The winningest football coach in NCAA Division I history passed away early today at the Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, Pa. Joe Paterno coached the Penn State football team for 46 seasons and won 409 games. He was fired by the school two months ago amid a child sex abuse scandal. He was 85 years old.
Paterno was last on the Syracuse University campus in 2008, when his Nittany Lions dropped the Orange 55-13 on the weekend of the premier of The Express. The game was a far cry from the old SU vs. Penn State rivalry that Paterno walked into when he was hired as an assitant at the school in 1950.
During those days Ben Schwartzwalder was the coach of the Orange and the teams would play each other on a yearly basis. From 1950 to 1970 SU was 11-10 against the Nittany Lions. Paterno was named headh coach in 1967 and Penn State would go on to win 16 straight games in the series from from 1971 to 1986. Conference realignment and lack of competition led to the rivarly losing some of its glimmer and Penn State leads the all-time football series with a record of 41-23-5.
Perhaps Paterno's biggest win over SU came on Dec. 7, 1968, when the Nittany Lions beat the Orange to complete the school's first ever 10-win season and first unbeaten season since 1947. In 1977 Paterno also missed his first game as head coach of the Nittany Lions when his son, David, was injured in a trampoline accident. One of the coaches taking over for Paterno that day in Syracsue was defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
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