Paterno: Stress isn't limited to coaching

Posted: September 22, 2010

The mild heart attack suffered last weekend by Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio didn't quite compel 83-year-old Joe Paterno to step back and reevaluate the stressful nature of what he does for a living.

"I coach exactly the way I've coached," Paterno said Tuesday. "I don't have any physical problems. I had that little bout with those antibiotics [an intestinal ailment during the summer] and a couple of things . . . but I'm fine.

"Knock on wood, I've never had any problem, heart problems or whatnot. I've been a great walker. I've got to do more walking than I've been doing in the past because of time. So much more is demanded of us these days, and I think that's probably what happened" to Dantonio.

Dantonio, 54, was stricken just hours after the Spartans defeated Notre Dame on a touchdown pass off a fake field-goal call in overtime. He was released Tuesday from the hospital, but it is not known when he will return.

Paterno said "there was stress in everything in this day and age," not just coaching. He said the media demands are tougher, with ESPN and other outlets showing multiple games.

"Everybody's got an opinion," he said. "Everybody tells people what the coach should and shouldn't do. But they do that in everything - politics, business."

During his Big Ten conference call, Paterno said: "I've never taken [coaching] to the point where I felt that kind of pressure. We do the best job we can. We work hard at it. I'm fortunate to have great assistants who do most of the work, so it's not hard for me."

Drake's return uncertain

Paterno said he wasn't sure when wide receiver Curtis Drake, a West Catholic High graduate, will return from a broken leg.

Drake suffered the injury at the start of preseason camp. It has been speculated that he could return after Penn State's open date, Oct. 16.

He walked on the field before Saturday's game without crutches and played catch with some teammates.


Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or jjuliano@phillynews.com.

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