Joe Paterno was voted as the recipient of the Dick Enberg Award by CoSIDA's Special Awards Committee in March 2011 but was unable to attend last summer's workshop in Marco Island, Fla. to receive the honor. He was planning to appear at this year's event in St. Louis before passing away in January after a battle with lung cancer.
"I'm sincerely pleased that the Paterno family will accept the Enberg Award on behalf of Coach Joe Paterno," Enberg said of this year's honor. "The award was established to recognize those that embody my passion and commitment to academics and athletics. Coach Paterno's amazing record in that regard speaks of his greatness as a national leader in sport and education, and I'm deeply honored that his name will be associated with the meaning of this award."
After 16 years as an assistant coach in State College, Paterno was rewarded in 1966 with the head coaching responsibilities surrendered by the retiring Rip Engle, his college coach at Brown who appointed him to the Penn State staff in 1950 as an enthusiastic 23-year old. Over a half century later, Paterno ranks as the career wins leader among major college coaches, passing his longtime friend, Florida State's Bobby Bowden, for that mark.
During Paterno's tenure, Penn State had 79 first-team All-Americans, 16 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes, 37 first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-Americas® (47 overall) and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners. Penn State has had at least one Academic All-America® in nine of the past 10 years, with 13 first team honorees since 2006, including All-America linebacker Paul Posluszny, who was selected the 2006 CoSIDA Academic All-America® of the Year in Division I football and was a two-time first team Academic All-America®.
"On behalf of everyone in the Paterno and Penn State family we are honored by Joe Paterno's selection as the 2012 Dick Enberg Award recipient," Jay Paterno said. "It is recognition of a life of integrity and a career built on an unyielding pursuit of academic, athletic and personal excellence in his life and the lives of his student-athletes. As my father would have been quick to point out this award is only possible because of outstanding student-athletes, assistant coaches, and academic support staff. Joe Paterno and his staff built a model program, a national leader evidenced by nearly 50 Academic All-America selections and unsurpassed team success in the classroom and on the field.
"It is an honor for my father to be associated with a great professional in Dick Enberg as well as the distinguished previous winners," Jay Paterno concluded.
Joe Paterno's coaching portfolio included two National Championships (1982, 1986); five undefeated, untied teams; 23 finishes in the Top 10 of the national rankings; an unprecedented five AFCA Coach-of-the-Year plaques, and more than 350 former players who have signed National Football League contracts, 33 of them first-round draft choices.
Throughout his career, Paterno always concentrated on seeing that his student-athletes attended class, devoted the proper time to studies and graduated with a meaningful degree. He often said he measured team success not by athletic prowess but by the number of productive citizens who make a contribution to society.
"Coach Paterno's commitment to achieving success on the football field with players who competed just as intensely in the classroom was unwavering and unparalleled," former Nittany Lion standout Todd Blackledge, a first team Academic All-America and 2001 Academic All-America Hall of Fame inductee, said of his college mentor. "He was a teacher first and a coach second, and his legacy should never be measured by wins or championships, but by the thousands of well-rounded contributors to society that he helped to mold and develop."
In 2007, Paterno was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. The five-time National Coach-of-the-Year was selected for induction in 2006, and was joined two more legendary coaches -- Bobby Bowden and John Gagliardi -- as the first active coaches or players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The American Football Coaches Association presented Paterno with its highest honor in 2002, the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award. The award honors those "whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football."
In 1998, he was the initial winner of the Eddie Robinson Coach-of-the-Year Award, which recognizes an active college coach who is a role model to students and players, an active member of the community and an accomplished coach.
In December 2007, Patrick and Candace Malloy honored Paterno's contributions to the University by committing $5 million to create the Malloy Paterno Head Football Coach Endowment at Penn State.
In an exceptional display of generosity and affection for Penn State, Paterno; his wife, Sue, and their five children announced a contribution of $3.5 million to the University in 1998, bringing Paterno's lifetime giving total to more than $4 million. The gift was believed to be, Penn State Vice President for Development Rod Kirsch said, "the most generous ever made by a collegiate coach and his family to a university."
The Paterno gift endows faculty positions and scholarships in the College of the Liberal Arts, the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the University Libraries and supported two building projects -- a new interfaith spiritual center and the Penn State All-Sports Museum, both on the University Park campus. The museum opened in 2002 and the spiritual center was dedicated in 2003.
Paterno was actively involved with the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games, held each June on the University Park campus. In 2008, the Paternos were inducted into the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, and since his passing Special Olympics has received over $80,000 in anonymous donations in the name of Joe Paterno.
The Paternos announced a $1 million pledge in 2009 for the Mount Nittany Medical Center. Their gift is part of the most ambitious fundraising effort in the Medical Center's history and helped support a three-floor, 42,000-square foot expansion of Centre County's primary health facility, which was completed in 2010.
"Coach Paterno had many admirable qualities, including his sincere belief in the essence of the Academic All-America® program," John Humenik, CoSIDA's Executive Director and 1998 Enberg Award recipient, said of this year's honor. "I was introduced to him by a Penn State staff member in 1997, and I will never forget how he asked me to sit down with him to talk in-depth about various aspects of the Academic All-America program, how significant it was to him and Penn State and how important it was for those of us in CoSIDA's leadership to continue to push forward with elevating its public awareness.
"He expressed what a noble thing CoSIDA was doing on behalf of intercollegiate athletics with its dedicated efforts with regard to the program and what it has come to mean to so many like himself," Humenik continued. "He was a true advocate for this program and its mission and it's why Coach Paterno is such a wonderful choice for this year's Enberg Award."
Paterno becomes the fourth major college coach to receive the Dick Enberg Award, joining Pat Summitt of the University of Tennessee (2007), Dr. Tom Osborne of the University of Nebraska (2003) and Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina (1999).
PREVIOUS DICK ENBERG AWARD WINNERS
2011 Jackie Joyner-Kersee, UCLA, United States Olympian
2010 Tom Hansen, Commissioner Emeritus, Pac-10 Conference
2009 Steve Smith, Former Basketball Standout, Michigan State & NBA
2008 Chuck Lee, CEO Emeritus, GTE Corporation
2007 Pat Summitt, Head Women's Basketball Coach, University of Tennessee
2006 President Gerald R. Ford
2005 Father Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame
2004 Dr. Ted Leland, Director of Athletics Emeritus, Stanford University
2003 Dr. Tom Osborne, Director of Athletics/Head Football Coach Emeritus, University of Nebraska
2002 Judge Alan Page, Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court
2001 Dr. Donna Shalala, President, University of Miami/Former U.S. Secretary of Education
2000 Bill Russell, Basketball Hall of Famer, University of San Francisco/Boston Celtics
1999 Dean Smith, Head Men's Basketball Coach Emeritus, University of North Carolina
1998 John Humenik, Executive Director, CoSIDA
1997 Dick Enberg, Hall of Fame Broadcaster