Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement


Joe Paterno, Dead at 85

from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Paterno

Joseph Vincent "Joe" Paterno (pronounced /pəˈtɜrnoʊ/; December 21, 1926 – January 22, 2012)[1] was a college football coach who was the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions for 46 years from 1966 through 2011. Paterno, nicknamed "JoePa," holds the record for the most victories by an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football coach with 409 and is the only FBS coach to reach 400 victories.[2] He coached five undefeated teams that won major bowl games and, in 2007, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach. Paterno was fired mid-season by Penn State trustees in November 2011, after long-time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sexual abuse charges.[3][4]

Contents [hide]
1 Early life
2 Tenure as head coach
2.1 Bowls and championships
2.2 Awards and honors
2.3 Sandusky scandal and dismissal
3 Views on college football issues
3.1 Officiating and instant replay
4 Outside of football
4.1 Philanthropy and education
4.2 Political interests
4.3 Personal life
4.3.1 Family
4.3.2 Failing health and death
5 Head coaching record
6 See also
7 Notes
8 References
9 External links

Early lifePaterno was born December 21, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York; he still speaks with a marked Brooklyn accent. His family is of Italian ancestry. In 1944, Paterno graduated from the now defunct Brooklyn Preparatory School. After serving a year in the Army, he attended Brown University; his tuition was paid for by Busy Arnold.[5]

He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Upsilon chapter).[citation needed] He played quarterback and cornerback, and as of 2012 shares the career record for interceptions with Greg Parker at 14.[6] Paterno graduated with the Brown University Class of 1950. Although his father asked, "For God's sake, what did you go to college for?" after hearing of his career choice,[7] Paterno joined his college coach Rip Engle as an assistant coach at Penn State in 1950; Engle had coached five seasons, 1944–1949, at Brown. Engle retired after the 1965 season, and Paterno was named his successor.

Tenure as head coachPaterno's abbreviated 2011 season was his 62nd on the Penn State coaching staff, which gave him the record for most seasons for any football coach at any university. The 2009 season was Paterno’s 44th as head coach of the Nittany Lions, passing Amos Alonzo Stagg for the most years as head coach at a single institution in Division I.[8]

Paterno was well-known for his gameday image—thick glasses, rolled-up pants (by his admission, to save on cleaning bills), white socks and Brooklyn-tinged speech.[9] Reflecting the growth in Penn State's stature during his tenure, Beaver Stadium was expanded six times during his tenure, more than doubling in size in the process (from 46,284 in 1966 to 106,572 in 2001).

The Pittsburgh Steelers offered their head coach position to Paterno in 1969, an offer he considered seriously. The Steelers hired Chuck Noll, who won four Super Bowls in his first 11 years, and coached for an additional twelve seasons.

The New York Giants reportedly offered Paterno their head coaching spot numerous times during the team's struggles during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham contacted Paterno in 1969 to see if Paterno (whom Canham respected and knew personally) would accept the vacant Michigan job. Paterno turned down the offer and Michigan hired Bo Schembechler. In 1972, Paterno was offered the head coaching position by the New England Patriots. He accepted their offer, but only three weeks later decided to back out of it. The Patriots hired Chuck Fairbanks of Oklahoma instead.

In 1995, Paterno was forced to apologize for a profanity-laced tirade directed at Rutgers then-head coach Doug Graber at the conclusion of a nationally televised game.[10] He was also accused of "making light of sexual assault" in 2006 by the National Organization for Women which called for his resignation,[11] and was involved in a road rage incident in 2007.[12]

After five years of court battles, the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) revealed Paterno's salary in November 2007: $512,664. He was paid $490,638 in 2006.[13] The figure was not inclusive of other compensation, such as money from television and apparel contracts as well as other bonuses that Paterno and other football bowl subdivision coaches earned, said Robert Gentzel, SERS communications director. The release of these amounts can only come at the university's approval, which Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said will not happen. "I'm paid well, I'm not overpaid," Paterno said during an interview with reporters Wednesday before the salary disclosure. "I got all the money I need."

In 2008, due to a litany of football players' off-the-field legal problems, including 46 Penn State football players having faced 163 criminal charges according to an ESPN analysis of Pennsylvania court records and reports dating to 2002,[14] ESPN questioned Joe Paterno's and the university's control over the Penn State football program by producing and airing an ESPN's Outside the Lines feature covering the subject.[15] Paterno was criticized for his response dismissing the allegations as a "witch hunt", and chiding reporters for asking about problems.[16]

On November 6, 2010, Paterno recorded his 400th career victory with a 35–21 victory over Northwestern. Facing a 21–0 deficit, Penn State scored 35 unanswered points, tying Paterno's largest comeback victory as a coach.

On October 29, 2011, Paterno recorded his 409th career victory with a 10–7 victory over Illinois. Facing a 7–3 deficit, Penn State drove 86 yards on their final drive to score a touchdown. A missed 42-yard field goal by Illinois which would have sent the game to overtime secured Paterno's 409th victory. With this victory, Paterno passed Eddie Robinson to become the winningest head coach in Division I college football. He trails the leader, John Gagliardi of Division III Saint John's University (Minnesota), by 73 wins.

Bowls and championshipsPaterno holds more bowl victories (24) than any coach in history. He also tops the list of bowl appearances with 37.[17] He has a bowl record of 24 wins, 12 losses, and 1 tie following a defeat in the 2011 Outback Bowl. Paterno is the only coach with the distinction of having won each of the current four major bowls—Rose, Orange, Fiesta, and Sugar—as well as the Cotton Bowl Classic, at least once. Under Paterno, Penn State has won at least three bowl games each decade since 1970.

Paterno has led Penn State to two national championships (1982 and 1986) and five undefeated, untied seasons (1968, 1969, 1973, 1986, and 1994). Four of his unbeaten teams (1968, 1969, 1973, and 1994) won major bowl games and were not awarded a national championship.

Penn State under Paterno won the Orange Bowl (1968, 1969, 1973, and 2005), the Cotton Bowl Classic (1972 and 1974), the Fiesta Bowl (1977, 1980, 1981, 1986, 1991, and 1996), the Liberty Bowl (1979), the Sugar Bowl (1982), the Aloha Bowl (1983), the Holiday Bowl (1989), the Citrus Bowl (1993 and 2010), the Rose Bowl (1994), the Outback Bowl (1995, 1998, 2006) and the Alamo Bowl (1999 and 2007).

After Penn State joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993, the Nittany Lions under Paterno won the Big Ten championship three times (1994, 2005, and 2008). Paterno had 29 finishes in the Top 10 national rankings.

Awards and honors
Honorary statue of Paterno in front of Penn State's Beaver StadiumFollowing the 1986 championship season, Paterno was the first college football coach named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated magazine. In 2005, following an 11–1 comeback season in which the Lions won a share of the Big Ten title and a BCS berth, Paterno was named the 2005 AP Coach of the Year, and the 2005 Walter Camp Coach of the Year.

Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year – 1986
Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award (United States Sports Academy (USSA)) – 1989, 2001[18]
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (AFCA) – 2002
AFCA Coach of the Year – 1968, 1978, 1982, 1986, 2005
Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year Award – 2005
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award – 1981, 2005
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year – 1978, 1982, 1986
George Munger Award (Div. I Coach of the Year) – 1990, 1994, 2005
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award – 1986
Sporting News College Football Coach of the Year – 2005
The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award – 2005
Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award – 1972, 1994, 2005
Dave McClain Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year – 1994, 2005, 2008
NCAA Gerald R. Ford Award – 2011[19]
On May 16, 2006, Paterno was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame after the National Football Foundation decided to change its rules and allow any coach over the age of 75 to be eligible for the Hall of Fame instead of having to wait until retirement.[20] However, on November 4, 2006 he was injured during a sideline collision during a game against Wisconsin. As a result of his injuries, he was unable to travel to the induction ceremonies in New York City and the National Football Foundation announced that he would instead be inducted as a part of the Hall of Fame class of 2007.[21] Paterno was inducted on December 4, 2007,[22] and officially enshrined in a ceremony held July 19, 2008.[23]

In 2009, Paterno was named to Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest coaches of all time (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, college basketball, and college football). He is listed in position 13.[24]

In 2010, the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia established the Joseph V. Paterno Award, to be awarded annually to the college football coach "who has made a positive impact on his university, his players and his community."[25] Following the breaking of the Penn State sex abuse scandal the following year, the award was discontinued by the club.[26]

Also in 2010, the Big Ten Conference established the Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy as the annual trophy to be awarded to the winner of the conference football championship.[27] However, on November 14, 2011, the trophy name was changed to the Stagg Championship Trophy in light of Paterno's involvement with the Sandusky child abuse scandal.[28]

Paterno was also nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. However, in light of Paterno's involvement with Sandusky child abuse scandal, Senators Toomey and Casey as well as Representative Thompson withdrew their support of Paterno receiving the honor.[29]

As Penn State football struggled from 2000 to 2004, with an overall 26–33 record in those years, Paterno became the target of criticism from some Penn State faithful. Many in the media attributed Penn State's struggles to Paterno's advancing age. With no apparent plans to retire, contingents of fans and alumni began calling for him to step down. Paterno rebuffed all of this and stated he would fulfill his contract which would expire in 2008.[30]

Paterno announced in a speech in Pittsburgh on May 12, 2005 that he would consider retirement if the 2005 football team had a disappointing season. "If we don't win some games, I've got to get my rear end out of here", Paterno said in a speech at the Duquesne Club. "Simple as that".[31] However, Penn State finished the season with a record of 11–1 and were champions of the Big Ten in 2005. They defeated Florida State 26–23 in triple overtime in the 2006 Orange Bowl.

Sandusky scandal and dismissalMain article: Penn State sex abuse scandal
On November 5, 2011, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on 40 counts relating to sexual abuse of eight young boys over a 15-year period, including alleged incidents that occurred at Penn State.[32] A 2011 grand jury investigation reported that then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary told Paterno in 2002 that he had seen Sandusky abusing a 10-year-old boy in Penn State football's shower facilities. The grand jury report would later detail that McQueary saw Sandusky sodomizing the boy.[33] According to the report, Paterno notified Athletic Director Tim Curley the next day about the incident, and later notified Gary Schultz, director of business and finance, who oversaw the University Police.[34] Schultz's role is the center of the debate over whether Paterno did or did not do enough.

Paterno said McQueary informed him that "he had witnessed an incident in the shower ... but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report."[35] Prosecutors have stated that Paterno is not accused of any wrongdoing, as he fulfilled his legal obligation to report the incident to his immediate supervisor, Curley.[36] However, he was harshly criticized for not reporting the incident to police himself, or at least seeing to it that it was reported, as many have concluded from the facts that are currently known. On November 7, Pennsylvania state police Commissioner Frank Noonan said that while Paterno was not in any legal difficulty, "somebody has to question about what I would consider the moral requirements for a human being that knows of sexual things that are taking place with a child. I think you have the moral responsibility, anyone. Not whether you're a football coach or a university president or the guy sweeping the building. I think you have a moral responsibility to call us."[37]

On the night of November 8, hundreds of students gathered in front on Paterno's home in support of the coach. Paterno thanked the crowd and said, "The kids who were victims or whatever they want to say, I think we all ought to say a prayer for them. It's a tough life when people do certain things to you."[38][39] He led the crowd in "We are Penn State" cheers, which some Penn State Board of Trustees members viewed as insensitive.[40][41] In part because of the scandal, Paterno announced the following day that he would retire at the end of the season, stating:

... I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can.[42][43]
Later that evening, however, the Board of Trustees voted to relieve Paterno of his coaching duties effective immediately.[40][44] Tom Bradley, Sandusky's successor as defensive coordinator, was named interim head coach for the remainder of the 2011 season. At the same meeting, school president Graham Spanier resigned rather than face being fired as well.[45][46][47] Because the Board of Trustee meetings were held behind closed doors and Pennsylvania has a sunshine law, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees met in a public meeting via conference call on December 2, 2011, to "reaffirm and ratify" the Board of Trustee's earlier decision. The minutes of the meeting will reaffirmed at the January 20, 2012, meeting of the Board of Trustees.[48]

An anonymous trustee told The Morning Call of Allentown that he and his colleagues felt they had no choice but to order Paterno to leave immediately due to growing outrage over the scandal. The board considered allowing Paterno to stay on for the rest of the season and let Bradley act as team spokesman, but feared this would further sully Penn State's image. The board was also angered that Paterno released statements on his own rather than through the university.[49] This was confirmed in a statement issued by board chairman Steve Garban and vice chairman John Surma on January 12, 2012; which said that the board felt Paterno "could not be expected to effectively perform his duties" as head coach due to the nature of the scandal.[4]

That night, several thousand Penn State students protested the sudden dismissal of Paterno, congregating outside of Penn State's administration building, chanting his name and overturning a television news van.[50] The action of the Board of Trustees was further criticized by Ben Andreozzi, a Harrisburg attorney advising some of the alleged victims, who declared that the board had "got it wrong" by hastily dismissing Paterno without consulting the victims of the case.[51] Said Andreozzi: "The school instead elected to do what it felt was in its own best interest at the time. Isn't that what put the school in this position in the first place?"[51] Paterno was replaced by Bill O'Brien on January 7, 2012.[52]

On January 12, the board of trustees announced that Paterno remains a tenured member of the Penn State faculty even though he is no longer coach, and Penn State is honoring his contract as if he retired at the end of the season. The details of his retirement are still being finalized as of January 2012.[4]

Views on college football issuesPaterno has long been an advocate for some type of college football playoff system. The question has been posed to him frequently over the years, as only one of his five undefeated teams has been voted national champions.[53][54][55]

Paterno believes that scholarship college athletes should receive a modest stipend, so that they have some spending money. As justification, Paterno points out that many scholarship athletes are from poor families and that other students have time to hold down a part-time job, whereas busy practice and conditioning schedules prevent college athletes from working during the school year.[56]

Paterno previously preferred to not play true freshmen. Later in his career, however, Paterno played true freshmen so as not to be at a competitive disadvantage. In fact, some Penn State recruits, like recruits at many other schools, now graduate from high school a semester early so that they can enroll in college during the spring semester and participate in spring practice. Several team members from the recruiting class of 2005, including Justin King, Anthony Scirrotto, and Derrick Williams, received considerable playing time as true freshmen during the 2005–2006 season.[57]

In 2010, Paterno and former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka suggested that concussions and other injuries in the NFL and college football might be reduced if face masks were done away with.[58]

Penn State's football players were twice recognized for outstanding academic performance by the New America Foundation's Academic Bowl Championship Series while under the leadership of Paterno.[59] The team was ranked number one out of the top 25 ranked BCS teams in 2009 and 2011. The criteria in the rankings include the graduation rate of the team as compared to the rest of university, the difference between the graduation rate of African-American players and the rest of the squad as well as the same statistics for the rest of the students at Penn State, and the graduation rate differences between the African American players and students.[59]

Officiating and instant replayIn 2002, then 76 year-old Paterno chased down referee Dick Honig in a dead sprint following a 42–35 overtime home loss to Iowa. Paterno saw Tony Johnson catch a pass for a first down with both feet in bounds on the stadium's video replay board, but the play was ruled an incompletion; Penn State had rallied from a 35–13 deficit with 9 minutes left in the game to tie the score at 35, and were driving on their first possession in overtime for a touchdown to tie the game at 42. Penn State failed on fourth down and Iowa held on for the win.[60]

Just weeks later, in the final minute of the Michigan game, the same wide receiver, Johnson, made a catch, which would have given Penn State a first down and put them in range for a game winning field goal. Although Johnson was ruled out of bounds, replays clearly showed that Johnson had both feet in bounds and the catch would have been complete.[61]

In 2004, the Big Ten Conference became the first college football conference to adopt a form of instant replay. The previous two incidents, along with Paterno's public objections, and the Big Ten's Clockgate controversy, are often cited as catalysts for its adoption.[62] Within the next year, almost all of the Division I-A conferences adopted a form of instant replay based on the Big Ten model.[63]

Outside of footballPhilanthropy and educationIn addition to his legacy as a coach, Paterno is highly regarded for his contributions to academic life at Penn State. After the announcement of his hiring in 1966, Paterno set out to conduct what he called a "Grand Experiment" in melding athletics and academics in the collegiate environment, an idea that he had learned during his years at Brown.[64] As a result, Penn State's players have consistently demonstrated above-average academic success compared to Division I-A schools nationwide. According to the NCAA's 2008 Graduation Rates Report, Penn State's four-year Graduation Success Rate of 78% easily exceeds the 67% Division I average, second to only Northwestern among Big Ten institutions.[65]

Paterno is also renowned for his charitable contributions to academics at Penn State. He and his wife Sue have contributed over $4 million towards various departments and colleges, including support for the Penn State All-Sports Museum, which opened in 2002, and the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, which opened in 2003.[66] After helping raise over $13.5 million in funds for the 1997 expansion of Pattee Library, the University named the expansion Paterno Library in their honor.[67]

In 2007, former player Franco Harris and his company R Super Foods honored Paterno for his contributions to Penn State by featuring his story and picture on boxes of Super Donuts and Super Buns in Central PA. A portion of the sales will be donated to an endowment fund for the university library that bears his name.[68]

Political interestsPaterno is a political conservative and a personal friend of former President George H.W. Bush, endorsing the then-candidate in a speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention.[64] Paterno was also a close personal friend of President Gerald R. Ford.[69] In 2004, his son Scott Paterno, an attorney, won the Republican primary for Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district but lost in the November general election to Democratic incumbent Tim Holden.[70]

"I brought my kids up to think for themselves since day one," Joe Paterno said in 2008. "I got a son who's a Republican, who ran for Congress, Scott. I'm a Republican. I've got a son, Jay, who's for Obama. I've got a daughter, who I'm pretty sure she's going to be for Hillary. So God bless America."[71]

Personal lifeFamilyWhile serving as an assistant coach, Paterno met freshman Susan Pohland, an English literature honors student, at the campus library. Paterno and Pohland, a Latrobe native 13 years his junior, married in 1962, the year she graduated. They have five children: Diana, Joseph Jr. "Jay", Mary Kay, David, and Scott. All of their children are Penn State graduates, and Jay Paterno was the quarterbacks coach at Penn State until his departure following the hiring of new head coach Bill O'Brien (American football) on January 7, 2012. The Paternos have seventeen grandchildren.

Paterno and his wife co-authored the children's book We Are Penn State!,[72] which takes place during a typical Penn State homecoming weekend.

In the wake of the Sandusky scandal, it was reported that Paterno had transferred whole interest in his house, valued at over $500,000, to his wife "for a dollar plus 'love and affection'" in July 2011. While a lawyer for Paterno stated that the transfer was part of a "multiyear estate planning program", others claimed it seemed more likely a preparatory move in case personal liability was found relative to the scandal.[73]

Failing health and deathIn November 2006, Paterno was involved in a sideline collision during a game against Wisconsin. He was unable to avoid the play and was struck in the knee by Badgers linebacker DeAndre Levy's helmet. Paterno, then 79 years old, suffered a fractured shin bone and damage to knee ligaments.[74] He coached the 2007 Outback Bowl from the press box before making a full recovery.[75][76]

In November 2008, Paterno had successful hip replacement surgery after spraining his leg while trying to demonstrate onside kicks during a practice session.[77] While recovering he coached the remainder of the season and the 2009 Rose Bowl from the press box.[78] After sustaining these injuries, he made use of a motorized golf cart to move around the field during practices.

Paterno was injured again in August 2011 after colliding with a player during practice. He sustained hairline fractures to his hip and shoulder. No surgery was required, but Paterno began the 2011 regular season schedule in a wheelchair.

In November 2011, Scott Paterno reported that his father had a treatable form of lung cancer.[79]

On January 22, 2012, Paterno succumbed to his cancer and died in State College, Pennsylvania. He had been in the hospital since January 13 of the same year.[80]

Head coaching recordPaterno has a career record of 409 wins, 136 losses, and 3 ties.[81] In his 46 seasons as a head coach, he has had 38 winning seasons, one more than Bear Bryant. Based on the criteria used by the NCAA, Paterno holds the record for most victories by a Division I-A/FBS football coach, passing Eddie Robinson's 408 victories on October 29, 2011 against Illinois.[82]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Penn State Nittany Lions (Independent) (1966–1992)
1966 Penn State 5–5
1967 Penn State 8–2–1 T Gator 11 10
1968 Penn State 11–0 W Orange 3 2
1969 Penn State 11–0 W Orange 2 2
1970 Penn State 7–3 19 18
1971 Penn State 11–1 W Cotton 11 5
1972 Penn State 10–2 L Sugar 8 10
1973 Penn State 12–0 W Orange 5 5
1974 Penn State 10–2 W Cotton 7 7
1975 Penn State 9–3 L Sugar Bowl 10 10
1976 Penn State 7–5 L Gator
1977 Penn State 11–1 W Fiesta 4 5
1978 Penn State 11–1 L Sugar 4 4
1979 Penn State 8–4 W Liberty 18 20
1980 Penn State 10–2 W Fiesta 8 8
1981 Penn State 10–2 W Fiesta 3 3
1982 Penn State 11–1 W Sugar 1 1
1983 Penn State 8–4–1 W Aloha 17
1984 Penn State 6–5
1985 Penn State 11–1 L Orange 3 3
1986 Penn State 12–0 W Fiesta 1 1
1987 Penn State 8–4 L Citrus
1988 Penn State 5–6
1989 Penn State 8–3–1 W Holiday 14 15
1990 Penn State 9–3 L Blockbuster 10 11
1991 Penn State 11–2 W Fiesta 3 3
1992 Penn State 7–5 L Blockbuster 24
Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten Conference) (1993–2011)
1993 Penn State 10–2 6–2 3rd W Citrus 7 8
1994 Penn State 12–0 8–0 1st W Rose 2 2
1995 Penn State 9–3 5–3 T–3rd W Outback 12 13
1996 Penn State 11–2 6–2 T–3rd W Fiesta 7 7
1997 Penn State 9–3 6–2 T–2nd L Citrus 17 16
1998 Penn State 9–3 5–3 5th W Outback 15 17
1999 Penn State 10–3 5–3 T–4th W Alamo 11 11
2000 Penn State 5–7 4–4 T–6th
2001 Penn State 5–6 4–4 T–4th
2002 Penn State 9–4 5–3 4th L Capital One 15 16
2003 Penn State 3–9 1–7 T–8th
2004 Penn State 4–7 2–6 9th
2005 Penn State 11–1 7–1 T–1st W Orange † 3 3
2006 Penn State 9–4 5–3 T–4th W Outback 25 24
2007 Penn State 9–4 4–4 T–5th W Alamo 25
2008 Penn State 11–2 7–1 T–1st L Rose † 8 8
2009 Penn State 11–2 6–2 T–2nd W Capital One 8 9
2010 Penn State 7–6 4–4 T–4th L Outback
2011 Penn State 8–1[n 1] 5–0[n 1] (Leaders)[n 1]
Penn State: 409–136–3 95–54
Total: 409–136–3
National championship Conference title Conference division title
†Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
See alsoList of College Football Hall of Fame inductees (coaches)
List of college football coaches with 200 wins
Notes^ a b c Paterno coached the first nine games of the season before he was fired on November 9. Tom Bradley was named interim head coach to replace him.


Etta James is Dead

Buy At Last on iTunes

Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer whose style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in the mid 1950s, she gained fame with hits such as "Dance With Me, Henry", "At Last", "Tell Mama", and "I'd Rather Go Blind" for which she claimed she wrote the lyrics.[1] She faced a number of personal problems including drug addiction before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album, The Seven Year Itch.[2]

She is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008.[3] Rolling Stone ranked James number twenty-two on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number sixty-two on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.[4][5]



[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life and career: 1938–1959

Jamesetta Hawkins was born on January 25, 1938 in Los Angeles to Dorothy Hawkins, who was only fourteen at the time. Her father has never been identified but was rumored to be possibly white.[6] James speculated that her father was the pool player, Rudolf "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone, and met him briefly in 1987.[7] Due to her mother being often absent carrying on relationships with various men, James lived with a series of caregivers, most notably "Sarge" and "Mama" Lu. James called her mother "the Mystery Lady".[6]

James received her first professional vocal training at the age of five from James Earle Hines, musical director of the Echoes of Eden choir, at the St. Paul Baptist Church in Los Angeles. She became a popular singing attraction at the church, and Sarge tried to pressure the church into paying him money for her singing, but they refused. During drunken poker games at home, he would wake James up in the early hours of the morning and force her through beatings to sing for his friends. As she was a bed-wetter, and often soaked with her own urine on these occasions, the trauma of being forced to sing meant she had a life-long reluctance to sing on demand.[8]

In 1950 Mama Lu died, and James' real mother took her to the Fillmore district in San Francisco.[9] Within a couple of years, James began listening to doo-wop and was inspired to form a girl group, called the Creolettes (due to the members' light skinned complexions). The 14-year-old girls met musician Johnny Otis. Stories on how they met vary including Otis' version in which James had come to his hotel after one of his performances in the city and persuaded him to audition her. Another story came that Otis spotted the group performing at a Los Angeles nightclub and sought them to record his "answer song" to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me, Annie". Nonetheless, Otis took the group under his wing, helping them sign to Modern Records and changing their name from the Creolettes to the Peaches and gave the singer her stage name reversing Jamesetta into Etta James. James recorded the version, which she was allowed to co-author, in 1954, and the song was released in early 1955 as "Dance with Me, Henry". Originally the name of the song was "Roll With Me, Henry" but was changed to avoid censorship due to the subtle title. In February of that year, the song reached number-one on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Tracks chart.[10] Its success gave the group an opening spot on Little Richard's national tour.[11]

While on tour with Richard, pop singer Georgia Gibbs recorded her version of James' song, which was released under the title "The Wallflower", and became a crossover hit, reaching number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, which angered James. After leaving the Peaches, James had another R&B hit with "Good Rockin' Daddy", but struggled with follow-ups. When her contract with Modern came up in 1960, she decided to sign with Leonard Chess' namesake label, Chess Records, and shortly afterwards got involved in a relationship with singer Harvey Fuqua, founder of the doo-wop group, The Moonglows.

[edit] Chess years: 1960–1978

James was put on the Chess subsidiary label Argo (and later recorded with another subsidiary, Cadet) and had her first hit singles under duets with Fuqua including "If I Can't Have You" and "Spoonful". Her first solo hit was the doo-wop styled rhythm and blues number, "All I Could Do Was Cry", becoming a number-two R&B hit.[12] Leonard Chess had envisioned James as a classic ballad stylist who had potential to cross over to the pop charts and soon surrounded the singer with violins and other string instruments.[12] The first string-laden ballad James recorded was "My Dearest Darling", which peaked in the top five of the R&B chart. James was notable singing background vocals on label mate Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA".[13]

Her debut album, At Last!, was released in late 1960 and was noted for its varied choice in music from jazz standards to blues numbers to doo-wop and R&B.[14] The album also included James' future classic, "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and "A Sunday Kind of Love". In early 1961, James released what has become her signature song, "At Last", which reached number two on the R&B chart and number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though the song wasn't as successful as expected, it has become the most remembered version of the song.[13] James followed that up with "Trust in Me", which also included string instruments.[12] Later that same year, James released a second studio album, The Second Time Around. The album took the same direction as her previous album, covering many jazz and pop standards, and using strings on many of the songs spawning two hit singles, "The Fool That I Am" and "Don't Cry Baby".[15]

James started adding gospel elements in her music the following year releasing "Something's Got a Hold on Me", which peaked at number-four on the R&B chart and was also a top 40 pop hit.[16] That success was quickly followed by "Stop the Wedding", which reached number six on the R&B charts and also had gospel elements.[13] In 1963, she had another major hit with "Pushover" and released the live album, Etta James Rocks the House, which was recorded at the New Era Club in Nashville, Tennessee.[12] After a couple years scoring minor hits, James' career started to suffer after 1965. After a period of isolation, James returned to recording in 1967 and reemerged with more ballsy R&B numbers thanks to her recording at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama releasing her comeback hit "Tell Mama", which was co-written by Clarence Carter and reached number ten R&B and number twenty-three pop. An album of the same name was also released that year and included her take of Otis Redding's "Security".[17] The B-side of "Tell Mama" was "I'd Rather Go Blind", which became a blues classic in its own right and was recorded by many other artists. She wrote in her autobiography Rage To Survive that she heard the song outlined by her friend Ellington "Fugi" Jordan when she visited him in prison.[18] According to her account, she wrote the rest of the song with Jordan, but for tax reasons gave her songwriting credit to her partner at the time, Billy Foster.

Following this success, James became an on-demand concert performer though she never again reached the heyday of her early-to-mid 1960s success. She continued to chart in the R&B Top 40 in the early 1970s with singles such as "Loser Weepers" (1971) and "I Found a Love" (1972). Though James continued to record for Chess, she was devastated by the death of Chess founder Leonard Chess in 1969. James ventured into rock and funk with the release of her self-titled album in 1973 with production from famed rock producer Gabriel Mekler, who had worked with Steppenwolf and Janis Joplin, who had admired James and had covered "Tell Mama" in concert. The album, known for its mixtures of musical styles, was nominated for a Grammy Award.[17] The album didn't produce any major hits, neither did the follow-up, Out On the Street Again, in 1974, though like Etta James before it, the album was also critically acclaimed. James continued to record for Chess releasing two more albums in 1978, Etta Is Betta Than Evah and Deep in the Night, which saw the singer incorporating more rock-based music in her repertoire.[12] That same year, James was the opening act for The Rolling Stones and also performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival. Following this brief success, however, she left Chess Records and didn't record for another ten years as she struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism for the better part of a decade.

[edit] Later career: 1988–2012

Etta James in 1990

Though she continued to perform, little was heard of Etta James until 1987 when she was seen performing "Rock & Roll Music" with Chuck Berry on his "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll" documentary. In 1989, James signed with Island Records and released the album, The Seven Year Itch, which was noted for bringing back the older raw sound of previous records.[16] The album was produced by Jerry Wexler, who had worked on Deep in the Night.[13] She released a second album in 1989 titled Stickin' to My Guns. Both albums were recorded at FAME Studios.[17] James participated in rap singer Def Jef for the song "Droppin' Rhymes on Drums", which mixed James' jazz vocals with hip-hop. In 1992, James released The Right Time on Elektra Records and the following year, James was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[10] James signed with Private Music Records in 1993 and recorded the Billie Holiday tribute album, Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday.[16] The album later set a trend for James' music to incorporate more jazz elements.[12] The album won James her first Grammy Awards for best jazz vocal performance in 1994. In 1995, she released the David Ritz-co authored autobiography, A Rage to Survive, and recorded the album, Time After Time. Three years later she issued the Christmas album, Etta James Christmas, in 1998.[12]

By the mid-1990s, James' earlier classic music was included in commercials including, most notably, "I Just Wanna Make Love to You". Due to exposure of the song in a UK commercial, the song reached the top ten of the UK charts in 1996.[10] Continuing to record for Private Music, she released the blues album, Matriarch of the Blues, in 2000, which had James returning back to her R&B roots with Rolling Stone hailing it as a "solid return to roots", further stating that the album found the singer "reclaiming her throne - and defying anyone to knock her off it."[16] In 2001, she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, the latter for her contributions to the developments of both rock and roll music and rockabilly. In 2003, she received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Her 2004 release, Blue Gardenia, returned James to a jazz music style. James' final album for Private Music, Let's Roll, was released in 2005 and won James a Grammy for best contemporary blues album.[19]

In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked her #62 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.[20] James has performed at the top world jazz festivals in the world, such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1977, 1989, 1990 and 1993,[21] performed nine times at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival, and the San Francisco Jazz Festival five times. She also performs often at free city outdoor summer arts festivals throughout the US.

In 2008, James was portrayed by Beyoncé Knowles in the film, Cadillac Records, loosely based on the rise and fall of James' label of 18 years, Chess Records, and how label founder and producer Leonard Chess helped the career of James and other label mates, though it was noted that James was successful prior to her signing with Chess Records.[22] The film also portrayed that "At Last" was a huge pop hit upon its release but the single was only a minor charted single when it was initially released and James had bigger hits following its release. It also indicated James and Chess, who were realistically 21 years apart from each other, were lovers but that was also inaccurate. Though James and Knowles were later seen at a red carpet event following the film's release embracing each other, James expressed her displeasure with Knowles at a Seattle concert in January 2009 after Knowles sang her song, "At Last", at the first inaugural ball for Barack Obama a few days before claiming she "can't stand Beyoncé" and that Knowles would "get her ass whipped".[23] James later said that her remarks about Knowles was a joke, but admitted she was hurt that she was not invited to sing her song and that she could've performed it better.[24]

In April 2009, the 71-year-old James made her final television appearance performing "At Last" during an appearance on Dancing with the Stars. In May 2009, James was awarded as the Soul/Blues Female Artist of the Year by the Blues Foundation, the ninth time James had won the award. James carried on touring but by 2010 had to cancel concert dates to her gradually failing health after it was revealed that she was suffering from dementia and leukemia. In November 2011, James released her final album, The Dreamer, which was critically acclaimed upon its release. James announced via her manager's statement that this would be her final album. On 8th January 2012 her continuing relevance was affirmed when Flo Rida reached number 1 in the UK singles chart with the song "Good Feeling" that samples her song "Something's Got a Hold on Me", while Avicii's Levels also charted well globally, utilising the same sample.

[edit] Style and influence

James's musical style changed during the course of her career. When beginning her recording career in the mid-50s, James was marketed as an R&B and doo wop singer.[12] After signing with Chess Records in 1960, James broke through as a traditional pop-styled singer, covering jazz and pop music standards on her debut album, At Last![25] James's voice has deepened and coarsened in the past ten years, moving her musical style in these later years into the genres of soul and jazz.[12]

Etta James had once been considered one of the most overlooked blues and R&B musicians in American music history. It wasn't until the early 1990s when James began receiving major industry awards from the Grammys and the Blues Foundation that she began to receive wide recognition. In 2011 James was voted one the Best Singers On Earth by viewers to Btoe the multimedia website founded by Colin Larkin creator of the Encyclopedia of Popular Music. In recent years, she has been seen as bridging the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll. James has influenced a wide variety of American musicians including Diana Ross, Beyoncé, Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, Christina Aguilera,[16] and Hayley Williams of Paramore[citation needed] as well as British artists The Rolling Stones,[citation needed] Rod Stewart, Elkie Brooks,[26] Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith,[27] Joss Stone[28] and Adele.[29]

[edit] Personal life

James encountered a string of legal problems during the early 1970s due to her heroin addiction. She was continuously in and out of rehabilitation centers, including the Tarzana Rehabilitation Center, in Los Angeles, California. Her husband Artis Mills, whom she married in 1969, accepted responsibility when they were both arrested for heroin possession and served a 10-year prison sentence.[30] He was released from prison in 1982 and is still married to James.[16] She was also arrested around the same time for her drug addiction, accused of cashing bad checks, forgery and possession of heroin.[31] In 1974, James was sentenced to drug treatment instead of serving time in prison. She was in the Tarzana Psychiatric Hospital for 17 months, at age 36, and went through a great struggle at the start of treatment. She later stated in her autobiography that the time she spent in the hospital changed her life. However, after leaving treatment, her substance abuse continued into the 1980s, after she developed a relationship with a man who was also using drugs. In 1988, at the age of 50, she entered the Betty Ford Center, in Palm Springs, California, for treatment.[16] In 2010, she received treatment for a dependency on painkillers.[32]

James had two sons, Donto and Sametto. Both started performing with their mother in 2003 – Donto on drums and Sametto on bass guitar.[33]

[edit] Illness and death

James was hospitalized in January 2010 to treat an infection caused by MRSA. During her hospitalization, her son Donto revealed that James had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008, and attributed her previous comments about Beyoncé Knowles to "drug induced dementia".[34]

On January 14, 2011, it was announced that James had been diagnosed with leukemia and was undergoing treatment.[35] She was hospitalized in May 2011 with a urinary tract infection and the blood infection known as sepsis.[36] On December 16, 2011, it was announced that she was under 24-hour care and is terminally ill from the cancer she has been battling throughout 2011.[37] Her manager, Lupe De Leon, stated to the media that she is "in the final stages of leukemia", has been diagnosed with both dementia and Hepatitis C, has been placed on oxygen, is receiving constant care from her husband, and is being visited regularly by her sons. De Leon went on to say, "We're all very sad. We're just waiting..."[38] On December 19, 2011, James's husband and sons reached a deal on managing her estate and medical care. A judge ruled that the amount of money available to Artis Mills, her husband and estate conservator, was to be $350,000 USD.[39] On December 23, 2011, James reportedly had to be rushed to a hospital after having breathing problems and was placed on a breathing machine. On December 30, 2011, James was taken off of the machine after being able to breathe on her own. De Leon said the singer's blood pressure had also returned to normal.[40]After nearly a month from being declared terminally ill, Etta James' longtime friend and manager on January 5, 2012 said the singer had been released from a Southern California hospital. Fifteen days later and five days before her seventy-fourth birthday, she lost her battle with leukemia and other diseases.[41][42]

[edit] Discography

[edit] Awards

Since 1989, James has received over 30 awards and recognitions from eight different organisations, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences which organises the Grammys.

In 1989, the newly formed Rhythm and Blues Foundation included James in their first Pioneer Awards for artists whose "lifelong contributions have been instrumental in the development of Rhythm & Blues music".[43] The following year, 1990, she received an NAACP Image Award, which is given for "outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts";[44] an award she cherished as it "was coming from my own people".[45]

[edit] Grammys

James has received six Grammy Awards. Her first was in 1994, when she was awarded Best Jazz Vocal Performance for the album Mystery Lady, which consisted of covers of Billie Holiday songs.[48] Two other albums have also won awards, Let's Roll (Best Contemporary Blues Album) in 2003, and Blues To The Bone (Best Traditional Blues Album) in 2004. Two of her early songs have been given Grammy Hall of Fame Awards for "qualitative or historical significance": "At Last", in 1999,[49] and "The Wallflower (Dance with Me, Henry)" in 2008.[50] In 2003, she was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[51]

[edit] Blues Foundation

The members of the Blues Foundation, a non-profit organization set up in Memphis, Tennessee to foster the blues and its heritage,[52] have nominated James for a Blues Music Award nearly every year since its founding in 1980; and she has received some form of Blues Female Artist of the Year award 14 times since 1989, continuously from 1999 to 2007.[53] In addition, the albums Life, Love, & The Blues (1999), Burnin' Down The House (2003), and Let's Roll (2004) were awarded Soul/Blues Album of the Year,[53] and in 2001 she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.[48]

[edit] Further reading

[edit] References

  1. ^ Etta James, David Ritz. Rage to survive: the Etta James story. Da Capo Press, 2003. p. 173. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  2. ^ Liz Sonneborn (2002). A to Z of American women in the performing arts. Infobase Publishing. p. 116. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  3. ^ Down Beat Magazine July 27, 2007 Etta James Hospitalized, Tour Suspended
  4. ^ "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  5. ^ "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  6. ^ a b Bob Gulla (2008). Icons of R&B and Soul. ABC-CLIO. p. 149. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  7. ^ Denise Quan (September 25, 2002). "CNN.com - A life singing the blues". Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  8. ^ Etta James, David Ritz. Rage to Survive: the Etta James Story. Da Capo Press, 2003. p. 20. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  9. ^ Etta James, David Ritz. Rage to Survive: the Etta James Story. Da Capo Press, 2003. p. 31. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  10. ^ a b c "Etta James – inductee". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2006-11-23. Retrieved 2006-12-05.
  11. ^ White, Charles (2003), pp. 68, 78. The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorised Biography. Omnibus Press.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dahl, Bill. "Etta James > Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  13. ^ a b c d "Etta James: Biography". Rolling Stone.com. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  14. ^ Cook, Stephen. "At Last! album review". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  15. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Second Time Around album review". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Etta James Biography". Musician Guide.com. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  17. ^ a b c Larkin, Collin. "Etta James Biography". oldies.com. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  18. ^ Etta James and David Ritz, Rage To Survive, 1995, ISBN 0-306-80812-9
  19. '^ "Etta James awards". Grammy.com. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  20. ^ The Immortals, the First fify. 946. Rolling Stone.
  21. ^ Montreux Jazz Festival Database[dead link]
  22. ^ "Beyonce To Portray Legendary Blues Singer Etta James In 'Cadillac Records'". MTV.com. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  23. ^ "Etta James to Beyonce: I'll Whoop Your Ass!". TMZ.com. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  24. ^ "Etta James says rip on Beyonce was a joke". MSNBC. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  25. ^ Dahl, Bill. "Tell Mama album review". allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
  26. ^ "Book Elkie Brooks with JazzCo". Jazzbookings.com. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  27. ^ "Who is Paloma Faith?". 4Music. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  28. ^ "100 Greatest Artists of all Time:Etta James". www.rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  29. ^ "Interview: Adele – Archive | State Magazine". State.ie. 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
  30. ^ "How Etta Got Her Groove Back". People.com. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  31. ^ "Etta James". NNDB.com. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
  32. ^ "Son says singer Etta James changes hospitals". USA Today. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  33. ^ Thor Christensen (23 April 2004). "James pours heart, soul into set To the 'Last'". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  34. ^ "Hospitalized Etta James battling Alzheimer's, infection, son says". CNN. 2010-01-30. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  35. ^ "US blues singer Etta James treated for leukaemia". BBC. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  36. ^ Dobuzinskis, Alex (2011-05-13). "Etta James hospitalised with blood infection". Uk.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  37. ^ ""At Last" singer Etta James is terminally ill - Celebrity Circuit". CBS News. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  38. ^ Hibberd, James (2011-12-16). "Etta James in 'final stages of leukemia' | News Briefs | EW.com". News-briefs.ew.com. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  39. ^ "Court deal reached on managing Etta James' estate". newstimes.com. December 20, 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  40. ^ "Etta James' condition better, taken off respirator". Associated Press via USA Today. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  41. ^ [1]
  42. ^ http://www.pe.com/local-news/breaking-news-headlines/20120120-riverside-media-outlets-reporting-etta-james-has-died.ece
  43. ^ "Rhythm & Blues Foundation - Preserving America’s Soul". Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  44. ^ "The 42nd NAACP Image Awards - History". Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  45. ^ Etta James, David Ritz. Rage to Survive: the Etta James Story. Da Capo Press, 2003. p. 256.
  46. ^ "Recording Academy Honors Etta James, Simon & Garfunkel, Alan Lomax | News". BMI.com. 2002-12-08. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  47. ^ Up for Discussion Jump to Forums. "Billboard Honors Etta James". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  48. ^ a b Bob Gulla (2008). Icons of R&B and Soul. ABC-CLIO. p. 164. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  49. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame Induction". Grammy.org. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  50. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame Induction". Grammy.org. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  51. ^ Greg Winter (Dec 2002). CMJ New Music Report - Music News. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  52. ^ "The Blues Foundation: About The Blues Foundation". Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  53. ^ a b "The Blues Foundation: Past Blues Music Awards". Retrieved 22 May 2011.