Paterno did have a knack for jokes. He referred to Twitter, the social media site, as "Twittle-do, Twittle-dee."
He also could be abrasive and stubborn, and he had his share of run-ins with his bosses or administrators. And as his legend grew, so did the attention to his on-field decisions, and the questions about when he would hang it up.
Calls for his retirement reached a crescendo in 2004. The next year, Penn State went 11-1 and won the Big Ten. In the Orange Bowl, PSU beat Florida State, whose coach, Bobby Bowden, was eased out after the 2009 season after 34 years and 389 wins.
Like many others, he was outlasted by "JoePa."