Kevin and Michelle Coppola have found their new centerpiece.
The Penn State graduates and Baltimore-area couple won Joe Paterno's glasses Saturday with a high bid of $9,000 at the 18th Annual Connoisseur's Dinner and Auction at the Nittany Lion Inn.
"We have a lot of Penn State paraphernalia and sports memorabilia, and this will be the centerpiece," Michelle Coppola said. "We're really excited."
The glasses, which feature the signature of the 83-year-old coach on the left lens, were first bidded on in an online auction, which ended Wednesday. Michelle Coppola posted the highest bid with a minute left.
They were close to their limit: The couple, represented by a proxy at the live auction, set their maximum bid at $10,150. Paterno's Capital One Bowl tie, which he signed upside down, was also auctioned off prior to the eyeglasses. Though other Paterno items were sold in the past, the iconic glasses were a target.
"I've been after these glasses for at least the last two and a half years," Jane Zimmerman, the chair of the dinner committee, said at the podium. "There are three certainties in college football: All players will eventually leave, the ACC will be bad and Joe Paterno."
Paterno's glasses have become even more newsworthy recently after the coach had eye surgery to improve his vision.
"Those glasses, I just thought would really do it. The timing was just right and that was pure luck," Zimmerman said.
Though the recent surgery may have put more of an emphasis on the glasses, the winning couple seemed focused on being part of the event and gaining a part of history.
"When people think of JoePa, they think of his glasses, his rolled-up pant legs and his cleats," Michelle Coppola said. "We thought it was such an important thing to remember him."