M apologized to Penn State after a student leader mocked Joe Paterno by telling a crowd that the 81-year-old coach needs ``a casket.''
M on Saturday night in the Alamo Bowl.
M yell leader, during a pep rally Thursday night, told the crowd that Paterno was ``on his death bed'' and ``someone needs to find him a casket.'' The remarks drew boos from the crowd.
M team spokesman Alan Cannon said Friday he did not know the name of the yell leader, though the student has been sent home.
M's official ``spirit'' organization and lead fans' cheers during games and other school events. They are elected by the student body.
Paterno, at a news conference Friday at the Alamodome, said he was backstage with Aggies interim coach Gary Darnell when the comments were made, but did not hear them.
``I think everybody has to take things with a grain of salt,'' Paterno said. ``Some young guy went up there, trying to be funny. Maybe he's accurate, I don't know.''
M's interim president, Eddie Davis, and athletic director Bill Byrne later apologized to their Penn State counterparts.
``I honestly didn't hear it, and I don't particularly care about it,'' Paterno said Friday. ``Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you.''
Paterno, a 42-year head-coaching veteran, is about to enter the last year of a four-year contract that expires following the 2008 season.
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