Joe Paterno Named Penn State Head Coach – February 19, 1966
Penn State’s Joe Paterno, whose legacy is both legendary and tragic, was named as the head coach of the school’s football team on February 19, 1966. The 39-year-old Paterno succeeded Rip Engle who had hired him as an assistant in 1950, Engle’s first year coaching at Penn State. Prior to moving to Penn State, Engle coached at Brown University. Paterno was his quarterback there.
Growing up in Brooklyn, Paterno played football, basketball and baseball for Brooklyn Prep, and led “Prep” to its first football win against cross-borough rival, Brooklyn Poly, in 1943.
After Engle retired, nobody was surprised when Paterno won the head coaching job. During their 16 seasons together, Penn State never had a losing season. Paterno became particularly well known for developing quarterbacks. NFL stars Milt Plum and Richie Lucas were among Paterno’s proteges at Penn State, prior to his being named head coach.