Remembering Paterno from Before He was a Legend

Published 01/23 2012 10:02PM

Updated 01/24 2012 11:34AM

UNIVERSITY PARK, CENTRE COUNTY - Around the world, those who knew Joe Paterno are struggling with his loss. Locally, there are some people who knew him well and are sharing their memories of the legendary coach.

Louis Prato was writing for the Collegian when he met the legendary coach.  Paterno was just an assistant coach at the time, and Prato says he was a "wise-cracking friendly" guy. They became friends, and remained friends even after Prato moved away. When Prato came back to the area he wrote the Penn State Football Encyclopedia, where he got into the history of the program.

Prato knew his friend's health was failing so it wasn't a major shock when Paterno died, but it still hurt. His wife said "Joe didn't deserve this; he didn't deserve to die this way. And Prato agrees. He's angry about the way the way Paterno was treated in his last few months. But he's turning to one of the last things his friend said. He said, "I'm not a victim if you want to pray, pray for the real victims they're the children."

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