Joe Paterno Nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Joe Paterno Nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno has been nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award is the nation's highest civilian honor.

Per Executive Order 9586: "The medal may be awarded by the President as provided in this order to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

If awarded, Paterno would become the 21st individual from the sports world and only the third college coach to receive the medal, joining Bear Bryant (1983) and John Wooden (2003).
Thanks to NBC10.com, we can provide for you the letter of nomination signed by U.S Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and U.S. House Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA), the last of whom represents the town of State College.

Here, in its entirety, is the letter that has been sent for the consideration of President Barack Obama. Think this could swing an election? You never know.

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to request that you consider the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) football coach Joe Paterno for the Presidential Medal of Freedom given his substantial contributions to collegiate athletics, higher education and American society.

Coach Paterno’s accomplishments on the football field are nothing short of legendary. During his 45-year tenure at Penn State, he has amassed 402 career wins – more than any other coach in Division I history. He has coached five undefeated teams, two national championship teams, won three Big Ten conference championships, and been named “Coach Of The Year” five times by the American Football Coaches Association.

While these numbers are unrivaled, Coach Paterno’s contributions to society off the field are even more noteworthy. His commitment to the success of student athletes under his guidance is abundantly clear. Under his tenure, Penn State’s football team has had 16 Hall of Fame Scholar-Athletes, 47 Academic All-Americans, and 18 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners – evidence of his dedication to helping his players excel in both athletic and academic endeavors.

Coach Paterno and his family have been incredibly generous, serving as the National Spokesman for the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association, supporting the Special Olympics, and donating millions of dollars to the University for academic programs and libraries. It is common for a university to name a field of play after a coach that has contributed immensely to that institution’s athletic program, but Coach Paterno’s name has been added to a wing of Penn State’s Pattee Library due to his immense contributions to academics at Penn State.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom has historically been awarded for meritorious contributions to the national interests of the United States. Coach Paterno’s contributions exceed this standard by a considerable degree and we respectfully request that you provide him your utmost consideration for the award. It is not unprecedented to award this Presidential Medal of Freedom to collegiate coaches as both Paul “Bear” Bryant and John Wooden have been honored in the past. We believe it is important for Coach Paterno to share in this esteemed recognition.

Coach Paterno over the years has shown tremendous character and loyalty. Throughout his time at Penn State, he has remained committed to reaching goals without sacrificing the ideals that are central to higher education. His contributions to college athletics and higher education, as well as the content of his character, make Coach Joe Paterno deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator

Pat Toomey 
United States Senator

Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson
Member of Congress

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

As part of their “Salute Saturday” series, the Sixers honored the 1966-67 championship team at halftime of their 107-106 loss the Celtics on Saturday.

Fifty years after winning the title, the success of the squad (which went 68-13 in the regular season) still resonates with those representing the Sixers today. After all, they are the group Wilt Chamberlain described as “the best team ever.” 

“It’s just part of the history of this city and the organization,” said Brett Brown, who has established a relationship with Billy Cunningham through practice visits and emails. “There was a toughness with that team that he personified and the city sort of reflects. It’s stuff you hear me talk about all the time how you want our team to reflect the spirit of the city. That team did it.”

Prior to their tribute ceremony, members of the team reflected on their run in which they beat the San Francisco Warriors for the title. 

On Wilt Chamberlain
“Wilt was such a dominant figure, not only as a basketball player, but he’s almost bigger than the game,” Matt Goukas said. “He played so well, he was such a good team player – he started really passing the ball right around that time --and that enabled great scorers like Hal (Greer) and Billy and Chet Walker to do their thing, and Wilt was very happy to give them that leeway.”.

On fond memories
“It was a team that we played well together and we lived as a family and that’s what made it so good for us," Greer said. "A lot of fun, a lot of fun. We missed the next year, but 68-13 is not bad at all.”

“It’s hard to forget a situation like that where we had such a terrific team and the season went so quickly, we won so many games and then of course winning a championship,” Goukas said. “As a first year player I said, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to be, I guess.’ But of course I never won another championship as a player, but we had such a terrific group of guys and true professionals that for me as a rookie, Billy Melchionni as a rookie, we really benefited from guys like Hal Greer, Wally Jones and Harry Costello, they really showed us the way.”

On team chemistry
“It was very difficult times when you look at the sixties from a social aspect,” Cunningham said. “Martin Luther King was killed the following year we won the championship. Race relationships weren’t the best. And this time, which was just about half black-half white, I’m not even sure, it was never an issue. That’s the beauty I think of being on a team you know getting to know people, you judge them as an individual and nothing more than that.”

“I think it was our coach Alex Hannum, for one (that kept the team together),” Greer said. “And of course the big guy. He held us together most of the time, he could rebound, play defense, do it all.”

Ivan Provorov buries Chicago nightmare by showing Blackhawks his true self

Ivan Provorov buries Chicago nightmare by showing Blackhawks his true self

Ivan Provorov moved on but didn’t forget.

The 19-year-old still remembers losing his footing on the United Center ice in front of 21,263 fans, alone in his own end and costing the Flyers a goal in a blowout defeat to the Blackhawks on Oct. 18.

In just his third NHL game, Provorov had his rookie moment. He also had a minus-5 rating when the 7-4 loss was all said and done.

Well, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, he saw the Blackhawks again and made it a point to show them his best. Provorov ripped off two goals in 31 seconds of the second period to erase a 1-0 deficit and spearhead a 3-1 win for the Flyers (see story).

Better output than last time?

Provorov laughed, paused and then laughed again.

“A little bit,” he said. “I think so.

“I was trying to use it as a positive thing. Try to prove that that’s not me, that it’s just one bad game.”

Consider that job done.

“I didn’t play my best at that game,” Provorov said. “But I put it behind me, learned from it and this was a better result tonight.”

In 31 ticks of the clock, the Russian defenseman topped his goal total through the first 25 games (see 10 observations). Provorov uncorked a slap shot and slung a wrister for the tallies early in the middle stanza.

“I think you have to keep everything in perspective from a night like that,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said of Provorov’s first game against Chicago. “He is a guy that continues to work at his game and continues to build.”

Provorov didn’t net the hat trick, but in the same period, saved a goal on the defensive end when he quickly pounced on a puck dribbling toward the goal line off and behind goalie Steve Mason.

“I came from the left corner and I saw the puck was rolling on Mase’s shoulder,” Provorov said. “It went down, rolled to the goal line. I just got there as quick as I could and swiped it out.

“I think it was close. As soon I saw the puck, I tried to get there as fast as I can.”

After experiencing some growing pains to start the season, Provorov has played better. Once he makes a mistake, he rarely makes it again.

“He’s just beyond his years in terms of maturity and the way he studies the game,” Hakstol said a little over two weeks ago. “He’s a young guy that I can probably ask him about a play that happened two weeks ago in a game and he would immediately have recall on that play. A very intelligent player, he’s handled the ups and the downs pretty well."

Mason isn't surprised by Provorov's development.

"When you come into the league at a young age, it’s not easy and you’ve got to get your feet under you," Mason said. "We’re starting to see that [with Provorov]."

And two goals in half a minute don’t hurt.

“Score one goal in a game, it’s a good feeling. Score two in one shift, it’s unbelievable,” Provorov said. “Two great plays by our forwards. The whole team, it was a great effort, we played a great hockey game, so it was easy to play.

“Every time you score, it’s like a confidence booster. For me, it’s defense first but when you get goals and assists, it’s always nice.”

The Flyers had the players’ dads on hand for Saturday’s game. Provorov’s father, Vladimir, couldn’t make it from Russia, but you can bet he tuned in.

“He watches every game back home,” Provorov said. “Today was a little easier because it’s only 9 p.m. back home when the game started, so yeah, I think my whole family watched it.”

He watches the other games at 3, 4 a.m.?

“Yeah,” Provorov said with a smile, “then he takes my brother to practice at 6.”