posted on May, 13 2004 @ 08:46 PM
Despite three losing seasons in the last four years, Joe Paterno got a four-year contract extension from Penn State on Thursday that will take him
past his 80th birthday.
Penn State went 3-9 last season, the worst record in Paterno's 39 seasons as head coach of the Nittany Lions. It was just the fourth losing season
since Paterno joined the coaching staff in 1950.
Penn State didn't win a road game for the first time since the 1936 season, and finished below .500 in the Big Ten (1-7) for the first time since
joining the conference for the 1993 season.
"I appreciate this extension and show of confidence in me and our football program,'' Paterno said in a statement. "I still enjoy coaching and I'm
excited about the upcoming season and the incoming recruiting class."
In a statement, university president Graham Spanier praised Paterno's "success on the field, the graduation rate of his student athletes and the
positive impact his players have made on society."
Terms of the deal were not released.
The contract for the 77-year-old Paterno was scheduled to end after the 2004 season and, because of Penn State's recent lack of success, many
questioned if the coach would return.
But Paterno, 77, has repeatedly said he wants to continue coaching as long as he's healthy.
"Penn State's future is bright and we are determined to have a team which in the future will again be in the mix for a national championship," he
Paterno won national championships in 1982 and 1986 and has coached five undefeated teams. His overall record is 339-109-3, and he is second only to
Florida State's Bobby Bowden in major-college wins.