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Reactions to the death of Joe Paterno

Reactions to the death of longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno:

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"He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far-reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community." — Paterno family.

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"History will say that he's one of the greatest. Who's coached longer, who's coached better, who's won more games, who's been more successful than Joe? Who's done more for his university than Joe? You've lost one of the greatest. He probably means the same thing up there that Bear Bryant meant down here. He's an icon." — retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.

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"The Penn State football program is one of college football's iconic programs because it was led by an icon in the coaching profession in Joe Paterno. ... To be following in his footsteps at Penn State is an honor." Penn State coach Bill O'Brien.

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"You could have become a good football player at many places but you wouldn't have become the man you are if you didn't go to Penn State." — former Penn State running back Mike Guman.

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"My first thoughts about Joe are not as a coach because he was well beyond that. He was an educator and a teacher. He taught lessons, some about football, mostly about life. He taught us how to treat others and how to conduct life. He did it with his life." — former Penn State linebacker Matt Millen.

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"Whenever you recruited or played against Joe, you knew how he operated and that he always stood for the right things. Of course, his longevity over time and his impact on college football is remarkable. Anybody who knew Joe feels badly about the circumstances. I suspect the emotional turmoil of the last few weeks might have played into it." — Nebraska athletic director and former coach Tom Osborne.

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"We came to Penn State as young kids and when we left there we were men and the reason for that was Joe Paterno." — Lydell Mitchell, a star running back at Penn State from 1968 to 1972.

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"It's just sad because I think he died from other things than lung cancer. I don't think that the Penn State that he helped us to become and all the principles and values and things that he taught were carried out in the handling of his situation." — Mickey Shuler, a Penn State tight end from 1975 to 1977.

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"His influence on me personally was a lot more far-reaching than the playing field. ... Coach Paterno should be remembered and revered for his 61 years of service to the Penn State community, the many games and championships he won, and the positive influence he was." — Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny, who played at Penn State linebacker from 2003 to 2006.

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"I talked to him on his birthday (Dec. 21). He was a great man and a great friend. He lived by the rules. He made sure his players got good grades. He was about more than just football." — George Perles, who coached against Paterno at Michigan State.

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"We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched." — Penn State board of trustees and university President Rodney Erickson.

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"His legacy as the winningest coach in major college football and his generosity to Penn State as an institution and to his players, stand as monuments to his life. As both man and coach, Joe Paterno confronted adversities, both past and present, with grace and forbearance. His place in our state's history is secure." — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

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"(During recruiting,) Paterno was the only coach that didn't talk about football. He talked about life and what life had to offer at State College. While I did not go there and went to Michigan State, he was the only coach to call me and wish me luck." — former Michigan State wide receiver Nigea Carter.

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"I've coached around 300 college games and only once when I've met the other coach at midfield prior to the game have I asked a photographer to take a picture of me with the other coach. That happened in the Citrus Bowl after the '97 season when we were playing Penn State." — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier.

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"He was a tremendous teacher not because he knew all of the answers but because he challenged us to find the answers for ourselves. ... His spirit will live on in all of us who had the great honor of knowing him and running out of the tunnel with him on so many autumn Saturdays." — Paterno assistant and former Penn State interim head coach Tom Bradley.

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"This is a sad day! ... Joe preached toughness, hard work and clean competition. Most importantly, he had the courage to practice what he preached. Nobody will be able to take away the memories we all shared of a great man, his family, and all the wonderful people who were a part of his life." — retired Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who faces child sex abuse allegations, which he has denied, in the case that led to the firing of Paterno.

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"When you think of college football and its tradition, you can't help but picture those dark glasses, black shoes and plain uniforms that were his style and mark on Penn State." — Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville.

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"We came to football games just to see Joe Paterno on the sideline when we were students. He was the reason we attended so much." — Jamie Bloom, Penn State class of '92.

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"Few people are responsible for building something that will last forever. ... Coach Paterno was first and foremost an educator, whose immeasurable contributions to Penn State, the coaching profession and the entirety of college sports, will be felt permanently. That is the legacy of a great leader." — Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

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"There could not have been a better experience than learning how to teach and coach the game than being around Joe Paterno and the Penn State program. Not only did I get a great education in the classrooms at Penn State, but I also learned lessons as part of the football program there that I continue to use today as part of my coaching career." — Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni, Penn State class of '72.

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"I would tell people not to forget what that guy has done. To coach for 60 years in one place, that just won't ever happen again. I didn't get to coach against him. But I got to coach in the Big Ten, sit next to him at a meeting and have my picture taken with him. That's something I will never forget." — Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.

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"I've known Coach Paterno since I started coaching. ... It's a very sad day, and with his passing, we have lost one of the greatest coaches our game, and all sports, will ever have. He leaves us with great stories, memories and records that may never be broken." — Texas coach Mack Brown.