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College Football Coaching Legend Joe Paterno Dies At Age 85

Joe Paterno, the former head coach of Penn St. who had the most Division I coaching victories, and the second-most all-time, died early Sunday, at the age of 85, after a short fight with lung cancer.

Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer on Nov. 18, nine days after losing his Penn State head coaching position in the fallout of sexual abuse charges against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Two months after Paterno began treatments, he broke his pelvis in a fall, and his condition deteriorated ever since.

He passed away at Mount Nittany Medical Center at State College.

Paterno, who was the head coach of the Nittany Lions for 46 years (1966-2011), compiled 409 career victories, the most in Division I history, and the second-most all-time.

Paterno, who was born on December 26, 1926, won two national championships (1982 & 1986), and was 24-12-1 in bowl games, which is a record for number of bowl wins.

He also won five Coach of the Year awards (1968, 1978, 1982, 1986, & 2005) given out by the American Football Coaches Association, and was honored as the 1986 “Sportsman of the Year”, by Sports Illustrated.

Paterno actually joined Penn St. as an assistant football coach in 1950, which means he spent 62 years at the school, the record for any coach at any university.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Joe Paterno


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