Brown Mourns The Passing of Joe Paterno ‘50

Brown Mourns The Passing of Joe Paterno ‘50

Providence, Rhode Island - Brown University mourns the loss of legendary football coach and Brown Hall of Fame football player Joe Paterno '50, who passed away Sunday morning in State College, Pa.

"This is a sad day for the Brown University community and the Brown Football Program," said Brown head football coach Phil Estes.  "My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the Paterno Family."

"Joe Paterno was a great mentor for all of college football. I have considered him my role model for my career here at Brown." added Estes. "I had several opportunities to talk with Joe about football and Brown University, and will cherish those memories. Coach Paterno has been an important part of our football tradition and we will continue to celebrate his storied career and life."

Paterno, Brown Class of 1950, impacted Brown University long before he began his coaching career for the Nittany Lions.  A standout quarterback and defensive back for the Bears, Paterno completed his career on College Hill as one of the greatest in Brown football history, and went on to Penn State to become a nationally renowned coach, educator, leader, philanthropist and humanitarian.

Under the tutelage of head coach Rip Engle, Paterno blossomed into the heady quarterback of the Bears football team that went 8-1 and was an Eastern powerhouse in 1949. 

Legendary sportswriter Stanly Woodward once described Paterno as a quarterback, "who can't run, can't pass – just thinks and wins."

In addition to his role in the rushing and passing offenses, Paterno also returned punts and kickoffs, posting career averages of 8.8 and 20.1 yards, respectively.  He had a 69-yard punt return for a touchdown against Holy Cross in 1949. A heady defensive back, Paterno still holds the all-time Brown career interception record (14).

Paterno is also a member of the Brown Athletics Hall of Fame and was named to Brown's 125th Anniversary All-Time team at defensive back.

After his senior football season, Paterno took an offer from Engle to work on a part-time basis with the Brown quarterbacks while awaiting graduation.  Shortly after, Engle was named the head coach at Penn State and Paterno joined him as an assistant coach, "for just a few years."