Sometimes when an email lands in my inbox, my first thought is, “welp, this’ll go over well in the comments section if I post on it.” Meet Exhibit A of that sarcastic self-conversation.
In a press release sent out Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno will be one of three former Nittany Lion football greats to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame as part of the group’s 53rd annual ceremony Oct. 24. The other two are Chuck Fusina and Matt Bahr.
Here’s the press release notes on each individual inductee:
Paterno guided the Nittany Lions for 45 years and accumulated an NCAA Division I-record 409 victories, including five undefeated, untied seasons. He also led Penn State to National Championships in 1982 and 1986. The College Football Hall of Fame member also claimed 23 Top 10 finishes in the national rankings, as well as an NCAA-record 24 Bowl wins. A five-time AFCA Coach of the Year, Paterno had more than 350 former players sign NFL contracts, including 32 that were first round NFL Draft picks. His influence reached beyond the football field as Paterno produced 16 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes, 37 first-team Capital One/CoSIDA All-Americans® (47 overall) and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners.
Fusina was a quarterback for the Nittany Lions from 1976-78. He was named an All-American as a senior by the Associated Press, Football Writers, Football Coaches, NEA, United Press International and Walter Camp. Fusina led the Lions to an 11-0 regular-season, passing for 1,859 yards and 11 TDs (137-for-242), while winning the Maxwell Award as the Nation’s Outstanding Player. Fusina ranks sixth in Penn State history in career passing yards with 5,382 to go along with 37 touchdown passes, which is seventh in program history. He played in the National Football League with Tampa Bay (1979-82) and Green Bay (1986).
Bahr was a kicker for the Nittany Lions from 1976-78. He was an All-American choice by The Football News, NEA, The Sporting News, United Press International and Walter Camp in 1978. Bahr broke his brother’s (Chris) NCAA percentage record, hitting 22-of-27 field goals (81.5 percent) to hold the record for several years. Bahr’s mark stood as the Penn State record until Sam Ficken (24-29; 82.8) broke the effort in 2014. In his final two seasons in the Blue and White, Bahr went 70-for-72 on extra point attempts and 36-for-51 in field goal attempts. He spent 17 years in the National Football League, which ties for the most years in the NFL by a Penn State player (Kerry Collins).
The induction ceremony will come nearly four years after Paterno was fired in disgrace from his long-time post in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal. Two months after his November of 2011 ouster, Paterno passed away at the age of 85 following a brief battle with cancer.
As part of the historic sanctions levied on the football program, Paterno had 111 of his wins stripped. All of those were reinstated in January of this year, once again making Paterno the all-time leader in wins at the Div. I level.