PATERNO: By the Book by Joe with Bernard Asbell Paterno

PATERNO: By the Book

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KIRKUS REVIEW

For 23 years, Paterno has chiseled a name for himself in the annals of college football's coaching profession. Here, he speaks out with a memoir-cum-autobiography, assisted by the author of When FDR Died, The Senate Nobody Knows, etc. One of Paterno's hallmarks has been his insistence that football serve the interests of education, not vice versa. Grid players at Penn State have been required by their coach to keep up their studies (and troubled students among them have often been tutored by Paterno's devoted wife). This is a theme that Paterno never strays far from in this memoir. He was raised in the Italian section of Brooklyn, and he dwells here on how his upbringing fed his rare attitude. ""When, as a little kid, you keep hearing of how your father finished high school at night, and then you see him come home late every night from college classes. . .you get the feeling that education is really important."" From his father he also learned what one plays games for: ""I don't remember him ever asking, 'Did you win?' His question always was, 'Did you have fun?'"" Another, unexpected, teacher to Paterno was the Roman Virgil, who taught him that there is suffering in the very nature of things, but that ""nobody is guaranteed a reward, a victory, in repayment for his suffering."" Precepts such as these have led Paterno to over 200 victories in only 23 seasons, to six undefeated seasons, and to selection as coach of the year three times. Tempted by the offer of independent wealth to become head coach of the Boston Patriots in 1972, Paterno recounts how he snapped at the bait--dollar signs in his eyes--but then called the Boston organization the next morning to turn it down after spying the tears in his wife's eyes as she fed their baby in the middle of the night. Thus did Paterno become almost synonymous with Penn State for a quarter-century. A class memoir from a coach with real class.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1989
ISBN: 0786101660
Publisher: Random House