Paterno No. 13 on Sporting News list of greatest coaches of all time

July 30, 2009

University Park, Pa. — Penn State coach Joe Paterno is ranked No. 13 on Sporting News' list of sports' 50 greatest coaches of all-time, as selected by a distinguished panel made up of 118 Hall of Famers, championship coaches, former league commissioners, and award-winning broadcasters.

Paterno is third among college football coaches behind only Alabama's Bear Bryant (No. 3) and Notre Dame's Knute Rockne (No. 10) and is tops among Big Ten coaches, ahead of Ohio State's Woody Hayes (No. 27), Michigan's Bo Schembechler (No. 36), and the University of Chicago's Amos Alonzo Stagg (No. 40). John Wooden, who won a record Division I men's basketball championships in 12 years at UCLA, edged Green Bay Packers great Vince Lombardi for the overall No. 1 spot.

Also in the feature, Sporting News solicited the input of former players of the top 20 coaches on the list, asking each to relive a moment that best defined their greatness. Curt Warner, who won All-American honors at running back and helped Paterno win his first national championship, was selected to pay tribute to his former coach.

In his 44th season as head coach of the Nittany Lions, Paterno owns a 383-127-3 (.749) career record. In his 60th year in Happy Valley, the Hall of Fame coach is the all-time victories leader among major college coaches and third in winning percentage among active mentors. He has led Penn State to two national championships (1982, '86), five unbeaten and untied seasons (1968, '69, '73, '86, '94) and is the all-time leader in bowl appearances (35) and wins (23-11-1). He has guided the Nittany Lions to 17 appearances in the four bowls that comprise the Bowl Championship Series, earning a 12-5 record.

Paterno has produced more than 350 NFL players, 76 first team All-Americans, 42 ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, 15 National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar Athletes and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners during his illustrious career. He has been selected the AFCA Coach of the Year an unprecedented five times, including 2005, when he led the Lions to an 11-1 record and the Big Ten and FedEx Orange Bowl titles. Paterno has been named Big Ten Dave McClain Coach of the Year three times, including 2008, when he led the Nittany Lions to an 11-2 mark, the Big Ten title and a berth in the Rose Bowl.

Penn State returns 37 letterwinners and 10 starters for the 2009 campaign. The Nittany Lions host Akron on Sept. 5 (12:00 p.m., Big Ten Network) to open the season.

  • IMAGE: Greg Grieco

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Last Updated November 18, 2010