With the pitiful state of our current economy, people are losing jobs left and right. If you can get a job, do your best to keep it. If you can upgrade, then upgrade. That’s what many athletes do. Go after the big contract and set yourself up for life if at all possible. In this age where loyalty and being in one place forever has lead millions to being fired, a few individuals have stayed for so long that being fired is the absolute last thing that could ever come into mind.

The sports world is unreliable. One moment you can be on top of the world, the next moment you are hiding your face in shame. You can go from worst to best and best to worst in an instant. You can be here today and gone tomorrow. One play, one moment can make or break your career. Some, however, become so legendary that they are known as such. The ones who I am talking about are the special coaches of college sports. They aren’t just leaders of their programs, they are the programs. The thought of their respective schools without them boggles the mind.

Joe Paterno is the most well-known of these living legends. Recently turning 82, Paterno signed a three-year extension that will keep him at Penn Sate until 2012. If he stays healthy and coaches throughout his new extension, he would have been a head coach for 46 years and on the staff for well over 60. His 383 wins are number one all time in college football. He still is a great motivator even after his multiple surgeries, as of late, and still recruits some of the best talent in the country.

Following Joe Paterno in wins by just one is Florida State’s Bobby Bowden. At a young 79, Coach Bowden has been coaching in Tallahassee for 30+ years and has 300 wins there. With only one losing season, Bowden has shown the nation that he is elite in all aspects. It doesn’t hurt that he had a Rhodes Scholar winner as a safety for this past year.

We go from football to basketball, to where we talk about some lady legends. Tennessee Volunteers’ head coach Pat Summitt is Tennessee basketball. She has 994 wins and has multiple national titles, 8, to be exact.  She built up Tennessee women’s basketball and women’s basketball to a national mainstay, and she is well-known the world over. If you doubt her as a coach, just realize this, she is the only individual with two NCAA Division I basketball courts named after her and two different streets on two campuses named after her, as well as, on the Martin and Knoxville campuses of Tennessee.
This next lady is one who I have a soft spot in my heart, as many of us do, she is our own Sandra Kay Yow.  She has been coaching here since 1975 and silently has over 700 wins for NC State.  She has so many wins and has been coaching underneath tougher conditions than anyone else.  For over 20 years she has been fighting breast cancer, this season she stepped down for the rest of the season due to her cancer.  Many say that it’s time for her to step down, but she is Coach Yow, and deserves her chance to make her choice.

For these legends, time looks like it will not run out on them yet, and hopefully they will continue to do what they do best. All I can say is that once they bow out, replacing them will be no easy task.