Current Issue

Mar.21, 2012

Vol. 112, No. 9

A coach who put academics first

In response to: Extra Point

Posted on March19, 2012

While Merrell Noden ’78 makes an important point about balance between athletics and academics at Princeton in his Extra Point column (Sports, Jan. 18), he did not choose wisely by starting with an implied contrast with Penn State, where I worked for 20 years (1989-2009). In fact, what distinguished Penn State’s football program from so many others in Division I was precisely the emphasis that its longtime coach, Joe Paterno, placed on academics. Among the teams that played in bowl games this year, Penn State ranked first – even above Stanford – in its players’ grade-point average.

The riot at Penn State, though ill-advised, was vastly overdramatized by the media and represented the actions of only a very small minority of students, who turned out the next night in larger numbers for a candlelight vigil to honor the victims of child abuse. And the protest over the firing of Paterno needs to be understood in context, as the expression of high admiration for a coach who always put academics first, as much as any coach in the Ivy League has ever done.

Sandy Thatcher ’65 *67
Frisco, Texas

Post Comments
Tell us what you think about
A coach who put academics first
Enter the word as it appears in the picture below
Send
By submitting a comment, you agree to PAW's comment posting policy.
CURRENT ISSUE: Mar.21, 2012

Inbox Search:

Keyword:
Date:

to
* Online archives date back to Sept. 1995. The date filters only work for content posted after December 2007.

Inbox (Archives)

PAW welcomes letters on its contents and topics related to Princeton University. We may edit them for length, accuracy, clarity, and civility; brevity is encouraged. As a general guideline, letters should not exceed 275 words. Due to the volume of correspondence, we are unable to publish all letters received. Letters, articles, photos, and comments submitted to PAW may be published in print, electronic, or other forms. Write to PAW, 194 Nassau St., Suite 38, Princeton, NJ 08542; send email to paw@princeton.edu; or call 609-258-4885.