Penn State Football Comes to Town: Will Obama Honor Joe Paterno With Medal of Freedom?

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There are a lot of Penn State alums down here in the D.C. region. A lot. According to Pat Dunne from the DC Metro Washington Chapter, Penn State Alumni Association, the chapter is the among the top two most active Penn State alumni bases in the country with close to 1,000 active members. It’s incredibly likely that the bulk of supporters are one of the reasons that the Nittany Lions will face off with the Indiana Hoosiers in a late fall football game at FedEx Field come this November, pleasing many fans, for sure.

In addition to the thousands of alums scattered across D.C., Virginia and Maryland, there also seems to be a few fans up inside the Capitol. A Pennsylvania congressman, Glenn Thompson, has recommended to President Obama that he should recognize legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno with the highest citizen honor: a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Rep. Thompson, along with 17 other co-signers, want to see Paterno recognized for his commitment to both sportsmanship and the campus of Penn State. Not surprisingly, Thompson is a Penn State alum himself, and he represents Pennsylvania’s fifth district, which includes State College within its boundaries.

Paterno is the all-time leader in wins as a Division 1 football head coach, earning 394 victories in his 45 years as head coach. This would not be without precedent: two of the other most respected coaches in the history of college sports, John Wooden and Bear Bryant, have also received the medal.

Dave Levy is a PR guy by day, a media researcher on the side and a self-proclaimed geek. He blogs often about how traditional media adapts – or tries to adapt – to the growing digital media world at State of the Fourth Estate. You can follow Dave on Twitter for various updates about everything from sports from his previous home in Boston to eccentric and obscure pop culture references. Read why Dave loves D.C.

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