Another Amazing Honor

In his 40 years as the head coach of Penn State Joe Paterno holds many records, titles and honors. Last night he became the first Division 1A college football coach in history to be named as the AFCA National Coach of the Year for the fifth time.

Prior to this year, Paterno held the Division 1A top spot as the only D1A coach honored as AFCA Coach of the Year four previous times.

Overall, only one other coach among all divisions has won the AFCA honor more. Larry Kehres of Mount Union was the first coach in AFCA history to win National Coach of the Year honors six times.

This season Paterno also became the first coach in any NCAA classification to be selected AFCA Region Coach of the Year 11 times.

These are the years Paterno won the honor:

1968

His first undefeated team as a head coach, Paterno's 1968 squad went 11-0 with a 15-14 win over a 9-1 Kansas squad in the Orange Bowl.

1978

Ten years later Paterno was honored again by AFCA. With an undefeated regular season, Paterno's squad lost the National Championship to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl 14-7 due to a legendary goal line stand by the Crimson Tide.

1982

Paterno's first National Championship season was earned with a 27-23 win over an undefeated Georgia team in the Sugar Bowl. This season in turn earned Paterno his third AFCA Coach of the Year honor.

1986

Paterno's second National Championship saw Penn State defense dominate the Miami Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl, in what was the most watched college football game ever. The Lions eneded the season 12-0, earning Paterno his fourth AFCA honor.

2005

Considered one of the greatest turnarounds in recent college football history, Paterno led his 2005 squad to a Big Ten title, BCS bowl birth, No. 3 ranking and a 10-1 regular season mark. This season brought Paterno his first AFCA honor as a Big Ten coach.

It is amazing to consider that on average Paterno has won the Coach of the Year award every eight years on the sideline.

The only other coach that came close to Paterno's five honors was Alabama's Bear Bryant with three awards in 1961, 1971 and 1973. Florida State's Bobby Bowden has never received the award.

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