Anybody who has listened to Joe Paterno talk about retirement knows that he dreads the thought. That he really doesn't know what he would do if he wasn't coaching football. He has said numerous times that he doesn't play golf, nor does he have any other hobbies.
Joe Paterno knows that he can stay busy. Penn State could use him in fundraising, for example. He could easily join Lou Holtz or Bobby Bowden as a color commentator on TV. He could serve as a public motivational speaker. He could give his voice to various charitable causes.
But that misses the point. Those are not roles he wishes to perform on a full-time basis.
Joe is first and foremost an educator of young people, and a coach. Joe doesn't want to quit because he loves his job. It still excites him and challenges him. And he evidently believes he is healthy enough to continue to do the job well.
This year in particular, when he has so many young players who can develop into something special in a league that will be adding Nebraska and a Big Ten championship, why wouldn't he want to stay and guide the team through those challenges if he feels able to do so?
Take a look at these two photos I took last Saturday during the Indiana game.
What I saw on the sidelines was a coach who was very engaged in coaching his players during the game.
As our friend Larry said at Joe's 400th win against Northwestern, "We have no idea what we will miss until he's gone".
But for now, Joe's plan is to stay with us. Let's savor every moment we can.
Go Lions! Beat the Spartans!