Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Nov 2010

Paterno To Return For 60th Season

Joe Paterno will be back for another season in Happy Valley.

Next year will be his 60th year at the school and his 46th as head coach. It will also be the last year of a three-year contract. He'll be 84.

"Yeah, you got something I don't know? I'm looking forward to it," Paterno said at his weekly press conference. "We've struggled a little bit this year with youth, injuries and the whole bit. I think we can be a pretty good football team next year, and I'd like to be a part of it. It's been a good situation and I don't see any reason to leave it right now."

Later, a reporter started a question, "You said you hope to return next year ..." Paterno cut the reporter off and said, "I didn't say I hope to. I said I'm going to."

Posted by: David Gardner on 24 Nov 2010

25 comments, Last at 29 Nov 2010, 1:40pm by Pat (filler)


by loneweasel (not verified) :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 1:55pm

"I didn't say I hope to. I said I'm going to."

How can you not love JoePa? The man is an institution.

by David Gardner :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 2:11pm

That quote was probably half the reason I decided to post that. I love his attitude.

by Temo :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 2:10pm

Does anyone outside of Penn State really care anymore?

by Dean :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 2:25pm

I do.

by Spielman :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 2:57pm


by kamchatka (not verified) :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 3:46pm

Yup. I don't give two ****s about college ball, but I'll root for Penn State when they're on because that guy is their coach.

by Theo :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 4:11pm

The company I work for in the Netherlands has a base in Newtown, next to Philly.
Someone brought me a blue and white Penn State sweater.
I love it.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 11:59am

I do. Out of a select few famous college football coaches I have respect for, he's the guy at the top of the list, and by a pretty good margin.

by Dired :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 2:28pm

So is the university really legally unable to fire him, or is it just politically impossible? A few years ago, when the program was in the dumps, I remember him basically saying "too bad - you're stuck with me". How does that work, exactly?

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 3:59pm

Nobody wins an age discrimination lawsuit.

by NoraDaddy :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 6:54pm

Are you suggesting that PSU wanted to fire him and was unable? Obviously at the time in 2005 firing him was an option but I don't remember anything like what you're suggesting. I don't think Paterno ever said anything like what you said. He made it clear he wasn't going to quit and believed he deserved a chance to turn things around.

After 47-16 in the last 5 years apparently he was right (Unless you believe anything but a national championship is a failure).

by JonFrum (not verified) :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 2:59pm

Keith Richards has been the Walking Dead for decades, but at least he can still play guitar. Don't tell me Joe is still coaching that team. At least if you define coaching as, you know, coaching. He must have an assistant just to keep his pills straight.

by bingo762 :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 7:55pm

I love the guy and all but yeah he hasn't coached in years. He doesn't wear a headset. The red head dude calls all the plays on offense. Not sure about the defense but I know JoePa don't. Whatever, if he wants to "coach" until he's dead, let him.

Cool Joe Pa story. He went to a bigtime prospects house to recruit him. Met with his family, had dinner, all that stuff. At some point during all this, the kid talked back to his parents. Joe Pa thanked them for their hospitality and left. They asked what kind of offer he had for their son and he said, "Not interested. If he doesn't respect you, he'll never respect me." And that was it. That kid's name was Raider Joe. He made out alright

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 11/26/2010 - 12:39am

You don't know what you're talking about.

Ever been to one of Penn State's practices? Because you'll still see Joe there watching the players, grabbing them if they do something wrong, and yelling in their faces. Paterno's never been a game day coach. He found other people to do that for him.

Besides - playcalling is overrated as a "head coach-o-meter." He's called the head coach because he has multiple assistants, and the real mark of a great head coach is assembling and keeping together a top-flight staff and making sure they work together. And Penn State has some of the best assistant coaches in the country.

by JonFrum (not verified) :: Fri, 11/26/2010 - 9:10pm

I've never been to a Penn State practice, but I've dealt with 83 year olds. Trust me - it takes Joe 15 minutes just to empty his bladder. A person that age just can't do much before having to take a nap. It's nothing to be ashamed of - he's ahead of the game just being alive at that age. If Joe is doing a head coach's job this year, then head coaching is a part-time job. Sitting-down part-time.

Don't stress about it - it's OK for old people to be old.

by spenczar :: Fri, 11/26/2010 - 11:34pm

"I'm not saying old people are weak and incapable - just that they can't even take a tinkle properly!"


by Spielman :: Sat, 11/27/2010 - 4:02pm

Sorry, I've reached my trusting random asses on the Internet quota for the week.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/29/2010 - 1:40pm

I've never been to a Penn State practice, but I've dealt with 83 year olds

"I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV!"

Please. There's first-hand evidence that you're wrong, and you're ignoring it because of experience which might not be directly applicable in this case. That's not very good reasoning skills.

If Joe is doing a head coach's job this year, then head coaching is a part-time job. Sitting-down part-time

The majority of the job of a head coach is done sitting down - looking at tape, talking with coordinators, etc. The amount of actual on-the-field practice is limited to 20 hours a week, and it's not like it's even that physically strenuous for them.

The question is whether or not his brain is sharp enough, and f'crying out loud, the guy can recall details of a game played over 50 years ago to respond to a reporter's questions. Fair to say his brain's fine.

by Theo :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 4:09pm

Old men and their wisdom...

by tunesmith :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 4:57pm

Could he really reach 50 years as head coach? That's downright mythic.

by David Gardner :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 7:04pm

He'd be 94 ... seems unlikely. Very unlikely.

by John (not verified) :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 7:39pm

Unless I'm missing something, he'd be "only" 88. Hardy unattainable at this point.

46 years after next year, when he'll be 84.

by David Gardner :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 3:29am

Nope, you're right. I misremembered how many years he'd been head coach (thought it was 40) in the very short period between when I wrote the post and commented on it. Merh.

by Semigruntled Eagles fan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 8:14pm

Evidently you didn't watch the Eagles-Giants game; the announcers mentioned that Connie Mack managed the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 years. Of course, as he was also an owner, he wasn't ever in danger of being fired; but given that penicillin hadn't been discovered until his 28th season as manager, it's still pretty impressive that he lasted that long.

by zlionsfan :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 2:57pm

"Managing" is perhaps giving him more credit than he deserves for most of his last two decades ... after three straight World Series appearances from 1929 through 1931, the A's slid to the bottom of the AL, finishing in last place 10 of his final 16 seasons and losing 100 games 5 of those years.

Did he give himself much more leeway than another manager would get (or another owner would give)? Absolutely. The next guy to manage the team for more than three seasons ... was Tony LaRussa.