Paterno, Joe

Paterno, Joe

(Joseph Vincent Paterno) (pətûr`nō), 1926–2012, American football coach, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. A former quarterback at Brown Univ., he joined (1950) the coaching staff at Pennsylvania State Univ. and became (1966) the head coach; his five undefeated seasons and 23 top-ten finishes included two national championships (1982, 1986). In 2001 he surpassed Bear BryantBryant, Bear
(Paul Bryant) , 1913–83, American football coach, b. Moro Bottom, Ark. The son of sharecroppers, he became a Southern culture hero through his football successes. After playing on the Rose Bowl–winning 1935 Univ.
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's record for most games won, placing Paterno first among Division I-A coaches in college football history, and in 2011 he surpassed Eddie RobinsonRobinson, Eddie
(Edward Gay Robinson), 1919–2007, African-American football coach, b. Jackson, La., grad. Leland College, Baker, La. (B.A., 1941), Univ. of Iowa (M.A., 1954). A college quarterback, Robinson was hired upon his graduation by Grambling State Univ.
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's Division I record for most wins.

Widely admired for his loyalty to Penn State, his emphasis on education as well as on sport, and for inculcating a strict moral code of conduct in his players, Paterno was fired in 2011 after public revelations concerning sexual abuse of young boys by a former football coach on his Penn State staff. After the release (2012) of former FBI director Louis I. Freeh's findings that Paterno had known of the abuse and participated in a 14-year coverup, the NCAA sanctioned Penn State, vacating its football victories from 1998 to 2011 and voiding Paterno's records. A 2013 report by former U.S. attorney general Richard Thornburgh, who had been hired by the Paterno family, challenged the conclusions made by Freeh, who had been hired by Penn State.


See biography by J. Posnanski (2012).

Paterno, (Joseph Vincent) Joe

(1926–  ) football coach; born in New York City. As a quarterback at Brown at the end of the 1940s, he set several school records. As head coach of Penn State University (1966) he not only took the Nittany Lions to numerous bowl games and national championships in 1982 and 1986, he also became widely admired for his loyalty to the school.