Life is a mix of good and bad, of achievements and mistakes, thus it's often hard to assess someone's place in history immediately after death.
But for Joe Paterno, his remarkable record, his commitment to education, his long tenure at Penn State and the values he instilled in his players and others make that task easier.
Paterno gained a special place in the hearts of Penn State faithful during his 46-year tenure with his teams' successes, his signature style, his dedication to his players and his love of the university.
Those qualities even earned Paterno unqualified respect from the teams and fans he coached against.
For all of the collegiate educators and football coaches, there will never be another JoePa.
That's why Paterno's death Sunday morning made national news all day on Sunday and carried front pages of newspapers across the country on Monday.
While people remember all of the good things about the winningest coach in Division 1-A football, like all of us, Paterno's record wasn't spotless. There were years in which his teams faltered. There were times when people said he was too old to coach and should retire. And, regrettably, the darkest mark was the thing that finally ended his career, the still-unfolding Jerry Sandusky child sexual assault scandal.
On Nov. 9, as questions about Penn State's and Paterno's handling of allegations surrounding a reported 2002 incident in a university locker room, the Board of Trustees decided the iconic coach had to go.
It's a decision that has divided the Penn State community and observers.
In the book of Paterno's life, this chapter remains unwritten. It's too raw and emotional now. It will take time and more details from the upcoming trials to accurately and unemotionally gauge what history ultimately will say.
But it's clear that the overall book on Paterno's life is one we should be celebrating.
JoePa was a remarkable man, who achieved greatness on his own and instilled the drive to achieve greatness, both on and off the field, in his players. His loyalty to Penn State was obvious through both his financial support and by his unwillingness to leave for other, better-paying jobs.
As people mourn Paterno, perhaps the greatest tribute we can offer is to emulate the best of him in our daily lives.