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Joe Paterno


Joseph Vincent Paterno

Inducted 2007

Date of Birth



Brooklyn, NY


Pennsylvania State University (1966-2011)


No coach has been as synonymous with one school as has Penn State's Joe Paterno. In 2007, he passed Amos Alonzo Stagg's major college record of 41 years coaching at one school. Joe Pa's time at Penn State goes beyond his years as head coach, as he began his career as an assistant at PSU in 1950 under fellow Hall of Fame coach Rip Engle. Engle was Paterno's coach at Brown when Joe played quarterback for the Bears. When Engle left to take the Penn State job, he took Joe with him. Paterno became head coach in 1966. After a 5-5 season his first year, he took the Nittany Lions to a bowl game in his second, and had undefeated teams in his third and fourth seasons. That stretch produced a 31-game unbeaten streak. The five-time National Coach of the Year also had an undefeated team in 1973 and had three one-loss seasons prior to winning his first national title in 1982. Four years later, Paterno won his second national crown defeating Miami (FL) in the Fiesta Bowl, completing his fourth undefeated season. A fifth undefeated team would follow in 1994. The 1994 season also saw Penn State win its first Big Ten title after having joined the conference in the previous year. In 2001, Paterno passed Paul "Bear" Bryant as college football's all-time winningest coach with his 324th all-time victory. Since that game his win total continued to increase as did his record number of bowl appearances, bowl victories, and top ten and top twenty rankings. More important than all of the wins and titles he has accumulated may be his legacy with the influence he has had on his players, Penn State students and alumni. Paterno has generously contributed millions to the school and its academic programs. The National Football Foundation has honored him with the Distinguished American Award in 1992 and the Gold Medal in 2006.


Wins 409

Losses 136

Ties 3

Career Highlights

  • 2005 Dodd Coach of the Year winner
  • 1981 Dodd Coach of the Year winner
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