March 20, 2006
Providence, RI - Joe Paterno '50, the legendary Penn State football coach and Brown Athletics Hall of Fame member, was selected as one of the NCAA's "100 Most Influential Student-Athletes." Paterno was chosen 26th on the list that includes, among others, Jackie Robinson, University of California Los Angeles; Arthur Ashe, University of California Los Angeles; Jesse Owens, Ohio State University; Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. Military Academy; John R. Wooden, Purdue University; Althea Gibson, Florida A&M University; Madeline Albright, Wellesley College; Jack W. Nicklaus, Ohio State University; Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Stanford University; and Edward G. Robinson, Grambling State University.
Paterno honed his skills on the gridiron and hardwood at Brown, and was an Economics concentrator while a student on College Hill. He is one of the most admired figures in college athletics, an acknowledged icon whose influence extends well beyond the football field. He is the model for coaching at the collegiate level, as an educator first, a man of honor and commitment, and successful leader and teacher of young men. Paterno, who also holds an Honary Degree from Brown, continues to holds the Brown record for career interceptions (14). He was also named to Brown's 125th Anniversary Football Team.
Since leaving Brown in 1950, Paterno has launched a football coaching career marked with distinction, glorious accomplishments and immeasurable contributions to Penn State. Coming into his 41st season as head coach and 56th season as a coach at Penn State, Paterno's winning percentage of 74.5 is sixth best among active I-A coaches, and he is second all-time in games coached (462) among major college coaches. His portfolio includes two National Championships; five undefeated, untied teams; 20 finishes in the Top 10 of the national rankings; four AFCA Coach of the Year plaques; 69 first team All-Americans; 14 Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes; 23 first team Academic All-Americans and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners. Paterno is the all-time leader among coaches in bowl appearances (31) and postseason triumphs (20). He also endowed faculty positions and scholarship in the College of Liberal Arts at Penn State, donating 3.5 million to the University.
Among his many honors and awards, Paterno was selected by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame as the first active coach to receive its Distinguished American Award. He was named the 1986 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, and earned the prestigious Amos Alonzo Stag Award from the American Football Coaches Association. Paterno was the initial winner of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in 1998.
The 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes were chosen by a special panel that included college presidents, athletics directors, faculty representatives, student-athletes and conference representatives.