This Sept. 3 wasn’t just a normal day.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution to make Sept. 3, 2011 “Coach Paterno Day” in the state of Pennsylvania. Earlier this year, State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, introduced this push to designate a day for Paterno through House Resolution 289.
Sue Paterno said she was unaware of the legislation, but she said it is quite an honor for her husband.
In a press release sent Tuesday afternoon, Benninghoff praised Paterno’s accomplishments both on and off the field.
“Coach Paterno has done so much for Pennsylvania that we thought it was appropriate to honor him in this way,” Benninghoff said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.
Benninghoff cited many achievements, including Paterno’s record of more than 400 wins, 36 bowl game appearances, five perfect seasons and two national championships. Benninghoff said Paterno has been a focal point to the Penn State community.
“He is beloved by so many of the students, parents, faculty and alumni of the university,” Benninghoff said in the release. “Perhaps most importantly, his commitment to excellence on and off the field has made him one of the best ambassadors imaginable for our state.”
The Pennsylvania State Senate honored Paterno last year after his 400th win against Northwestern, said legislative director for Jake Corman, R-Centre, Scott Sikorski.
“We think it’s great that the house had recognized his achievements, and we look forward to recognizing the accomplishments as he continues to coach Penn State,” he said.
Penn State Spokesman Geoff Rushton said the commemoration day is an appropriate tribute to Paterno.
“He’s meant a lot to the university, the commonwealth, to football and the country,” Rushton said. “His contributions go well beyond the football field.”
Paterno was also recently nominated for a second time for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award recognizing exceptional meritorious service. Those who nominated him for the award — U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. — also cited the coach’s character and commitment to excellence, academically and athletically, in the nomination.