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Posted on Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

'Saddened' Brady Hoke, Michigan football players react to death of longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno

By Kyle Meinke

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke, like so many others around the country, was saddened to learn today of the death of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

Although the Wolverines did not play Penn State this past season, Hoke grew to respect the longtime Nittany Lions coach while he was a Michigan assistant from 1995-2001.

He released this afternoon a lengthy, heart-felt statement after learning of Paterno's death from a short battle with lung cancer. He was 85.

The statement read, in full:

"I am certainly saddened by the news today of Coach Paterno's passing. College football has lost one of its greatest, a coaching icon. Even though I was just an assistant when our teams faced one another, I feel honored to have shared the field with Joe. His players' love for him, it shows how he touched their lives and it tells who he was as a man.

"He will be missed. His mark on Penn State and college football will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joe's family and friends and the entire Penn State community."


Joe Paterno in 2009 at Michigan Stadium.

File photo

Several players, past and present, took to Twitter to also respond to Paterno's death. A sampling:

Former defensive end Brandon Graham: "R.I.P Joe Paterno!! I am happy I was able to meet him At least once!"

Receiver Jerald Robinson: "My condolences go out to the Paterno family, such a great coach and so sorry for your loss....God Bless and yet another Great coach has been sent to Heaven"

Tailback Justice Hayes, in a series of tweets: "Deh killed my dude Joe Pa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... I'm upset ....!! He literally passed away because he wasn't coaching nomo... They knew that would happen.!! And the messed up part is that they deleted my man's out of Penn st history... So after this week or two, they gone sweep em off to the side"

Former defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen: "Rest in peace #joepa. My condolences to your family and all of the psu players coaches and staff that loved you. Great man, coach,& mentor"

Linebacker Kaleb Ringer (an early enrollee from 2012 class): "Somebody should be put in jail, for killin off joe pa like that!!!!"

Former defensive tackle Mike Martin: "A lifetime of work that cannot be replaced. Truly a #CategoryOfOne! #RIPJoePa "

Former tight end Kevin Koger: "R.I.P. Coach Joe Paterno"

Receiver Roy Roundtree: "That's Sad Joe Pa passed away. #RIPJOEPA prayers out to his family and friends!"

Tight end Brandon Moore: "RIP Joe Pa, a True Legend of the Big Ten"

Former receiver Desmond Howard: "Condolences to the Paterno family for their great loss. 'A human life is a story told by God.' ~Hans Christian Anderson"

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 4:37 a.m.

Joe is in a better place...Joe will be remembered in many great ways. I am sure his greatest accomplishment is his family. Joe was a great father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, husband, and coach. At the end of the day, family is all that matters. He will be missed, I will miss his humor most.


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 3:55 a.m.

There may be as many as 30 million adult football fans in the U.S. but the Real World U.S. totals 9 times that many adult non-fans. Does this tell us something about the "perspective" of football fans? It certainly does when you look at the majority's opinions of Joe Paterno (about 90% negative). [Football fans are told by Nielsen and the NFL that the number of fans is more like 100 million. This is cooking the numbers, it's nowhere near that many.] Also in the Real World Majority: someone who fails to act decisively to stop child sex abuse is dog meat. So lets clear this sentimental fog about Joe Paterno. No matter what he achieved in his "area" - he still failed as a moral, responsible human being when it really counted. Penn State fans: what I remember most about Penn State fans is from the first game Michigan played against them in "Happy Valley." There was television coverage of the snow balling of Michigan players, jeers and insults heard throughout the stadium. One snow ball hit a Michigan receiver right in the face - it literally could have blinded him. THIS is Penn Stat.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

Bababooey: #3 is factually incorrect. Joe was not "part of a cover up". He reported what he had been told to the appropriate authorities. He did not break the law--he did less than he could have, and has publicly acknowledged that. He did much more that coach football at Penn State: he helped build the universilty from a small "cow college" to a globally respected educational institution. He had one of the highest graduation rates in major college football; donated millions to the library and to preserve the classical studies department at PSU; and always said he rated his teams by how they did in life, not bowl games. So, get your facts straight, and look at them in the context of a life, not one momentary decision, before you condemn a great man. By the way, your picture is singularly appropriate, having reviewed your comments history on this site.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

I agree...thank you for your post.

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

A2Dave. Your comments are well taken. Thank you for setting the record straight. JoePa has done great things for his school and for college football. I for one, regretted the Snadusky episode, but I also feel Joe was treated shabily, by the university, that he supported all his life. The shame is on these polically correct, administrators...not Paterno. Incidentally, Don Canham approached Joe in 1968, before he contacted Bo. Had Joe not been preparing for a Bowl game, he may well have considered the job. Had he moved to Ann Anbor, he may well have still hired Sandusky, as an assistant. And had Sandusky worked here, he may well have had the same tendancies that he apparantly had in Happy Valley.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Linebacker Kaleb Ringer (an early enrollee from 2012 class): "Somebody should be put in jail, for killin off joe pa like that!!!!" Uh Kaleb? Joe Paterno died of lung cancer. Who is the culprit?


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

The saddest thing about college football is the "group speak' of all the coaches. It's like you go into a new job and the boss tells you on the first day "we are a family here. Whatever happens inside the family stays in the family". These kids picked up on this group speak and send out things like the tweets above." But like I said, men need their heroes.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

I'm sorry, but I can't mourn this man. While I acknowledge his actions as a football coach enhanced the lives of thousands of young men, I also can't forget that his inaction likely ruined the lives of at least one child, and in my mind the consequences of the latter greatly outweigh the benefits of the former.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

Men need their heroes. Seems to be human nature.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

Yeah maybe some of those Tweets shouldn't have been posted on this article. Aside from that, JoePa, you will be missed as a human being, a friend, family member, and college footballs greatest coach. It's honor just to have you in the B1G. Rest in peace, Coach.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

He may have had an impact on Football, but he will always be remembered as having stood by as a his underling abused children. Too bad, but that's how karma rolls.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

Here's what I will remember about Joe Paterno: 1 - Coached football at Penn St. 2 - Most wins in college football history. 3 - Was part of a cover up that may have led to widespread child abuse. I'll remember #3 most vividly.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

Like the vast majority of people, you have no idea what you are talking about. You don't know anything about what happened at PSU and you have no idea how much information Mr. Paterno was aware of. So, like the rest of the people on these blogs pass judgment based on information gathered from the most corupt source of information on the planet earth...the media. What happend at PSU was horrific. His name is Sandusky and he is alive and well. He should be the source of your anger.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

It is unfortunate, but he controlled that destiny.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

Unfortunately that's how many people will remember him by. It's sad that he had to go out this way.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 6:23 a.m.

Definitely sad to hear about JoePa passing away, he is and always will be an icon in the world of sports. Its sad that his career ultimately ended the way it did.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

Is English Justice Hayes' first language? That was tough. Hope he's getting the help he needs in the Kinesiology Department.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 9:32 a.m.

How about we stop badmouthing Michigan student-athletes, hmm?


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 11:45 p.m.

Very sad for this man to have died with the heavy heart I'm sure he had due to his actions/in-actions of the Sandusky nightmare/fiasco. I wish it had been a different ending for you, you deserved that much, R.I.P. Joe.

Max Maximus

Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

An amazing legend, with a sad ending. RIP JoePa- you helped make college football something truly great- truly American. Every PSU alum I've ever met was a class act and I felt their pain this past year. It could have happened anywhere. Tailwinds and thanks for the great work you did. Condolences from Ann Arbor to Happy Valley.


Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

"It could have happened anywhere" If it happened anywhere else it would have been stopped by the coach. THIS coach made the decision to ignore it and allow a person he knew was a rapist in his locker room. If this did happen at another university, the coach would be hung in effigy not canonized.


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Maximus the Mercilus!!


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

reading some of those tweets i can see why some coaches don't want their players on twitter.

Wally the Wolverine

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:24 a.m.

* never "had"

Wally the Wolverine

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:23 a.m.

It's a bit of a shame Hoke never head the opportunity to go head to head with JoePa.

Wally the Wolverine

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 3:19 a.m.

@bigblue - I was kind of thinking the same thing. Is Justice Hayes by chance one of our General Studies majors?


Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

Because they might put lowercase "i"s or have periods at the end of sentences where the first word isn't capitalized?