Hall of Fame Will Have to Wait

Penn State coach Joe Paterno's December Hall of Fame induction is postponed while he recovers from surgery to repair a broken leg and torn knee ligaments. The induction has been pushed back to December of 2007.

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF), announced today that Penn State coach Joe Paterno, a 2006 Hall inductee and the NFF’s 2006 Gold Medal co-recipient, will be forced to miss the Dec. 5 induction and award ceremonies in New York City.

Paterno had been scheduled for induction in to the College Football Hall of Fame alongside Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and 13 players, but because of injuries sustained in a sideline collision during the Nov. 4 Penn State-Wisconsin game, Paterno has been ordered by his doctor to limit his travel for a minimum of six weeks. The two coaches will still be honored at the Dec. 5 event with the NFF’s Gold Medal, the organization’s highest honor, during a video tribute. Paterno’s formal hall of fame induction will be postponed until next year’s event on December 4, 2007 when he can be present.

“Being honored with my good friend Bobby Bowden and receiving the highest honor of this special organization means a great deal to me,” said Coach Paterno. “I was looking forward to being in New York and spending time with Bobby, his wife Anne and their kids, Sue and our kids. I know that December 5 will be a special evening and we’ll look forward to sharing in that next year.”

Paterno was released from the hospital last Friday, five days after surgery to repair a broken shinbone and two torn knee ligaments. Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, the Penn State Director of Athletic Medicine, has ordered limited movement and no weight on his left leg during the anticipated six-week recuperation period. Paterno missed his first game since 1977 last Saturday and only the third game of his legendary 57-year career as his team beat Temple, 47-0.

“We wish Coach Paterno a speedy recovery,” said NFF President Steve Hatchell. “Coach Paterno’s contributions to our sport and the country mean so much to future generations of coaches and players. We’ll miss him December 5, but we look forward to him being with us at the event in December 2007.”

Penn State will be represented at the Dec. 5 event by All-America linebacker Paul Posluszny, who will receive an NFF Scholar-Athlete fellowship. Posluszny is Penn State’s 15th Scholar-Athlete under Coach Paterno.

The Gold Medal, the NFF’s highest honor, has been presented to seven U.S. Presidents, four U.S. Generals, three U.S. Admirals, one U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 25 Corporate CEOs and Chairmen, John Wayne and Jackie Robinson. Paterno and Bowden will become the 49th and 50th recipients of the award, which has been bestowed since 1958. They were selected by the NFF Awards Committee for the honor because of their contributions to the coaching profession and their impact on the lives of countless of young men.


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