Biographies - Joe Paterno
Image Source: Joe Paterno @ Wikipedia
|Joe Paterno |
|Born: December 21, 1926|
|Died: January 22, 2012|
Nicknamed "JoePa," he was the iconic head coach of Pennsylvania State University's college football team, a position he held from 1966 until 2011.
This fall will mark Joe Paternos 44th season pacing the sidelines as head coach of the Nittany Lions. He will join another college football legend, Amos Alonzo Stagg, as the only major college coaches to have served 40 years as head coach at a single institution. Stagg was a head coach for 57 years, including 41 at the University of Chicago (1892-1932).
For 55 years and 618 games, Paterno has passionately served the Penn State football program and the university with principle and success with honor. After 16 years as an assistant coach, he was rewarded in 1966 with the head coaching responsibilities surrendered by the retiring Rip Engle, his college coach at Brown who appointed him to the Penn State staff in 1950 as a brash 23-year-old.
He is older now, and wiser, but no less enthusiastic and no less dynamic. He is, simply put, the most successful coach in the history of college football - a fact that was validated during the 2001 season when he moved past Paul "Bear" Bryant to become the leader in career wins by a major college coach. He also is one of the most admired figures in college athletics, an acknowledged icon whose influence extends well beyond the white chalk lines of the football field. "Even though he is enormously successful at it, from the perspective of meaningful contributions to society, the least important thing Joe Paterno does is coach football," sports columnist Bill Lyon told his readers in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Entering his 40th season as head coach and 56th on the staff, Paterno has faced every situation imaginable on the gridiron and has used his preparation, experience and understanding of the game he loves to respond and keep the Penn State program among the nations elite for more than 30 years.
A member of the Nittany Lions coaching staff spanning the administrations of 11 U.S. presidents (starting with Harry Truman), Paterno passed Bryant on October 27, 2001 when the Lions secured his 324th victory by rallying from a 27-9 deficit to defeat Ohio State, 29-27, in the greatest Beaver Stadium comeback under the legendary coach. He has posted a 343-116-3 mark in 38 seasons as head coach and ranks second in career wins among major college coaches and fourth all-time.
Paternos winning percentage of 74.5 is sixth-best among active Division I-A coaches and he is second all-time in games coached (462) among major college coaches.
Paterno is the all-time leader among coaches in bowl appearances (31) and postseason triumphs (20). The Nittany Lions are 14-6 in New Years Day games under Paterno. His overall postseason record of 20-10-1 gives him a winning percentage of 66.1, ranking him No. 3 among the bowl seasons best of all-time.
Since Paterno took over in 1966, Penn State has had 69 first-team All-Americans, claiming three in 2002. Over the same span, the Lions have counted 14 Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes, 23 first-team Academic All-Americans (31 overall) and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners. Safety Andrew Guman earned first team Academic All-America honors in 2004 and center Joe Iorio earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was a first Academic All-American in 2002.
Paternos coaching portfolio includes two National Championships (1982, 1986); five undefeated, untied teams; 20 finishes in the Top Ten of the national rankings; four AFCA Coach-of-the-Year plaques, and more than 250 former players who have made it to the National Football League, 29 of them first-round draft choices. A school record four Nittany Lions were selected in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft.
His teams have registered seven undefeated regular-seasons and he has had 26 teams finish in the Top 20. Penn State has won the Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy, emblematic of Eastern football supremacy 21 times in Paternos coaching run.
Since 1966, there have been 764 head coaching changes among Division I-A programs, an average of more than six changes per I-A institution!
Paterno is the only coach to win the four traditional New Years Day bowl games - the Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange bowls - and he owns a 6-0 record in the Fiesta Bowl. He was selected by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame as the first active coach to receive its Distinguished American Award. Paterno also was the 1986 Sports Illustrated "Sportsman-of-the-Year." In 1998, he was the initial winner of the Eddie Robinson Coach-of-the-Year Award, which recognizes an active college coach who is a role model to students and players, an active member of the community and an accomplished coach.
In 2004, Paterno was recognized twice for his illustrious career. He was selected the second-best college football coach of all-time by a panel of more than 300 media, current and former football coaches, Heisman Trophy winners and members of the College Football Hall of Fame. Paterno also was chosen the nations best college football coach of the past 25 years by an ESPN25 expert panel. He finished No. 8 overall in the listing of college and professional coaches from all sports over the past 25 years.
In 2002, the American Football Coaches Association presented Paterno with its highest honor, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award. The award honors those "whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football."
In a 2000 survey by Bloomberg News of Division I-A head coaches, Paterno was selected the nations best coach. Joe Paterno simply is an unusual football coach...and, an unusual person.
In an exceptional display of generosity and affection for Penn State, Paterno; his wife, Sue, and their five children announced a contribution of $3.5 million to the University in 1998, bringing Paternos lifetime giving total to more than $4 million. The gift appears to be, Penn State Vice President for Development Rod Kirsch said, "the most generous ever made by a collegiate coach and his family to a university."
The Paterno gift endows faculty positions and scholarships in the College of the Liberal Arts; the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture; the University Libraries and supports two building projects - a new interfaith spiritual center and the Penn State All-Sports Museum, both on the University Park campus. The museum opened in February, 2002 and the spiritual center was dedicated in May, 2003.