University Park — Joe Paterno has been named to the Paul "Bear" Bryant College Football Coach of the Year Watch List. He is among a distinguished list of Football Bowl Subdivision coaches nominated for the 2009 honor.
Paterno was the recipient of the inaugural Bryant Coach of the Year Award in 1986 and was a finalist in 1994 and 2005. He also won the award in 1978 and '82 before the Bryant-American Heart Association sponsorship began. Paterno is a candidate for the honor for the second consecutive year, having led Penn State to an 11-2 record and the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl berth in 2008.
In his 44th season as Penn State head coach and 60th as a member of the coaching staff, Paterno has led the Nittany Lions to a 7-1 overall record and the No. 12 ranking in the Associated Press and Bowl Championship Series rankings and the No. 10 spot in the USA Today Coaches poll.
The Nittany Lions are 47-12 (79.7) since the start of the 2005 season, the nation's ninth-best record over that span, with two Big Ten titles and Bowl Championship Series appearances.
Paterno is the all-time leader in victories among major college coaches. A 1950 graduate of Brown University, he owns a career record of 390-128-3. A three-time recipient of the Dave McClain-Big Ten Coach of the Year, his winning percentage of 75.1 ranks second among active coaches with 10 or more years as an FBS head coach.
The longest-serving head coach at one school in major college football history, Paterno has led the Nittany Lions to two national championships (1982 and 1986) and five undefeated seasons (1968, 1969, 1973, 1986 and 1994). He has been selected as the AFCA National Coach of the Year an unprecedented five times, and is the all-time leader in bowl wins with a record of 23-11-1 and ranks second in winning percentage among coaches with at least 12 bowl appearances. He is the only coach to win the Rose, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Cotton Bowls.
Inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2007, he is one of only nine coaches in NCAA history (five in Division I-A) to win 300 games and reached the milestone faster than anyone (380 games). Paterno also is the only FBS head coach with 300 victories at one school.
Since Paterno became head coach in 1966, there have been 838 head coaching changes among Division I-A programs, an average of more than six changes per I-A institution.
Under Paterno, Penn State has had 15 Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes, 31 first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans, (42 overall) and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners.
Al Golden, Temple head coach and former Nittany Lion player and assistant coach, also is among the candidates for the 2009 Bear Bryant Award.
The other FBS coaches on the Bryant Football Coach of the Year Watch List are: Robb Akey (Idaho), Mack Brown (Texas), Pete Carroll (USC), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech), Brian Kelly (Cincinnati), Chip Kelly (Oregon), Bronco Mendenhall (BYU), Urban Meyer (Florida), Les Miles (LSU), Gary Patterson (TCU), Chris Petersen (Boise State), Nick Saban (Alabama), Randy Shannon (Miami), Bill Stewart (West Virginia), Kevin Sumlin (Houston) and Dave Wannstedt (Pittsburgh).
The Bryant Coach of the Year finalists will be announced in December and attend an awards dinner in Houston on Jan. 14, 2010. The winner will be announced that evening. The recipient of the Bryant College Football Coach of the Year is voted on by members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and is the only college coaching award voted on after all bowl games are played.
The Nittany Lions (7-1, 3-1) visit Northwestern (5-3, 2-2) on Saturday, Oct. 31. Kickoff for the clash is set for 4:30 p.m. ET at Ryan Field and will be televised by ESPN. The Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com also will air the contest. The Northwestern game will be the 675th contest Paterno has coached in since coming to Penn State in 1950.