The man who has defined football at Penn State for more than six decades has been removed from his position as head coach.
Amid scandal and shame, our players have lost much. The man who recruited, nurtured and mentored our players is gone, and while Joe Paterno may have been an influential and large part of the Penn State community, his connection with the players is greater than we can fathom.
This Saturday, marks the last home game of the season and the first under a new interim head coach, Tom Bradley — a man with very large, humble black shoes to fill.
It’s the start of a new era for our football team. But for some, Senior Day marks the end of their Penn State journey.
The players and all Penn Staters need to show the world that we stand strong and we stand together. We will not let the actions of a few define us all, and we will not let anything take away from the team’s success this season.
Our Lions have had a stellar 8-1 season and are ranked No. 12 in BCS standings. They are No.1 in the Big Ten Conference Leaders Division and are the only Big Ten team that is undefeated in Big Ten play, at 5-0. Their success should not be overshadowed by the 23-pages that have rocked our community.
We need to give the seniors the send-off they deserve, not one that is marred by anger and grief. Saturday needs to be about the players, about Penn State and not about the scandal that has engulfed our community.
Saturday gives our players the chance to break away from the media’s cameras and questions and do what they do best — play their game.
The players may be members of the Penn State football team, but they are also Penn State students — just like us.
When nothing feels normal, we need Saturday.
We are more than just the 106,572 who fill Beaver Stadium on Saturdays. We are more than just those who attended this university.
Fill Beaver Stadium before kick-off, cheer like you never have before, and sing our alma mater with fire in our hearts.
More than anything, support our team and those who have dedicated their time to make every game day great.
As our leaders fall, we cannot. We need to embody the spirit that pumps through Penn State’s veins. We will overcome the pain, disappointment and horror that has stricken us all.
We are still, and always will be, Penn State.