Paterno a finalist for FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

December 12, 2008

University Park, Pa. — Penn State head coach Joe Paterno has been named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Paterno is one of nine candidates nominated for the honor, which has been presented annually to the nation's top major-college coach since 1957.

The FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award is the third national coaching honor for which Paterno is under consideration after previously being selected as a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award and a semifinalist for the Maxwell Football Club's George Munger Award.

Paterno is a three-time winner of the FWAA/Robinson Coach of the Year Award (1978, 1982, and 1986). He was also a finalist in 1997 and 2005.

In his 43rd season as Penn State head coach and 59th as a member of the coaching staff, Paterno has led his Nittany Lions to an 11-1 overall record, the program's third Big Ten Championship, and the No. 6 ranking in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls. The Nittany Lions will clash with No. 5/4-ranked and Pac-10 Champion Southern California (11-1) in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 1, 2009.

In 2008, the Nittany Lions won their second Big Ten title in the past four years and came within two points of delivering their eighth unbeaten regular season under Paterno, losing at Iowa, 24-23, on Nov. 8 on a last second field goal. Penn State has won 42 of its last 52 games, dating to a win over Indiana in November 2004. The Nittany Lions' 40-10 record since the start of the 2005 season is tied for No. 7 in the nation.

Paterno is the all-time leader in victories among major college coaches. A 1950 graduate of Brown University, he owns a career record of 383-126-3. His winning percentage of 75.0 ranks second among active major college coaches with 10 or more years as a head coach.

The longest serving head coach at one school in major college football history, Paterno has led the Nittany Lions to two national championships (1982 and 1986) and five undefeated seasons (1968, 1969, 1973, 1986 and 1994). Selected the AFCA National Coach of the Year an unprecedented five times, Paterno is the all-time leader in bowl wins with a record of 23-10-1 and ranks second in winning percentage among coaches with at least 12 bowl appearances with an impressive 69.1 mark. He is the only coach to win the Rose, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Cotton Bowls. The 2009 Rose Bowl will be Penn State's 23rd New Year's bowl game under Paterno (16-6 record).

Inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in December 2007, he is one of only nine coaches in NCAA history (five in Division I-A) to win 300 games and reached the milestone faster than anyone (380 games). Paterno also is the only Div. I-A head coach with 300 victories at one school.

Since Paterno took over in 1966, there have been 834 head coaching changes among Division I-A programs, an average of more than six changes per I-A institution (includes 17 changes after 2008 season).

Under Paterno, Penn State has had 15 Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes, 31 first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans®, (41 overall) and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners. A school record five Nittany Lions (four on first team) were selected 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans® to lead the nation.

According to the 2008 NCAA Graduation Rates Report, Penn State has the third highest Graduation Success Rate (78 percent) among teams in the Dec. 7 Associated Press poll, trailing only Northwestern (92) and Texas Tech (79).

The FWAA coaching award is named after Eddie Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 years. The late "Coach Rob" has more Division I victories (408) than any other coach. Coach Robinson passed away on April 4, 2007. But his legacy will certainly not be forgotten. He coached his entire career at Grambling and produced numerous professional players and coaches as well as players who graduated and distinguished themselves in other professional endeavors.

The finalists for the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award will be placed on a ballot that will be sent to the entire FWAA membership. The winner will be announced and honored at a reception on Jan. 6 in Miami sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and presented in conjunction with the FedEx BCS National Championship Game.

The other coaches under consideration for the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award are: Mack Brown (Texas), Pete Carroll (USC), Mike Leach (Texas Tech), Urban Meyer (Florida), Chris Petersen (Boise State), Nick Saban (Alabama), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), and Kyle Whittingham (Utah).

  • Paterno won the FWAA/Robinson Award three timess and has been a finalist five times.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010