Statement from Penn State AD addresses plans to honor Joe Paterno

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One of the more controversial decisions of the young college football season has gotten some additional clarity.

A week ago today, Penn State announced that it would honor controversial former head coach Joe Paterno prior to and during the team’s game against Temple Sept. 17.  The university did not go into any detail at the time as to how they would commemorate the deceased coach’s first game 50 years ago, although, in a statement from athletic director Sandy Barbour, the school offered both a quasi explanation for honoring a coach fired in disgrace as well as some of the specifics of the activities that will take place Saturday.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Joe Paterno’s first game and first victory as head coach. On September 17, commemorative activities will focus on the commitment he had to student-athletes and academics, as well as highlights of the 1966 game.

This Saturday at Beaver Stadium as we face Temple University, we will highlight the student-athletes he impacted. Members of the 1966 team, co-captains Mike Irwin and John Runnells, will be participating in the on-field coin toss. Further in-game introductions of players will take place, along with video presentations on the impact to student-athletes.

Coach Paterno wanted academic success not only for his players but also for every student who came through Penn State. Together with his wife, Sue, they helped countless students become leaders and earn a Penn State diploma. Our plans are consistent with the wishes of the Paterno family as well, with a focus on the players and their accomplishments at Penn State and beyond.