In both 2010 and 2011, Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno reached a legendary coaching milestone versus the Northwestern Wildcats. Last year, the all-time FBS coaching wins leader notched his 400th career win in Happy Valley, as the Nittany Lions nipped the Cats 35-21.
This time, the 84-year-old grandfather of 17 and father of five tied Grambling legend Eddie Robinson for 408 career coaching wins. That’s the most all time for an division 1 college football head coach. The 34-24 win at Northwestern meant gridiron history was made this evening on the shores of Lake Michigan just outside Chicago.When asked about in the postgame media session, JoePa gave a joking sarcastic response.
“I went to bed last night thinking, gee whiz if I win tomorrow I’m tied with Eddie Robinson!” He said before waxing poetic and paying respect to the legendary Grambling leader.
“Eddie Robinson was one of the greatest guys we’ve ever had in college coaching. He and Jake Gaither at Florida A&m did something when I was a young coach, they took the black athlete when they had no place to go and they had some of the greatest athletes anyone ever had.”
The Lions solidly defeated the Wildcats tonight behind a very balanced offense. The previously much maligned “O” shone brightly tonight as Matt McGloin completed a very high percentage of his passes finishing 17-26 for 192 yards, 2 TDs, no picks and Devon Smith went over a 100 yards receiving (6-110-1). Silas Redd had a huge rushing day, running for 119 yards by halftime. Paterno now owns a career record of 408-136-3. His 75% winning percentage is third all time among FBS coaches with at least 10 years experience. Paterno passed Alabama icon Paul “Bear”Bryant for most FBS wins all time in 2001. And broke a tie with Bobby Bowden in 2008.
JoePa is also first all time in bowl wins (24) and second all time in games coached. He’s been coaching in State College for 62 years, 46 as the head man.
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