Big East reaction to JoePa's death

Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno died Sunday of lung cancer at age 85. UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano and former West Virginia coach Don Nehlen offered their thoughts in statements through their respective universities.

Pasqualoni played for Paterno at Penn State and reflected on what he learned during his time there:

“Early in my collegiate playing career at Penn State, it became clear to me that from my athletic perspective it was going to be a challenge to get playing time with great players like Jack Hamm ahead of me. If I was to stay involved in the game of football, it was going to be as a teacher and a coach.

“Fortunately, there could not have been a better experience than learning how to teach and coach the game than being around Joe Paterno and the Penn State program. Not only did I get a great education in the classrooms at Penn State, but I also learned lessons as part of the football program there that I continue to use today as part of my coaching career.”

Schiano said:

“Joe Paterno embodied the way college football was supposed to be. He educated young men by using the game of football, along with all of its challenges, in preparation for the real world. He was a great thinker, who was never afraid to say and act on what he believed. He leaves a tremendous legacy with the thousands of players and coaches he worked with. I will miss him deeply. My prayers are with Sue and the entire Paterno family.”

Nehlen said:

"First of all, my condolences go out to his wife, Sue, and his entire family. Joe Paterno was an icon above icons in the football coaching profession. What he accomplished as a football coach will never ever, ever, be threatened. When you think of a word to describe Joe Paterno and what he did at Penn State, the word unimaginable comes to mind. That a man could give that much of himself to coach football and shape young men's lives at one school for that many years speaks volumes for what that man is about. He will be very sadly missed as a person, a friend and in the football coaching profession."