Penn State announced plans on Thursday to honor controversial former head coach Joe Paterno before the team kicks off against in-state rival Temple on September 17.
The Nittany Lions did not provide further details as to what exactly the program will do to honor Paterno, but did state that they would “commemorate” the 50th anniversary of his first game as the head football coach at Penn State. The announcement came buried in a new webpage designed to call attention to promotions surrounding the football team during the 2016 season.
The move to pay tribute to their former head coach marks a sharp reversal from the way Penn State has kept Paterno at arm’s length since he stepped down in 2011. The school removed a statue of Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium and has generally steered clear of even mentioning the coach after allegations against former PSU assistant Jerry Sandusky surfaced involving the sexual assault of several children in State College.
Paterno was in charge of the Penn State program from 1966 to 2011 and is the NCAA’s winningest coach in major college football history. Still, his legacy has largely come to be defined by what he did or did not know regarding the actions of Sandusky, with lawsuits involving the school and former victims continuing to unfold.
The Nittany Lions game against Temple will kickoff at noon ET.