Joe Paterno at a 2010 rally
|Born||(1926-12-21)December 21, 1926
Brooklyn, New York City
|Died||January 22, 2012(2012-01-22) (aged 85)
State College, Pennsylvania
|Penn State (assistant)
|Head coaching record|
|Overall||298–136–3 (111 wins vacated)|
|Bowls||18–12–1 (6 wins vacated)|
College Football Data Warehouse
|Accomplishments and honors|
2 National (1982, 1986)
1 Big Ten (1994)
Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (1986)
5x AFCA COY (1968, 1978, 1982, 1986, 2005)
3x Walter Camp COY (1972, 1994, 2005)
3x Eddie Robinson COY (1978, 1982, 1986)
2x Bobby Dodd COY (1981, 2005)
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (1986)
3x George Munger Award (1990, 1994, 2005)
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (2002)
The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (2005)
Sporting News College Football COY (2005)
3x Big Ten Coach of the Year (1994, 2005, 2008)
|College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2007
Joseph Vincent "Joe" Paterno (/pəˈtɜrnoʊ/; December 21, 1926 – January 22, 2012), sometimes referred to as "JoePa," was an American college football coach who was the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 to 2011. His career ended with his dismissal from the team for his role in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.
Paterno was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended Brown University, where he played football both as the quarterback and a cornerback. Originally planning to be a lawyer, he instead signed on as an assistant football coach at Penn State in 1950, persuaded by his college coach Rip Engle who had taken over as Penn State's head coach. In 1966, Paterno was named as Engle's successor. He soon coached the team to two undefeated regular seasons in 1968 and 1969. The team won two national championships—in 1982 and 1986. Paterno coached five undefeated teams that won major bowl games and, in 2007, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach. In all, he led the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl appearances with 24 wins (six of them later vacated) while turning down offers to coach NFL teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots.
In November 2011, he was fired by the university as a result of the child sex abuse scandal involving his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. An investigation conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh concluded in July 2012 that Paterno concealed facts relating to Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys. The investigation also uncovered information that Paterno may have persuaded university officials not to report Sandusky to authorities in 2001. On July 23, 2012, the NCAA vacated all of Penn State's wins from 1998 through 2011 as part of its punishment for the child sex abuse scandal, eliminating 111 of the games Paterno had coached and won, dropping him from second to 12th on the list of winningest NCAA football coaches.
Paterno died of complications from lung cancer on January 22, 2012.