PHOTOS: Looking Back at Paterno’s Career

Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is gone but his legacy lives on in State College and beyond.

58 photos
1/58
For 46 years Joe Paterno led the Penn State Nittany Lions football team. On Jan. 22, 2012 the winningest coach in college football history lost his battle with cancer. He was 85.
2/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1965: Paterno was an assistant football coach at Penn State for more than a dozen years before he got his shot to change State College and the world of college football forever.
3/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1966: After working under Rip Engle, Paterno took over as head coach of Penn State in 1966. He would coach the team for nearly 46 seasons.
4/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1972: You can't tell the story of Paterno without mentioning his wife Sue -- they were married in 1962 and she was there for many of his biggest moments including Penn State's 30-6 victory over Texas in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1972.
5/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1973: John Cappelletti poses with coach Paterno after winning the Heisman Trophy. Despite producing hundreds of future NFL players, Cappelletti was Paterno's only Heisman winner.
6/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1973: Paterno shakes hand with LSU coach Charlie McClendon prior to the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 1974. Penn State would win the game -- one of Paterno's record 24 bowl wins -- and finish the season undefeated behind Cappelletti. Despite the perfect mark Penn State finished ranked fifth in the country.
7/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1973: Paterno's teams were 4-1 in Orange Bowls. Here they prepare for the Nan. 1974 game.
8/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Paterno made a record 37 bowl game appearences winning 24 times including beating the Baylor Bears in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1975.
9/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1982: Paterno got his team warmed up in the days before his Nittany Lions met Georgia in the Sugar Bowl for the national title Jan. 1, 1983. Penn State would go on to beat the Bulldogs 27-23 to finally deliver Paterno his first national championship.
10/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1983: Paterno is carried off the field after winning the first of his two national championships -- the only time Paterno won in four trips to the Sugar Bowl.
11/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1987: Paterno was always a man of the people including at this pep rally before his Nittany Lions beat Miami in the Fiesta Bowl en route to the team's second national championship.
12/58
Getty Images
1988: Paterno sometimes opted for sunglasses instead of his iconic coke bottle glasses. Of course he might not haven't wanted a clear look at his 1988 team that finished 5-6 -- the first of only five Paterno-coached teams that posted a losing record.
13/58
Getty Images
1988: Despite the worse season of his career -- to that point -- Paterno's passion for coaching was never questioned.
14/58
Getty Images
Paterno's teams won at least nine games in nine of the 10 years in the 1990s.
15/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1992: Paterno was a great amongst greats. Here he talks with Notre Dame's head football coach Lou Holtz, before Penn State's game at South Bend on Nov. 14.
16/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1993: Two of the biggest coaches in football history as Bill Walsh and Paterno shared a joke before Penn State lost to Stanford in the Blockbuster Bowl.
17/58
Getty Images
1993: Of course he coached against everyone including some lesser remembered coaches such as former Michagan coach Gary Moeller.
18/58
Getty Images
1994: In 1994 Paterno had one of his greatest teams as his Nittany Lions went 12-0 -- his last of five undefeated teams -- but were denied a national championship.
19/58
Getty Images
1995: Coming off an undefeated season Paterno was still riding high in 95 as his team went 9-3 and won the Outback Bowl.
20/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
1996: Paterno was a popular speaker and noted philanthropist. Here he poses with news anchor Carolyn Presutti after he was presented with the National Education and Leadership Award by The Sons of Italy Foundation.
21/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Over his many years Paterno had his share of Gatorade baths including after his Nittany Lions defeated Texas 38-15 at the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, 1997.
22/58
Getty Images
1997: The win completed a streak of four-straight bowl wins for Penn State and was Paterno's last of six wins in six tries at the Fiesta Bowl.
23/58
Getty Images
1998: No matter his age, Paterno often wore his emotions on his sleeve on the Nittany Lions sideline.
24/58
Getty Images
1998: That includes having moments of laughter while talking with other coaches before games.
25/58
Getty Images
1999: Paterno ended the 90s with a shutout of the Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl.
26/58
ASSOCIATED PRESS
One of the most iconic images of Paterno's career was him running out of the tunnel with his team.
27/58
Getty Images
2001: It was a trying season for Paterno and his team as they went just 5-6 to finish with a losing record for the second-straight season. But there were some highlights.
28/58
Getty Images
2001 : On Oct. 27, Penn State came from behind to beat rival Ohio State 29-27 to give Paterno his 324th career win -- a then record for major college football coaches.
29/58
Getty Images
2001 : Paterno was carried off the field by his players after the record win.
30/58
Getty Images
2001: Despite the record the lackluster season left people questioning if Paterno could still be a winning coach.
31/58
Getty Images
2002: Even as Paterno entered his mid-70s he remained fiery as ever arguing with officials.
32/58
Getty Images
2003: Paterno was fired up as ever entering the 2003 season but his team would struggle -- winning only three games.
33/58
Getty Images
2004: The next season wasn't much better as the Nittany Lions went just 4-7.
34/58
Getty Images
2004: By the end of his fourth losing season in five years, many were questioning if Paterno should still be coaching the Nittany Lions.
35/58
Getty Images
2005: Paterno used his fiery spirit and an experienced team (18 returning starters) to have a resurgent 2005 season.
36/58
Getty Images
2005: With Michael Robinson at quarterback, Paterno's team put doubts to rest with an impressive season.
37/58
Getty Images
2006: This fan was right.
38/58
Getty Images
2006: The 2005 season wound up with Penn State atop the Big 10 earning Paterno his final trip to the Orange Bowl...
39/58
Getty Images
2006: Waiting for Paterno in Florida was Florida State's Bobby Bowden who was neck and neck with Paterno for some time in wins. Paterno's team came out on top winning 26-23 in overtime to finish the season No. 3 in the country -- Paterno's last Top-5 finish.
40/58
Getty Images
2006: Despite a nine-win season, Penn State lost to Ohio State in Columbus -- one of 12 losses by Paterno against OSU in Big 10 play.
41/58
Getty Images
2006: Injuries to Paterno started to be the story as much as they were to his players. After breaking his leg in a loss at Wisconsin, Paterno was forced to coach from the box rather than the field.
42/58
Getty Images
Paterno would wind up winning nine games in 2006 as Penn State finished in the Top 25 -- one of 35 times his teams finished in the Top 25.
43/58
WireImage
2007: Paterno didn't seem to enjoy ending the 2006 season by having to coach from the booth at the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2007.
44/58
Getty Images
2007: By the start of the 2007 season Paterno was back to leading his team out of the tunnel.
45/58
Getty Images
2007: The season ended with Paterno reaching some amazing milestones.
46/58
Getty Images
2007: Paterno would lead Penn State to a 24-7 win over Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl to finish the second-straight 9-4 season for the Nittany Lions.
47/58
Getty Images
2008: Paterno was forced to walk with a cane after injuring his hip in a practice mishap.
48/58
Getty Images
The 2008 season ended with Paterno leading his team to their third Big 10 title and just second Rose Bowl appearence where they would lose to USC 38-24.
49/58
Getty Images
2009: Paterno was back on the sidelines coaching up his players in 2009.
50/58
Getty Images
2010: Prior to Penn State's game against Alabama, Paterno posed with fellow multi-time national championship coaches Nick Saban and Bowden.
51/58
Getty Images
2011: The 2010 season would end with Paterno's final bowl appearance against fellow multi-time national championship coach Urban Meyer's Florida team in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2011.
52/58
Getty Images
2011: Paterno remained jovial with the press as he entered his 46th season leading Penn State football.
53/58
Getty Images
2011: On Oct. 29 the Nittany Lions beat Illinois 10-7 to earn Paterno his 409th win as he passed Eddie Robinson's record for the most win by a Division 1 football coach. The game was Paterno's last as head coach.
54/58
AP
2011: On Nov. 4 child sex abuse charges were filed against Paterno's former long-time defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The ensuing scandal would rock Penn State and the nation.
55/58
Getty Images
2011: Paterno coached his team at practice on Nov. 9, 2011 but that would be his final act as head coach.
56/58
AP
2011: Later that night Paterno and his wife addressed fans outside their home after Paterno was fired as head football coach.
57/58
Getty Images
From State College to around the world Paterno will always be beloved by many Penn State alumni and fans.
58/58
Getty Images
Paterno left his wife of nearly 50 years Sue, five children, 17 grandchilden and hundreds of former football players who he coached.
Contact Us