MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – WCCO Radio’s Sid Hartman, a legendary Minnesota sports journalist, said he is deeply saddened by the loss of his close friend Joe Paterno.
“He will go down as a Super Man, a guy that gave thousands of dollars to Penn State, made Penn State what it is today,” Hartman said in an interview Sunday.
Paterno, who put up more wins than any other coach in major college football, was announced dead by his family Sunday morning. He was 85 and suffered from lung cancer.
Hartman said he wasn’t surprised to hear of his friend’s death. After coaching for so long, how could he live without football?
“I think what killed him was giving up coaching, and the fact that he took a lot of blame for this guy Sandusky being on his staff,” Hartman said.
Hartman made it a point to say he thinks Jerry Sandusky is a “terrible man,” but he believes Paterno should not have been considered the scapegoat.
Reflecting on his friend, Hartman said one of his most prized possessions is a picture of Paterno, himself and Glenn Mason, the former Gopher football coach. Paterno autographed the photo and wrote Hartman a note that read: “The only guy older than me that’s working.”
At the time the picture was taken, Paterno was 80 and Hartman was 87.
Hartman said there will be no dark cloud surrounding Paterno’s death. He said those who knew Paterno will remember him as a popular coach and a wonderful man.
The Penn State Alumni Association’s Minnesota Chapter said they are also deeply saddened by the loss of Paterno. They said that since the news of the scandal broke, they have made contributions to a local charity aimed at stopping child abuse.