Sad news coming out of State College, even though it was largely expected at this point. Per Pete Thamel of the New York Times:
Paterno had recently turned 85 this past December, and his death comes two and one-half months after his late-night dismissal by Penn State in early November. The reports of his demise last night turned out to be somewhat premature, but unfortunately there was a palpable sense that his death was imminent and seemingly nothing changed throughout the course of the night.
Many will be quick to point to the ugly end of Paterno's coaching career, but for the time I'd argue focus should go on the accomplishments and let the criticisms be weighed another day. Besides, such discussion largely glosses over the difficulties inevitable in the end of any major sports figure. Admittedly, the end was ugly for Paterno and in fairness his sudden fall from grace was perhaps the most dramatic we have seen from any major figure in either professional or collegiate sports in modern history. That caveat, though, is that the end is rarely good for anyone, and in that regard Paterno is no different than Bryant, Rockne, Hayes, Bowden, or most other major sports figures. It rarely ends well and frankly that is why it ends in most instances.
Best of wishes and sincere condolences to Penn State and the Paterno family in a difficult time.
Update: Nick Saban was on Sportscenter earlier to share his thoughts on Paterno's legacy. You can watch the video here. Saban's comments begin around the 2:20 mark.