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Sarra To Be Inducted Into Mid-Mon Valley Sports Hall of Fame

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa., June 28, 2001 -- Joe Sarra, a member of the Penn State football staff for 17 years, will be inducted into the Mid-Mon Valley Sports Hall of Fame. The induction is Friday, June 29 at 7:00 p.m. in Gallagher Hall on the campus of California (Pa.) University.

A member of the Nittany Lion coaching staff for 16 years, Sarra is in his second year as an administrative assistant to Coach Joe Paterno. Sarra assumed his new duties in February, 2000 as assistant to the head coach for special projects. Among his areas of concentration are sports camps, dealings with sports agents and professional teams, speaking requests for players and coaches, facilities management and athletic fund-raising.

The Lions' defensive line coach for six years, after previously working with the inside linebackers, the enthusiastic Sarra was instrumental in the development of standout junior defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy and 1996 All-Big Ten pick Brandon Noble, who plays for the Dallas Cowboys. Another pupil, tackle Lou Benfatti, earned first-team All-America accolades in 1993 and played three years with the New York Jets before an injury ended his career.

Another Sarra pupil was Andre Collins, a former starter for the Washington Redskins. Collins was the second of Sarra's linebackers to earn first-team All-America honors, following in the footsteps of Shane Conlan, a two-time All-America and 1987 first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills. Sarra protegees Keith Goganious and Mark D'Onofrio, the starting inside linebackers on the 1991 Lion defense, also played in the NFL.

Born in Fayette City, Pa., Sarra joined the Penn State staff in 1984. He also coached at Lafayette and Miami (O.) and was an assistant coach at Hempfield and Belle Vernon Area high schools in Pennsylvania before serving 10 years as head coach at Southern Columbia and East Washington high schools.

Sarra served as head freshman coach at Miami (O.) and was the defensive coordinator for seven years and offensive coordinator for five seasons at Lafayette, before joining the staff of The Second Mile, a State College-based organization concerned with the welfare of young people.

A 1960 graduate of California (Pa.) State with a degree in social studies education and guidance, he received a master's in secondary administration and counseling from West Virginia in 1964. The Awards and Honors Committee of the California Alumni Association selected Sarra as the recipient of the Michael Duda Athletic Medallion in 1992.

In 1998, Sarra received the All-American Football Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, he was inducted into the Bernie Romanoski Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

Sarra and his wife, the former Barbara Benjeski of Duquesne, Pa., have two sons, Joe, Jr., and Scott.

 

 

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