Paterno will miss his peers

November 13, 1996


The Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Instead of discussing X's and O's, Joe Paterno spent much of his weekly press conference Tuesday on the issues of on-campus gambling and job security among Big Ten coaches.

Four conference coaches have lost their jobs this season. Illinois fired Lou Tepper and Indiana fired Bill Mallory, while Purdue's Jim Colletto and Minnesota's Jim Wacker chose to resign.

``I'm saddened. All the people that are leaving this year are all really quality people - people I like very much,'' said Paterno, who has been at Penn State for 47 seasons, including 31 as head coach.


``I think it's a crying shame when people like that can't be kept in our profession,'' he said. ``They're all good people and I am truly sorry to see them go.''

Paterno's 11th-ranked Nittany Lions (8-2, 4-2) have games remaining this season against two Big Ten schools with second-year coaches. Penn State plays at No. 16 Michigan (7-2, 4-2) Saturday and hosts Michigan State Nov. 23.

Paterno, whose teams have won two national championships, said the coaching carousel makes his job more difficult.

``You've got to get used to new people,'' he said. ``New schemes on both offense and defense. Different psychology. Different people handle things in different ways. It makes our job more demanding.''

The nation's winningest active coach said his team took advantage of the off week to get rested and healthy.

``It can work either way. There are some years where I would not want to have a week off,'' Paterno said. ``But I think we needed this week off. Many of the young kids were getting tired and run down. Now, we're fresh. I think it's a big advantage for us.''

Paterno was also asked his opinion on the Boston College gambling scandal. Thirteen players were suspended last week for violating an NCAA rule that prohibits gambling.

``The rules we have are tough because they don't apply to society,'' Paterno said, referring to the popularity of lotteries, legalized gambling and office betting pools. ``You can't just take a bunch of people and say, OK, we're going to take you out of all that and put you over here - as if we're monks.''

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