Joseph Vincent "Joe" Paterno, sometimes referred to as "JoePa," was an American college football coach who was the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 to 2011. His career ended with his dismissal from the team for his role in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.
Paterno was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended Brown University, where he played football both as the quarterback and a cornerback. Originally planning to be a lawyer, he instead signed on as an assistant football coach at Penn State in 1950, persuaded by his college coach Rip Engle who had taken over as Penn State's head coach. In 1966, Paterno was named as Engle's successor. He soon coached the team to two undefeated regular seasons in 1968 and 1969. The team won two national championships—in 1982 and 1986. Paterno coached five undefeated teams that won major bowl games and, in 2007, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach. In all, he led the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl appearances with 24 wins while turning down offers to coach NFL teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots.