Joe Paterno’s Best Soundbites of 2009

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By Paul M. Banks
If attending college football press conferences were the Christmas season, then listening to Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno is like visiting Santa Claus at the local mall. And it’s not because of JoePa’s illustrious resume, {NCAA record holder in wins (391), bowl appearances (35) and bowl wins (23)} he’s also the most interesting and candid soundbite. The 82 year old College Football Hall of Famer and 5-time Coach of the Year has been at Penn State since 1966. During his tenure at PSU, there have been 838 coaching changes in NCAA Division I. A big part of JoePa’s enduring appeal stems from his notable quotables, and during 2009 so far, he’s had many. Here are a few:

On the prospect of one of his players having the flu, during this time of swine flu paranoia…

“Nobody wants to say it’s the flu, they got a temperature, they’re coughing, they don’t fell good, I said Geez I have the flu 365 days a year!”

Assessing the health of his team, post-game…

“I usually don’t talk to the trainers until after I talk to you guys, because I want to see if I’ve gotten hurt.”

On journalists and fans debating sports on social media and Twitter…

“Hey, you guys have got to talk about something. The fans have got to put something on those — what do you guys call those things, Twittle-do, Twittle-dee? I haven’t got the slightest idea what you’re looking at, either.”

His overall preseason assessment of this year’s team…

“Who knows? That phone rings on Sunday morning and I shake.”

Regarding scheduling…

“I try to stay out of the scheduling because we schedule so far ahead, and obviously I can’t be looking who we’re going to be playing in the year 2020. I’m dumb, but I ain’t that dumb. And I’m optimistic but I ain’t that optimistic.”

In regards to his great coaching rivalry against Bobbie Bowden for the all-time wins mark in college football history. And the idea of the NCAA possibly vacating some of Bobby’s wins.


“I don’t particularly like the word rivalry you use with Bobby Bowden. Bobby is a good friend of mine. I think it’s ridiculous that the NCAA would take wins away from him personally. But I think that Bobby played with what he had and he won games with what he had, and I don’t think there’s any reason for anybody to say, hey, you’re not entitled to have that win on your record.

It bothers me a little bit that the NCAA would use him almost as a scapegoat for some things that went on at Florida State, and I really don’t know all the things that went on that caused their problems. But I hope they let him keep his wins.”

On halftime adjustments in last week’s win at Northwestern…

“The adjustment we made is their quarterback got hurt.”

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