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September 01, 2016

Penn State reportedly plans to honor Paterno for first time since 2011 prior to Temple game

After a major beatdown last season, Penn State will be looking for revenge on the field when the Temple Owls travel across the state to Happy Valley on September 17th. And while the game doesn’t figure to make a major mark nationally (neither team is ranked in the preseason polls), something Penn State plans to do before the game certainly could.

According to Onward State, the school will mark the 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno’s first game as Nittany Lions head coach before the Temple game:

The news was nestled deep in a press release today announcing the season’s promotional calendar. The Athletics Department is officially calling it “Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Coach Paterno’s first game as Penn State head coach,” although it is not yet clear what all that will entail.

Aside from briefly appearing in several pump up videos shown before kickoff, Paterno has not been officially recognized in Beaver Stadium since he walked out for the last time on October 29, 2011.

Paterno’s first game as Penn State head coach was a 15-7 victory over Maryland on September 17th, 1966. That was the first of his 409 career wins (all while leading the Nittany Lions), an NCAA Division 1 record.

Paterno’s reported involvement in covering up the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal is why the iconic figure hasn’t been officially recognized by the school since leaving in 2011. The longtime coach was fired on November 9th, 2011 and then passed away a little more than two months later at the age of 85.

If the school does decide to go through with the ceremony, it’s safe to say that the decision will prove controversial.