Joe Paterno won his 400th game today, becoming the first Division I coach ever to hit the 400-win plateau! (A couple non-DI coaches have also done it.) The Penn State legend reacted after the game with his typical modesty, saying it was just another win, but with his wife, Sue Paterno, by his side and the Nittany Lion faithful going nuts, you know that couldn’t be true!
I actually covered Paterno’s 300th win 12 years ago, in my pre-kids incarnation as a sports reporter, and the guy is a class act all the way. He has five kids and 17 grandchildren, and all of them were on hand for today’s game.
Here’s 10 things about the living legend:
1. All five of his kids graduated from Penn State.
2. Up until a few years ago, he still walked to every game from his house just blocks from the Penn State campus.
3. One of his kids was in a life-threatening trampoline accident but survived.
4. He went to Brown University, not Penn State.
5. He was all set to go to law school after college but followed his Brown coach, Rip Engle, to Penn State instead.
6. He almost left Penn State to go to the NFL decades ago, but he changed his mind and stayed.
7. He’s not the highest-paid coach in the country — he’s not even the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten.
8. He and SuePa, as his wife is known, have donated more than $4 million to Penn State over the years.
9. An autographed pair of his glasses once sold for $9,000.
10. He is a Republican.