Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Coach of the Year: JoePa

The Monk's favorite college football team has been Penn State since my days as a tyke watching the weekly highlights show on channel 9 before Monday Night Football. My allegiance waned a bit under pressure of rooting for my university but the true colors never faded as I followed the Nittany Lions from Charlottesville -- those colors came out when Penn State came back to knock off Notre Dame in South Bend in 1990 on a late FG when the Irish were #1 and I called my old man to gloat (he's one of those NYC Catholics who identified with Notre Dame from afar -- the notorious "subway alumni").

Moreover, it's easy to root for Penn State because Paterno does what he's supposed to: run a clean program and ensure his players graduate.

So after four losing seasons in five years, and an especially terrible season in 2004 when the Lions were unable to balance an excellent defense with an offense any better than awful (paradigm loss -- a 6-4 home defeat to Iowa), it's highly gratifying to see Penn State win the Big Tenplusone, go 10-1 and end up thisclose to a perfect season. More gratifying is this:

Paterno won the AP Coach of the Year Award in a landslide.

Not bad for a 79-year old man whom the game allegedly had passed by.

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