Joe Paterno

College Football Coach

Joseph Vincent "Joe" Paterno, sometimes referred to as "JoePa," was an American college football coach who was the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 until his dismissal in 2011. In November 2011, he was fired by the university as a result of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State involving his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.… Read More

related links


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Joe Paterno.


1926 Birth Paterno was born December 21, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York, and throughout his life he spoke with a marked Brooklyn accent. … Read More


1944 17 Years Old In 1944, Paterno graduated from the old Brooklyn Preparatory School. … Read More
1946 19 Years Old Paterno spent a year in the Army before being discharged in time to start the 1946 school year at Brown University where his tuition was paid by Busy Arnold. … Read More


1950 23 Years Old 1 More Event
Paterno graduated as an English literature major in 1950 and had been accepted into Boston University School of Law, which he had planned to attend before deciding to coach at Penn State.


1962 35 Years Old While serving as an assistant coach, Paterno met freshman coed Suzanne Pohland, an English literature honors student, at the campus library. Paterno and Pohland, a Latrobe native 13 years his junior, married in 1962, the year she graduated. … Read More
1964 37 Years Old Paterno was promoted to associate coach, the top assistant, in June 1964, and when Engle announced his retirement in February 1966, Paterno was named his successor the next day. … Read More
1966 39 Years Old Paterno was known for his gameday image—thick glasses, rolled-up dress slacks (by his admission, to save on cleaning bills), white socks and Brooklyn-tinged speech. Reflecting the growth in Penn State's stature during his tenure, Beaver Stadium was expanded six times during his tenure, increasing in size from 46,284 in 1966 to 106,572 in 2001.


1982 55 Years Old …  The team won two national championships—in 1982 and 1986. … Read More


1988 - 1995 3 More Events
1998 71 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Penn State was fined $60 million, stripped of 40 total scholarships from 2013 to 2017, banned from postseason play until 2016 and vacated all 112 of its wins dating back to 1998. … Read More
2000 - 2005 3 More Events
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.
2007 80 Years Old 1 More Event
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.
2009 82 Years Old In 2009, Paterno was named to Sporting News list of the 50 greatest coaches of all time (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, college basketball, and college football). … Read More
2010 83 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2010, the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia established the Joseph V. Paterno Award, to be awarded annually to the college football coach "who has made a positive impact on his university, his players and his community." … Read More
…  His career ended with his dismissal from the team in November, 2011 as a result of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.
All of their children are Penn State graduates, and Jay Paterno was the quarterbacks coach at Penn State until his departure following the hiring of new head coach Bill O'Brien on January 7, 2012. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.