Joe Paterno: Dead at 85
UPDATE: We are receiving conflicting news reports that Coach Paterno has NOT passed away
UPDATE: The Paterno family has confirmed that Coach has passed away.
All of the news surrounding Penn State as of late has had a bit of an emotional hold on me, personally – primarily for the fact that I was supposed to go to Penn State back in the late 80s and early 90s. Thus, the news that Coach Paterno has passed is a sad state of events.
The Huffington Post has reported that Coach Paterno has lost his battle with lung cancer, a the age of 85. This is still being validated. STAY TUNED!!!
As the story is still developing, much additional information still hasn’t been released.
We will continue to monitor and report as additional information comes out.
To talk about his college sports career is hopefully how we’ll remember Coach. To that end, here is a synopsis of the storied career (the good and not so good) that was…Joe Paterno.
Paterno’s abbreviated 2011 season was his 62nd on the Penn State coaching staff, which gave him the record for most seasons for any football coach at any university.
The 2009 season was Paterno’s 44th as head coach of the Nittany Lions, passing Amos Alonzo Stagg for the most years as head coach at a single institution in Division I.
Paterno was well-known for his gameday image—thick glasses, rolled-up pants (by his admission, to save on cleaning bills), white socks and Brooklyn-tinged speech.
The Pittsburgh Steelers offered their head coach position to Paterno in 1969, an offer he considered seriously. The Steelers hired Chuck Noll, who won four Super Bowls in his first 11 years, and coached for an additional twelve seasons.
The New York Giants reportedly offered Paterno their head coaching spot numerous times during the team’s struggles during the 1970s and early 1980s.
Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham contacted Paterno in 1969 to see if Paterno (whom Canham respected and knew personally) would accept the vacant Michigan job. Paterno turned down the offer and Michigan hired Bo Schembechler.
In 1972, Paterno was offered the head coaching position by the New England Patriots. He accepted their offer, but only three weeks later decided to back out of it. The Patriots hired Chuck Fairbanks of Oklahoma instead.
In 1995, Paterno was forced to apologize for a profanity-laced tirade directed at Rutgers then-head coach Doug Graber at the conclusion of a nationally televised game.
He was also accused of “making light of sexual assault” in 2006 by the National Organization for Women which called for his resignation, and was involved in a road rage incident in 2007.
In 2008, due to a litany of football players’ off-the-field legal problems, including 46 Penn State football players having faced 163 criminal charges according to an ESPN analysis of Pennsylvania court records and reports dating to 2002, ESPN questioned Joe Paterno’s and the university’s control over the Penn State football program by producing and airing an ESPN’s Outside the Lines feature covering the subject. Paterno was criticized for his response dismissing the allegations as a “witch hunt”, and chiding reporters for asking about problems.
On November 6, 2010, Paterno recorded his 400th career victory with a 35–21 victory over Northwestern. Facing a 21–0 deficit, Penn State scored 35 unanswered points, tying Paterno’s largest comeback victory as a coach.
On October 29, 2011, Paterno recorded his 409th career victory with a 10–7 victory over Illinois. Facing a 7–3 deficit, Penn State drove 86 yards on their final drive to score a touchdown. A missed 42-yard field goal by Illinois which would have sent the game to overtime secured Paterno’s 409th victory. With this victory, Paterno passed Eddie Robinson to become the winningest head coach in Division I college football. He trails the leader, John Gagliardi of Division III Saint John’s University (Minnesota), by 73 wins.
[stats summarized from Wikipedia]