Dead, Joseph Vincent “Joe” Paterno on January 22, 2012, he was an American college football player and coach who was the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 to 2011.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on December 21, 1926, 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 college Paterno was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Upsilon chapter).
He played quarterback and cornerback for the Brown Bears, and shares the career record for interceptions with Greg Parker at 14.
Paterno graduated in 1950.
Although his father asked, “For God’s sake, what did you go to college for?” after hearing of his career choice, Paterno joined Rip Engle as an assistant coach at Penn State in 1950; Engle had coached five seasons, 1944–1949, at Brown.
In 1995, Paterno apologized for a tirade directed at Rutgers then-head coach Doug Graber at the end of a nationally televised game.
Paterno was accused of “making light of sexual assault” in 2006 by the National Organization for Women which called for his resignation, though Penn State later categorized this incident as being “taken out of context” and never seriously considered asking for Paterno’s resignation.
Paterno also 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 May 16, 2006, Paterno was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame after the National Football Foundation decided to change its rules and allow any coach over the age of 75 to be eligible for the Hall of Fame instead of having to wait until retirement.
However, on November 4, 2006, he was injured during a sideline collision during a game against Wisconsin.
As a result of his injuries, he was unable to travel to the induction ceremonies in New York City and the National Football Foundation announced that he would instead be inducted as a part of the Hall of Fame class of 2007.
Paterno was inducted on December 4, 2007, and officially enshrined in a ceremony held July 19, 2008.