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STATE COLLEGE, Pa., February 28, 2002 - Nearly 600 business, civic and cultural leaders will honor Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, on Friday, March 1 at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society/ Sovereign Bank MS Dinner of Champions in Philadelphia.
The event will be held at the Adam's Mark Hotel and will be highlighted by the presentation of the Hope Award for Paterno's outstanding civic and educational achievements.
KYW-TV news anchor Larry Kane will serve as the evening's master of ceremonies. The event's festive tailgate reception begins at 7:00 p.m., with the dinner/program beginning at 8:00 p.m.
Entering his 37th season as head coach and his 53rd year as a member of the Penn State coaching staff, Paterno owns a 327-96-3 record, a winning percentage of .771. On October 27, he became the career wins leader among major college coaches with 324, breaking a tie with the late Paul "Bear" Bryant. His 327 wins are third-best all-time in NCAA football history and he is fourth among active Division I-A coaches in winning percentage.
Paterno also is third in all-time games coached (426) among major college coaches, trailing only Amos Alonzo Stagg (548) and Pop Warner (457).
A 1950 graduate of Brown University, Paterno has directed Penn State to five unbeaten seasons (1968-69-73-86-94), two national championships (1982, 1986) and is the all-time bowl wins leader with a 20-9-1 postseason record. He is second only to Stagg (41) in years coached at one school.
Paterno is just one of nine coaches in NCAA history to record 300 wins (five in Division I-A), reaching the milestone faster than anyone (380 games). He is the only Division I-A coach with 300 wins at one school. He has been instrumental in Penn State's 431-144-7 record since 1950, with its .746 winning percentage the nation's best over the past 52 seasons and has guided the Nittany Lions to 20 top-10 finishes.
He is the only four-time winner of the AFCA's Division I-A National Coach of the Year Award (1968-78-82-86) and the only man to win the award in three different decades at any level. Earlier this month, he received the AFCA's Amos Alonzo Stagg Award. Along with these accomplishments, Paterno has posted 11 or more wins in a season 12 times, coached 55 first team All-America selections and sent more than 250 players to the National Football League, including 25 first round draft picks.
During Paterno's legendary career, he also has produced 21 first-team Academic All-Americans,
17 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners and 14 National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes.
The MS Dinner of Champions began in New York City in 1972 and is held in more than 75 National MS Society chapters across the United States. The Greater Delaware Valley Chapter's 2002 Dinner was spearheaded by a wide range of civic leaders including Ira M. Lubert, Lubert-Adler Management, Inc.; the Honorable W. Thacher Longstreth, Philadelphia City Council; the Honorable Nichaols J. Maiale; Jay Sidhu, Sovereign Bancorp/Sovereign Bank; and Larry Christenson, Phoenix Investment Partners, among many others.
The National MS Society is dedicated to ending the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis. To meet this mission, the organization supports more MS research and serves more people with MS than any national voluntary MS agency in the world. It is the only national voluntary MS agency that meets the standards of all major organization that rate not-for-profit groups. For more information, please call 800-548-4611 or visit www.nationalmssociety.org.