Has any college coach in history done more for his institution than Joe Paterno has done for Penn State these last five decades?
The school became famous during his tenure, he made "Nittany Lions" synonymous with success, he ran a clean program and he donated millions of dollars to the academic side of the university.
And yet ...
Under his watch, a heinous act took place repeatedly: an assistant coach's predatory sexual behavior. Because Paterno passed the buck instead of directly addressing the problem, numerous youngsters were scarred for life.
So when the truth finally came to light, JoePa had to go.
I applaud the Penn State trustees who summoned the courage to fire Paterno, denying the 84-year-old legend the kind of feel-good farewell tour that would have taken place over the next two months had he been allowed to resign at season's end.
As for the Penn State students rioting in the streets in protest of the trustees' decision, I wonder how they would feel if their little brothers or nephews or cousins were among the molestation victims. Grow up, kids, and learn an important life lesson: Everyone -- no matter how tall one's stature in the community -- must be held accountable for one's actions (or in JoePa's case, inactions).
Though we shouldn't dismiss the wonderful things Paterno did for Penn State and for college football, the sad truth is this:
He lost his chance to go out on his terms when he knowingly failed to protect defenseless children from harm.