Recapping the Rose Bowl


alg_paterno-trophies.jpgThis year’s Rose Bowl was a tough one for me.  I have always been a Pete Carroll supporter, even when he was hired and nobody in Los Angeles liked him.  Also, my affiliation with USC is a strong one and I am good friends with the athletic director and university president.

However, I am from Norristown, which is outside of Philadelphia.  And JoePa is a very good friend of mine and has been for many years.

I was very impressed with the hype surrounding the game.  This was to be a great game between two great teams.  Unfortunately, Penn State did not get off to a good start and played a poorly in the first half.

Pete Carroll, who always has his team in the finest condition, took advantage of the poor play of Penn State and almost ran away with it.

I spent about three hours with my friend Papa Joe at one of their workouts and we got to talking about a lot of good memories about our friendship over the years.

One of the stories he remembered very well was when I was managing and we came into Pittsburgh.  He called me and said that his son wanted to go to the game so I left him tickets.  Well JoePa and his wife were watching the game and they thought that maybe they’d put the camera on his son and they’d get to see him. 

All of a sudden he looks closer and says to his wife, “That looks like our son picking up the bats.”

I had made JoePa’s son my batboy, and he saw it on television.  Since he remembers the story to this day I guess it meant a lot to him. 

You don’t see too many guys like Joe Paterno.  He is class personified.

He never does anything to embarrass himself, his family or Penn State University.  The university should be extremely proud of the way he has handled his football teams over the years.  Not just the way they play on the field, but the way in which they handle themselves in the class rooms and in the community.

I hope he coaches for many more years, and I am proud to call him my friend.

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