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Joe Paterno Biography

Growing Up, Happy In Happy Valley, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Moving On UpCONTACT INFORMATION


American college football coach

Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno is a living legend. With his thick glasses, khaki slacks (always a bit too short), and his Penn State windbreaker, Paterno is one of the most recognizable coaches in this history of football—college or professional. And he deserves the recognition. Since taking over the head coaching position at Pennsylvania State University in 1966, he has amassed five undefeated seasons, more bowl wins than any coach in college football (including three national championships), and risen to earn the title "the winningest active coach in college football." Paterno has also been voted coach of the year an amazing four times by the American Football Coaches Association.

But he is more than just a coach. He is a tenured professor, too, and to his players he is like a father, more so than most coaches could even dream of being. He instills in every member of his team that being well-rounded supercedes singular successes on the football field. "In an era of college football in which it seems everybody's hand is either in the till or balled up in a fist," writes Rick Reilly in Sports Illustrated, "Paterno sticks out like a clean thumb."


Address: Office—234 Recreation Building, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.

Sketch by Eric Lagergren

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