Paterno Voted to Hall of Fame

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2006. The class includes 13 players and two coaches — Paterno, and, interestingly enough, longtime rival Bobby Bowden of Florida State.

The class was announced Tuesday at a press conference in New York City.

Paterno (354-117-3) and Bowden (359-107-4) are the two winningest coaches in major college football history. They last went head to head at the Orange Bowl Jan. 3, where the Nittany Lions edged the Seminoles 26-23 in triple overtime.

The 2006 College Football Hall of Fame Division I-A Class will be formally inducted at a special dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York Dec. 5. The official enshrinement at the Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., will be in the summer of 2007. “I am very honored to be selected for the Hall of Fame,” stated Paterno. “It is probably the pinnacle award anyone in college football can receive. Many people helped make this happen, starting with the great players with whom I’ve been involved and the great coaches who have been with me and worked in an unselfish way to help us have success and make the Penn State program what it is.

“I look forward to being in New York with my good friend Bobby Bowden and am delighted that we are going into the Hall of Fame together. I want to thank the Honors Court for selecting me. Hopefully, I deserve it.”

“This is the highest honor in college football and a very rare honor for a coach, so we are especially proud that Joe Paterno’s lifetime of accomplishments is being recognized,” said Penn State president Graham Spanier.

"We are thrilled with Joe Paterno's election to the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Tim Curley, Penn State director of athletics. “Coach Paterno has had a profound impact on Penn State, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, college football and society as a coach, teacher and humanitarian. He has touched the lives of thousands of former players, Penn State students, alumni and fans, student-athletes at other institutions and many others.

"When Joe Paterno became head coach in 1966, he had a vision for Penn State and his program,” Curley added. “He wanted Penn State to strive to become the best institution of higher learning it could be. And he wanted to build a football program with young men who understood that getting a quality education had to be their first goal, followed by developing teams that could compete for the national championship. He obviously has been very successful in building and maintaining those two foundations of his program throughout his magnificent career and is most deserving of induction into the College Football Hall of Fame."

Paterno is the fourth Penn State coach to enter the Hall, following Hugo Bezdek (1954), Bob Higgins (1954) and Rip Engle (1974). Seventeen former Nittany Lion players are in the Hall, with Keith Dorney (2005) being the most recent inductee.

The players joining Paterno and Bowden in this year's class are:

• Bobby Anderson - RB, Colorado, 1967-69

• Bennie Blades - DB, Miami (Fla.), 1985-87

• Carl Eller - T, Minnesota, 1961-63

• Steve Emtman - DL, Washington, 1989-91

• Thomas Everett - FS, Baylor, 1983-86

• Chad Hennings - DT, Air Force, 1984-87

• Chip Kell - OG, Tennessee, 1968-70

• Mike Phipps - QB, Purdue, 1967-69

• Mike Rozier - RB, Nebraska, 1981-83

• Jeff Siemon - LB, Stanford, 1968-71

• Bruce Smith - DT, Virginia Tech, 1981-84

• Emmitt Smith - RB, Florida, 1987-89

• Charlie Ward - QB, Florida State, 1989, 1991-93

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