Penn State couple bids $9,000 to take home Paterno's glasses

University Park, Pa. -- Michelle and Kevin Coppola, Penn State graduates who live in the Baltimore area, are the proud owners of Joe Paterno's iconic eyeglasses after they placed the high bid of $9,000. Michelle Coppola secured a high bid of $7,550 in the online auction and then was represented by proxy at the live auction during WPSU's 18th Annual Connoisseur's Dinner and Auction on Saturday.

Penn State Public Broadcasting auctioned off Coach Paterno's trademarked thick-lensed spectacles as part of the 18th Annual Connoisseur's Dinner and Auction at the Nittany Lion Inn. The glasses are mounted in a shadowbox with a color photo of Coach Joe Paterno. The sports collectors' item was initially offered in the online auction and culminated at the live auction during the Connoisseur's Dinner.

Kevin and Michelle graduated from Penn State University in 2003 and 2004 respectively. They are college sweethearts who met at the University Park campus and were married a few years later. They currently live in Maryland.

During the online auction, Michelle made her final high bid just one minute before it ended on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Joe and Sue Paterno donated the eyeglasses to WPSU's Connoisseur's Dinner and Auction; they have been generous supporters of Penn State Public Broadcasting for many years.

Paterno has been wearing his signature spectacles since he began as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lion Football Team in 1966. Since then, his vision for the Penn State football program has allowed him to become major college football's winningest coach with a record of 394-129-3.

In the past, WPSU has auctioned off additional Paterno sports memorabilia, including the coach's autographed khaki pants, white socks, sneakers and neckties from several Bowl games.

The 18th Annual Connoisseur's Dinner and Auction, hosted by PBS Master Chef Martin Yan, celebrated Chinese New Year with the savory flavors and essential textures of the Far East, and also supported public broadcasting.

Penn State Public Broadcasting serves central Pennsylvania with programming, educational services and community outreach. Its public media services produce, acquire and distribute programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of an audience within central Pennsylvania.

Last Updated February 18, 2011