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Coaches, former president issue Paterno condolences

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:49 PM EST, Sun January 22, 2012
People pay their respects on Sunday at the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno after news of his death.
People pay their respects on Sunday at the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno after news of his death.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Former Penn State officials express sadness
  • Jerry Sandusky: Paterno "maintained a high standard in a very difficult profession"
  • Former President George H.W. Bush "deeply saddened" at Paterno's passing

(CNN) -- Current and former members of the Penn State football program were among those offering condolences Sunday following the death of legendary ex-head coach Joe Paterno.

Penn State Board of Trustees and University President Rodney Erickson:

"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 in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always. The University plans to honor him for his many contributions and to remember his remarkable life and legacy. We are all deeply saddened. We are considering appropriate ways to honor the great life and legacy of Joe Paterno. The University's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is consulting with members of the Penn State community on the nature and timing of the gathering."

Bill O'Brien, Penn State head football coach:

Paterno mourner: He's more than a coach

"It is with great sadness that I am compelled to deliver this message of condolence and tribute to a great man, husband, father and someone who is more than just a coach, Joe Paterno. First, on behalf of Penn State Football, we offer our sincerest condolences to the Paterno family for their loss. We also offer our condolences to the Penn State community and, in particular, to those who wore the Penn State colors, our Nittany Lion football players and alumni. Today they lost a great man, coach, mentor and, in many cases, a father figure, and we extend our deepest sympathies. 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. There are no words to express my respect for him as a man and as a coach. To be following in his footsteps at Penn State is an honor. Our families, our football program, our university and all of college football have suffered a great loss, and we will be eternally grateful for Coach Paterno's immeasurable contributions."

Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant football coach who is at the center of the child sex abuse scandal that cost Paterno his job late last year:

"This is a sad day! Our family, Dottie and I would like to convey our deepest sympathy to Sue and her family. Nobody did more for the academic reputation of Penn State than Joe Paterno. He maintained a high standard in a very difficult profession. 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."

Tim Curley, former Penn State Athletic Director who went on leave amid the child sex abuse scandal:

"Words cannot express the sorrow my family and I feel. Joe has been an integral part of my life for more than 35 years. Joe coached me, mentored me, taught me what it meant to compete with integrity and honor, and above all demonstrated with each day that he lived, the power of humility. Our thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences go out to the Paterno family."

Gary Schultz, a former Penn State vice president who retired amid the child sex abuse scandal:

"With profound sadness, my family and I want to express our heartfelt condolences for the Paterno family today. I had the sincere honor and distinct pleasure to work with Joe for many, many years at Penn State. No one loved Penn State more than Joe. We will all miss him."

Former President George H.W. Bush:

"I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Paterno. He was an outstanding American who was respected not only on the field of play but in life generally — and he was, without a doubt, a true icon in the world of sports. I was proud that he was a friend of mine. Barbara and I send our condolences to his devoted wife Suzanne and to his wonderful family."

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly:

"The Paterno family is in our thoughts and prayers as they mourn the loss of a beloved husband and father. Few people have influenced the lives of so many others in the way Joe Paterno was able to do. Today, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family at this difficult time."

Nick Saban, head football coach at national champion University of Alabama:

"Joe Paterno gave his life to college football. He gave his life to the players and college football ... I never doubted with him that he was going to do what was best for college football, and the players that played it, and I think that should be his legacy."

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