Lyndon Johnson was president when Joe Paterno, nearly 40, became head football coach at Penn State. NASA hadn’t reached the moon yet. Most television sets were black and white.
Four decades later, Paterno, now 81, is still coaching the Nittany Lions and was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night in South Bend, Ind.
Paterno reached the Hall with a record of 372-125-3, national championships in 1982 and ’86 and five undefeated seasons.
But wins and losses often took a back seat to the joy of competition for the Brooklyn native with Coke-bottle glasses who disappointed his father by choosing football instead of law school.
His dad had one message for him nonetheless — “Have an impact” — which Paterno said he never forgot as he tried to teach athletes how to become not only better players but better people.
“That kind of stuck in my craw,” he told The Associated Press. “I think a way to have an impact on the place is to have an impact on the people — the people around you and the people you coach.”
• FAN FAVORITES — A Harris Poll of major league baseball fans found the New York Yankees were their favorite team — for the sixth year in a row.
The Atlanta Braves were second, followed by the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. The Los Angeles Dodgers climbed to fifth from 11th the previous year.
The Colorado Rockies, fresh from their World Series appearance last season, made the largest move up, rising to 13th from 27th a year earlier.
And the Los Angeles Angels? They dropped from 23rd last year to next to last in the latest poll, ahead of only the Toronto Blue Jays.
Harris provided no reason for why the Angels have fallen.
• SEX SELLS — Sex appeal in women’s tennis, as Tennis Week magazine recently put it, had been a little secret in the sport, but lately “it no longer looks so little or so secret.”
The magazine pointed to a growing focus on the players’ allure, from Ana Ivanovic being photographed with British tycoon Sir Richard Branson to glamour shots of Daniela Hantuchova in an airline magazine.
Then there’s Ashley Harkleroad on the cover of Playboy.
“All sports are trying to distinguish themselves through their athletes and the glamorous nature of what they do,” Larry Scott, chief executive of the Women’s Tennis Association Tour, told London’s Financial Times last month. “That’s what sponsors are after.”
Harkleroad told ESPN the Magazine that her boyfriend and agents negotiated the Playboy appearance, adding “I enjoy being in front of a camera.”
As for any reaction from other WTA players, she said: “They understand what I was doing; I haven’t heard any negative feedback from them.”
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