What’s Next For The JoePa Statue?
Jean Sibelius once said, “Pay no attention to what the critics say; no statue has ever been put up to a critic.” In the case of the Joe Paterno statue outside of Beaver Stadium, that statement may not entirely be true.
As you may have noticed, it seems that Penn State hedged their bet on when Coach Paterno would retire when they constructed a season-by-season tribute to accompany his statue. The 2009 season plaque is the most recent on a wall that features a square for every season’s results dating back to Paterno’s first season in 1966. This situation, with no plaque for the 2010 season and no space for however many seasons Paterno coaches after this one (which, if you ask him, is enough to fill up a whole new wall), is rather awkward.
I was not able to get any details from the Penn State Athletic Department, but I would be extremely surprised if there was not something in the works for the statue and surrounding area. It has become a major tourist attraction for Penn State and visiting fans alike, many of whom pose for pictures with the statue and enjoy seeing Paterno’s incredible season-by-season results. While it’s certainly humorous that Joe outlasted the “writing on the wall” (ha-haaa), this monument to coaching greatness needs to be updated pronto.
One idea floating around the Penn State community includes an extension to the southern part of the wall, which is flanked by a flat, grassy area. After examining the surrounding area, this seems to make the most sense. Otherwise, Penn State could rebuild the entire wall, or restructure the plaques in a way that allows for more space. Obviously any project of this type will require money, but I have to think that donors would be willing to contribute to a project that will further honor the man who built Penn State football.
Some used to speculate that when space for plaques ran out, JoePa would have no choice but to retire (and some argue that he should have). Since that obviously didn’t happen, something clearly needs to be done about this Penn State treasure, and the sooner, the better.