A Pennsylvania House resolution was introduced in late May by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre & Mifflin) to denote September 3, 2011 as “Coach Paterno Day.” Yes, that’s right folks — JoePa might very soon have his own official holiday in the Commonwealth.
The resolution is still being held though, according to an email sent to Onward State last night by Benninghoff. “We have been holding this for months,” he wrote, “hoping to find a day that the Coach could come to Harrisburg to join us on the House floor.”
September 3 was chosen because it marks the opening of Penn State’s football season, with our Nittany Lions facing off against the Indiana State Sycamores at home (with one of those dreadful 12:00 p.m. kickoffs).
No doubt that means the game will be rife with Pennsylvania politicos here to celebrate the legendary coach during his 62nd year of service to the University — and, let’s be honest, there’s an ever-increasing chance that his next season will be his last season. Of course, Benninghoff’s territory includes Beaver Stadium and the rest of Penn State’s campus.
Paterno today is not the same as Paterno six years ago, that’s for sure… check out @PSUPoorman’s most recent column over at StateCollege.com if you don’t know what I mean. But, as ESPN’s recent special featuring Coach Paterno and Coach Krzyzewski indicates, our black Nike wearing patriarch’s stock is as high as ever — that the legislature would want to recognize him is no surprise, and he no doubt deserves it.
More information about the resolution, which was crafted pursuant to Rule 35 as a non-controversial measure, can be found on the Pennsylvania General Assembly website. We have also excerpted the full-text below.
I’m thinking the Indiana State game will call for me wearing whale pants and a pair of his iconic Coke bottle glasses… What I want to know is, how will you be celebrating Coach Paterno Day?
House Resolution 289
Encouraging The Pennsylvania State University to appropriately recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of football coach Joseph Vincent “Joe” Paterno, affectionately known by fans as “Joe Pa,” for his 62 years of service to The Pennsylvania State University students and athletes and to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and recognizing September 3, 2011, as “Coach Paterno Day” in Pennsylvania.
WHEREAS, Joseph Vincent Paterno, as coach of The Pennsylvania State University football team, holds the record for the most wins by a college football coach; and
WHEREAS, On November 6, 2010, Coach Paterno achieved his 400th career win; and
WHEREAS, Only two other individuals have reached this milestone in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football; and
WHEREAS, Coach Paterno’s career has been based on the football philosophy of sound fundamentals, with an emphasis on defense and team discipline; and
WHEREAS, This philosophy has led to outstanding achievements, including 37 shutouts, 36 bowl game appearances, 24 bowl game victories, 21 seasons with at least ten victories, 23 seasons with a ranking in the top ten, seven seasons with a first-place ranking, five perfect seasons and two national championships; and
WHEREAS, Coach Paterno has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame; and
WHEREAS, Coach Paterno has emphasized high academic expectations and a commitment to the individual educational success of his players that ensure each athlete is a student first; and
WHEREAS, Coach Paterno has achieved an NCAA graduation success rate that is routinely among the highest in the nation; and
WHEREAS, Coach Paterno has tirelessly worked to improve The Pennsylvania State University, including efforts to provide students with access to a premier library system; and
WHEREAS, Coach Paterno has worked to bring The Pennsylvania State University and this Commonwealth to the forefront of competition on academic and athletic fronts; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives congratulate Joseph Vincent “Joe” Paterno and encourage The Pennsylvania State University to appropriately recognize, and commensurate with the recognition provided to football coaches who have served with similar distinguished records, the efforts and accomplishments of Coach Paterno; and be it further
RESOLVED, That, as the Penn State Nittany Lions Football Team begins its 2011 season, September 3, 2011, be recognized as “Coach Paterno Day” in this Commonwealth; and be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Athletic Department of The Pennsylvania State University.