Figuring he has pretty well cheated retirement, Joe Paterno has decided to invest in it.
The Penn State coach is part of a development team that has built a retirement community in State College. The development specifically targets Penn State alums.
|Michael Robinson is a slight favorite to be running the Lions' offense. (Getty Images)|
Come live at the place that Joe never will.
Our walkers move better than the Nittany Lions offense
Our seniors have a loads of experience.
"He epitomizes the kind of person we'd like to have here," said Jill Lillie, The Village director of community relations. "He will probably never retire, honestly. If we could have Joe's personality fill every apartment and condo we'd be thrilled."
Being a silent partner is as close as the 78-year-old icon coach is to hanging it up. Armed with a contract extension, a smothering defense and a monster recruiting class, Paterno is way more rejuvenated than retired entering his 40th year as head coach.
But there is a fine line between being re-energized and just being old. Another 4-7 season will easily decide which definition fits best.
Spring practice starts Monday and there's a quiet confidence surrounding the man who has been more of a lightning rod than a leader lately. As his team slumped to its fourth losing season in the past five, Paterno insisted that he was only "one or two" players away from being among the elite again.
One look at the field and it seems like one or two decades away. While the defense (No. 10 nationally) was up to Penn State standards, the offense was a root canal in cleats -- 110th out of 117 in I-A in scoring. In any age where speed rules the game, Paterno had yet to grasp the rules.
"We obviously have been a little bit handicapped," Paterno said this week. " ... If you don't have guys making plays, you're still going to be in trouble. I told our coaches, 'Don't put circles and Xs up there on the board, put names up there.' ... This is probably the fastest recruiting class we've ever had."
Derrick Williams, a receiver/returner type who has been clocked from 4.28-4.32 in the 40, topped off a top 25 recruiting class. Paterno so desperately wanted the kid who was widely regarded as the best recruit in the country, he sent him gushing letters proclaiming "WE NEED DERRICK WILLIAMS."