College Football: Paterno going into Hall of Fame
Published 12:00 am Friday, July 18, 2008
SOUTH BEND, Ind. ó Joe Paterno has his own take on Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi” and the challenge a riverboat captain faces trying to navigate the waters of a mighty river. For Paterno, it’s a little bit like coaching college football.
“He wrote that a captain has to learn more than anybody should ever have to learn, and then the next day he’s got to learn it in a different way. That’s pretty much what coaching is all about,” Paterno said. “You’ve got to know more than anybody ought to have to know.”
The 81-year-old Paterno, entering his 43rd season as head coach at Penn State, has shown through the years he knows more about maneuvering through the coaching waters than just about everybody, which is why he will be enshrined with 19 others into the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
“I don’t know anyone more deserving than Joe,” Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said.
Others in the class are 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie of Boston College, 1990 Lombardi Award winner Chris Zorich of Notre Dame and 1989 Maxwell Award winner Anthony Thompson of Indiana.
JoePa was supposed to be enshrined into the hall a year ago along with Bowden, but when the induction ceremony in New York rolled around in December 2006, he was still recovering from a broken leg sustained along the sideline during a game. So it was put off for year.
He goes into the hall with a career record of 372-125-3, placing him a victory behind Bowden, the all-time major college leader. Paterno said he isn’t worried about that, though, saying competition is what motivates him, not wins and losses.
“My feeling has always been that when you’ve got to play somebody good, I think that makes you hustle a little more, it makes you pay a little more attention to details, it gets you a little bit more fired up, because of the satisfaction that comes when you do beat a good football team,” he said.
Paterno’s Nittany Lions have national titles in ’82 and ’86, and five undefeated seasons. He’s been voted coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association a record five times.