If you’ve been living under a rock for the better part of the last three years, then you’ve missed quite the ordeal in Happy Valley. So much so that you wouldn’t have known that legendary head coach Joe Paterno ever existed on the Penn State sidelines…at least not since 1998 and 2011.
All wins from that time period were vacated as part of the NCAA sanctions handed down to the Penn State program in light of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and eventual conviction for multiple counts of sexual assault on young boys. That meant JoePa went way down the list of winningest coaches in FBS history.
Penn State got involved after some of the assaults were alleged to have taken place inside the Penn State football facilities and on trips with the football team. That led the NCAA to hammer the Penn State football program with a massive $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, a reduction in scholarships and more.
However, since that agreement between Penn State and the NCAA there have been multiple lawsuits against the agreement. After previously lifting the scholarship reductions and the bowl ban before their time was up, there was one thing left hanging over the football program — the 111 wins that were stripped from the program record books.
On Friday, one of the lawsuits against the NCAA and Penn State agreement came to a settlement. Since most of what was agreed upon was already lifted, the NCAA announced that all wins from 1998 to 2011 would be restored, and that means that Joe Paterno can be officially celebrated as the winningest coach in FBS history.
Paterno now owns 409 wins in his career, putting him tops on a list that has many of the biggest names in college football coaching history on it.
Here is the Top 10 of coaching wins in FBS history:
The Paterno family sees this as a great step in the right direction, but clearly don’t have closure despite this development.
“Fortunately, through the tenacious efforts of Senator Jake Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord, a large measure of the wrong has been righted. This is a major victory in our continued pursuit of justice for Penn State.
“The victims deserve the truth as do those who have been smeared by the deeply flawed Freeh report, which served as the basis of the actions by the Board Trustees and Penn State,” the Paternos continued.
“Through our pending litigation, we intend to continue the job of uncovering the full truth in this case.”