Paterno, Joe, 1926-2012

Alternative names
Birth 1926-12-21
Death 2012-01-22

Biographical notes:

Born in Brooklyn in 1926, Joseph Vincent Paterno had his first brush with fame in the 1940s when he and his younger brother, George, played for Brown University with Joe at quarterback and George at fullback. They led the Bruins to an 8-1 season. In 1950, Paterno decided to forego law school and give coaching a try. In 1950, Joseph V. Paterno came to Penn State as an assistant coach. After turning down a head coaching job at Yale, Paterno was named associate head coach at Penn State in 1965. When coach Charles "Rip" Engle retired at the end of the 1965 season, Paterno took over, finally becoming a Division 1A coach at the age of 39. Following the 1967 Gator Bowl, the Nittany Lions put together two undefeated seasons in a row. He reached his 300th game win milestone in his 380th game, faster than any other football coach. He led the team to two national championships, 21 Lambert trophies, three more undefeated seasons, a Big Ten Championship, and numerous bowl victories. His players included many All-Americans, NFL-bound players, and a plethora of academic All-Americans. In 1998, Coach Joe Paterno, his wife Sue, and their family gave $3.5 million to the University to endow faculty positions and scholarships and to support two building projects. In 2000, the newly constructed Paterno Library was dedicated. The dedication was the culmination of a three-year project that included the construction of Paterno Library and extensive renovation of the adjoining Pattee Library.

From the description of Joseph V. Paterno papers, 1925-2001. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 652102709


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  • Football coaches--Archives


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  • Pennsylvania--University Park (as recorded)