach Joe Paterno, of course.
I do not see how it could be anyone other than Henry Aaron of the Atlanta Braves. Playing under more pressure than anyone else in baseball this year, he has kept his cool as well as anyone could. By answering the same questions day in and day out and by surviving all the hate mail, he has shown what a true sportsman he is. His athletic ability is undoubted. Forty home runs at the age of 39 is a feat in itself. Aaron did not swing for the fence on every pitch, however. He showed his team effort with 96 RBIs and a .301 batting average.
I believe you give your Sportsman of the Year award for qualities of humility, courage, sportsmanship and skill. There is a man at the top of his profession in skill, possibly the greatest ever. He has shown compassion and humility too many times to count. His courage and intelligence need no documentation. So this year your Sportsman must be the Flying Scot, Jackie Stewart. Motor sport will suffer for his loss. The world will gain for his life, intelligence and wit.
San Jose, Calif.