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Rick Neuheisel's memorable duet with Joe Paterno

January 22, 2012 | 12:43 pm


The Jerry Sandusky scandal left Penn State Coach Joe Paterno’s legacy muddled. But there are men who have memories of Paterno from before the last four months.

A year ago, former UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel reminisced about his first meeting with Paterno in the 1990s, when the two were at a gathering of coaches sponsored by Nike.

“He told me to get him a bourbon,” said Neuheisel, who was Colorado’s coach at the time. “I was his [graduate assistant], so to speak. I was the new head coach in the deal.

PHOTOS: Joseph Paterno 1926 - 2012

"He said that I was ruining college football because I had just taken my team skiing. He wanted to know ‘what the hell the rest of us are supposed to do with our teams.’ He told me I had better call and ask to get permission before I did that again.”

The two became friends and, later on that trip, Neuheisel had Paterno try one of Neuheisel's newfangled ways.

“I had a guitar in my hand and I got him up there with me to sing ‘Wild Thing,’ ” Neuheisel said. “He didn’t know a lot of the words, but was effervescent with his rendition.”


Obituary: Joe Paterno dies at 85

Joe Paterno legacy: From triumph to tragedy in days

FULL COVERAGE: Penn State, Jerry Sandusky  scandal

-- Chris Foster

Photo: Coach Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions prepare to take the field before a game against Pittsburgh in 1998. Credit: Rick Stewart / Allsport