The death of Joe Paterno on Sunday has resonated throughout all of college football, and two ACC coaches -- Miami's Al Golden and Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer -- have issued public statements in Paterno's honor.
Golden was a three-year (1989-91) letterwinner and two-year starter at tight end for Penn State. As a junior in 1990, Golden played a key role in Penn State's nationally televised 24-21 upset of No. 1-ranked Notre Dame at South Bend, Ind. His touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter tied the game at 21 as Penn State rallied from a 21-7 deficit. Golden was a team captain during his senior year and helped lead Penn State to a 42-17 win over Tennessee in the 1992 Fiesta Bowl. Following that victory, Penn State finished with an 11-2 record and ranked third in the nation in the final 1991 AP poll.
Here is what Golden had to say about his former coach:
"Walter Payton once said, 'Always remember that every opportunity you have to meet someone is an opportunity to leave a piece of yourself.'
"Joe Paterno, not only fulfilled a promise he made to his father by making an impact, he left an indelible piece of himself with everyone in his life. The values Coach Paterno instilled in each of us that were fortunate enough to play for or work alongside him will never be diminished.
"They are manifested in our leadership, character, class and dedication to improving the lives of others in the classroom, workforce and community. They are distinctly evident in the way we raise our children and the type of husbands and fathers we have grown to be. I am forever grateful for the impact that Joseph Vincent Paterno has made on my life. I am not ashamed to say to Coach and his family that the way all of your former players will carry your legacy forward is by humbly improving the lives of those around us every day.
Thank you, Joe!"
When Paterno's tenure ended in November, Beamer became the winningest active coach in the FBS with 251 career victories. In 2010, Beamer became the first and only recipient of the Joe Paterno Award. Beamer released the following statement on Sunday:
“We have lost someone with great and special talents. He had great and special talent as far as being a leader, which is very obvious by his winning record. And, he had a great and special talent in how he treated people. In my experience with him, he was always charming, gracious and thoughtful. I think he was a great fighter, and I know he fought this illness to the very end. College football will miss Joe Paterno.”