PITTSBURGH (KDKA) –Former high school football coach Pat Tarquinio developed a friendship and a respect for Joe Paterno over the years.

Tarquinio has been compared to Paterno as a legendary name in western Pennsylvania high school football.

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During his half-century of coaching high school football, Tarquinio passed many of his players on to Coach Paterno.

“When he came into the school, the whole school was in an uproar because Joe Paterno was there,” Tarquinio said. “The kids were thrilled to be talking to him. I was thrilled to be talking to him and just be a part of the recruiting process.”

Tarquinio’s relationship with Paterno started when he was a teenager. His brother was recruited by the legendary coach.

In 1966, Tarquinio became head coach at Beaver High School and Paterno was promoted to head coach at Penn State. Their relationship only grew from there.

“He recruited John Scorpon, who was an All-American linebacker at Penn State, while I was coaching here at Beaver,” Tarquinio said. “He just had an eye for talent, but I think he had an eye for people.”

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Newspaper articles compared Tarquinio’s lengthy career on the field to that of Coach Paterno.

When he retired in 2000, Tarquinio was the winningest coach in WPIAL history. But coach Tarquinio said looking at his own successful career, it was his friend Paterno that was the best role model.

“Beyond the X’s and O’s of a coach, coaching is a people business and he was a great communicator. He interacted well with his players. He provided great leadership. His actions spoke louder than his words,” Tarquinio said.

Tarquinio said it is impossible to erase Paterno’s legacy.

“Joe was certainly an icon and it’s going to be difficult for someone to match what he has done,” Tarquinio said.

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Heather Abraham