STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Joe Paterno could add another honor to his trophy case — and it doesn’t get any more prestigious than this.
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson and Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey said they nominated the Penn State football coach for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, citing his contributions to athletics and higher education.
In a letter to President Barack Obama, the lawmakers cited Paterno’s 402 career wins during his 45-years and counting coaching tenure, including two national championships and three Big Ten titles.
But they say his efforts off the field have been just as notable, noting that the Nittany Lions have had 16 Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes, 47 Academic All-Americans and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners under Paterno.
The medal is given by the president for “significant public or private endeavors.”