Among the honors being heaped on Nittany Lion head coach Joe Paterno this year is his second Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award. The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award is to honor the Division I football coach whose programs represent quality on and off of the field. Paterno had previously won the prestigious award in 1981.
Since 1976 outstanding college football coaches have been recognized for their leadership both on and off the playing field. The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award winners are among the greatest coaches in the history of collegiate football—coaches who closely emulated the principles espoused by Coach Bobby Dodd throughout his lifetime.
In order for a coach to be eligible to receive the Bobby Dodd Award, he must not only win on the gridiron, but he must lead his players to excel in the classroom and in service to their fellow man. On the award plaque that is presented are these words: “In recognition of a high and more noble aspect of college coachingâ€¦a style that emphasizes something more than winning the gameâ€¦a belief that the game of football should be kept in perspective with college life in general.” That is what the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award is all about.
JoePa holds a unique distinction over other, younger coaches who have been honored with this award in that he has met the award’s namesake, Bobby Dodd, who passed away in 1988.
“The thing I feel best about is the fact that Coach Dodd was such a great example of what college football is all about,” said Paterno upon receiving the award. “When I was a young coach visiting the Georgia Tech campus, he pulled me aside and said, ‘Why do you want to coach?’ I told him why and he said, ‘Remember, college football is something special. Don’t ever neglect it!'”
Dodd began his coaching career with Georgia Tech in the spring of 1931. He served 14 years as William A. Alexander’s top assistant before replacing him in 1945 as Georgia Tech’s third head coach. Over the next 22 years, Dodd led the Yellow Jackets to a stellar 165 wins, 64 losses and eight ties. His teams won nine of their 13 post-season bowl game appearances, and 22 of his players were honored as first team All-Americans. Once he retired from coaching, Dodd worked as a consultant to the Georgia Tech National Alumni Association.
For more information about the award, see the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation site.