, Pennsylvania (PressExposure) April 14, 2009 -- Joe Paterno. By saying that name alone, people will know what school and football program you are talking about right away. Paterno has been at the helm of the Penn State football program for over 50 years and is the NCAA leader in coaching victories at any level. Penn State is also known for the incredible size of their stadium which is the largest in the nation. Beaver stadium is as much part of the culture in State College as is the football team, helping this fact is that it seats over 107,000 people and is sold out every game.
The Nittany Lions were always a respectable college program with its roots tracing back to 1887. They were always consistent in the way they played football and had some very good years. However, it was not until 1966 when Joe Paterno took the helm at head coach that the team became a national powerhouse and was always competing for national titles.
Paterno took over a struggling Penn State team in 1966 but turned them around rather quickly leading them to a bowl game in his second year as coach. The next two years he led them to undefeated season; however there was no national championship to show for it. Paterno would lead the Nittany Lions to their first national championship in 1982 followed by their second in 1986. However, even though Paterno only led Penn State to two national titles, they were a perennial favorite almost every year he coached the team.
Paterno's resume is quite impressive during his 42 years as head coach. He has the most career victories of any college coach with 383. He also has the previously mentioned two national championships along with three conference championships since 1990 when they entered the Big Ten conference. Paterno also has led his teams to five undefeated seasons as well.
Penn State football would not be what it is today without the influence of Joe Paterno whose name is synonymous with Penn State and always will be. In 2008, under the guidance of Paterno, Penn State became just the 6th team in history to win 800 football games in college history. A feat that is quite impressive at any level of college athletics. The Penn State fan base also adds to the lore of Penn State football, often selling out every game especially during Paterno's tenure. They also perform what is called the "Whiteout", where each fan will where a white shirt making the entire stadium white in order to throw the other team off. The sight is something to see as 107,000 people make the stadium almost seem to glow under the night sky. Penn State football will always been known for Joe Paterno's influence and the team will always be able to field a competitive team because of it