Health not expected to keep Penn State's Paterno off the field


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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A health issue has sidelined Penn State coach Joe Paterno for nearly two months, but it is not expected to keep him off the football field this season.

"Coach Paterno has had intestinal issues this summer that have forced him to limit his efforts to team activities and therefore some of his personal appearances have been cancelled," university president Graham Spanier said Monday night in an e-mail.

"We have no reason to be concerned about coach Paterno's ability to lead the team."

Paterno, 83, is the winningest coach in Division I-A history with a record of 394-129-3.

He has been a no-show for three "Evening With Joe" appearances in the past two months due to his illness. He missed two alumni/booster club events in May in Pittsburgh and Hershey and another earlier this month in Philadelphia.

Penn State tight end Mark Wedderburn said recently that he hadn't seen much of Paterno since May.

"I really haven't seen him at all lately," Wedderburn said.

Paterno's intestinal problems have limited his ability to travel and he has been forced to rest and take medication.

The university recently sent out a statement saying that Paterno has been dealing with an "adverse reaction" to antibiotic treatment for dental work.

Paterno, a Hall of Fame coach, will be entering his 45th season this fall. He was an assistant for 16 years for the Nittany Lions before succeeding Rip Engle in February 1966.

Since then, there have been 860 coaching changes in Division I and there have been 32 coaches at other Big Ten schools since Penn State joined the conference in 1993.

Paterno is the all-time leader in bowl wins (24) and appearances (36).


Ron Musselman: rmusselman@post-gazette.com .


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