It was announced this week that Joe Paterno will headline twelve former players and another coach in the 2007 College Football Hall of Fame class. He was supposed to inducted to the Hall in December 2006, but it was delayed a year after he injured his knee in the Wisconsin game.
Joe began his Penn State career in 1950 right after his graduation from Brown University. He coached under fellow Hall of Fame coach Rip Engle for 15 years before taking over the head coaching job himself. 2007 will be his 57th season at Penn State and 42nd season as head coach.
As has been pointed out here by some very wise commenters, Joe revolutionized the concept of the student athlete. Back in an age when schools had unlimited scholarships and poor graduation rates, JoePa believed it was possible to field a team that was competitive on the field as well as in the classroom. It was such a foreign idea, writers would call it "The Grand Experiment". Forty years later the experiment is still reality, and the NCAA has adopted new rules that make the "Penn State Way" the new standard.
Joe and his wife Sue have been tremendous philanthropists for Penn State. Throughout the years they have donated over $4 million to various colleges and scholarships. In the 90's he was the chairman of the committee tasked with raising money to build a new library for the University. With an initial goal to raise $11 million, Paterno was able to raise over $14 million including $1 million of his own money. To show their gratitude, the university named the new building the Paterno Library.
Along the way, Joe has also won a few football games. 363 to date which is good enough for second all time among Division I-A coaches only three behind Bobby Bowden. The other coach being inducted this year, Herb Deromedi of Central Michigan, doesn't have one third as many victories (110). Joe has more bowl appearances (33) and victories (22) than any other coach. He is the only coach to claim victories in the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Cotton, and Orange bowls. He has coached five unbeaten untied teams and won two National Championships. Five times he was named National Coach of the Year.
In his career he has coached 73 First Team All-Americans, 15 National Scholar Athletes, 300 players that went on to the NFL, and seven players currently in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Some Fun Facts About Joe Paterno
Joe still owns a share of the career interception record for Brown University with 14.
When Joe started his career at Penn State:
- Harry Truman was President
- The average vehicle cost $1,750
- Gasoline cost 27 cents per gallon
- A loaf of bread cost 14 cents
- Postage stamps were 3 cents
- The average home cost $14,500
- The minimum wage was 75 cents per hour
- The average annual salary was $3,800
Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good.
Publicity is like poison; it doesn't hurt unless you swallow it.
Act like you've been there (the endzone) before.
It's the name on the front of the jersey that matters most, not the name on the back.
You're never as good as you think you are when you win, and you're never as bad as you think you are when you lose.
You need to play with supreme confidence, or else you'll lose again, and then losing becomes a habit.
Congratulations, coach. It's an honor to have known you all these years.
Please share your favorite JoePa stories in the comments.
The world needs more men like JoePa