70 Motivational Joe Paterno Quotes on Success

Joe Paterno nicknamed “JoePa” was a famous American football coach at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) from 1966-2011.

With 409 wins he was the most successful major-college coach.

Before coaching he served in the U.S. Army during World War II and played football at Brown University.

Under his guidance Penn State achieved multiple undefeated seasons but only won national championships in 1982 and 1986.


Paterno also supported academic integrity and funded non-sport programs.

Here is a collection of the most inspirational quotes by Joe Paterno.

Best Joe Paterno Quotes and Sayings on Success

1. “Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things.” ~ (Joe Paterno).


2. “Publicity is like poison; it doesn’t hurt unless you swallow it. ~ (Joe Paterno).

3. “When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality. ~ (Joe Paterno).

4. “Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart, and mind, confidence is the key to all the locks. ~ (Joe Paterno).

5. “Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy. ~ (Joe Paterno).

6. “Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good. ~ (Joe Paterno).

7. “You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others. That’s the mark of a true professional. ~ (Joe Paterno).

8. “What is a coach? We are teachers. Educators. We have the same obligations as all teachers, except we probably have more influence than anybody but their families. And, in a lot of cases, more than their families. ~ (Joe Paterno).

9. “To teach an academic subject is certainly not easy, but compared to coaching, it is. We can say ‘two plus two is four’ to every kid and be sure that we are right. But in coaching, we have to literally get to the soul of the people we are dealing with. ~ (Joe Paterno).

10. “It’s the name on the front of the jersey that matters most, not the one on the back. ~ (Joe Paterno).

11. “We shall act with good intentions, but at times we will be wrong. When we are, let us admit it and try to right the situation. ~ (Joe Paterno).

12. “The minute you think you’ve got it made, disaster is just around the corner. ~ (Joe Paterno).

13. “I don’t think I deviated from what I’m all about and what I thought was important. Whether you want to call that a legacy, or whatever you want to call it. ~ (Joe Paterno).


14. “It doesn’t matter what people think of me. I’ve lived my life. ~ (Joe Paterno).

15. “I’ve had a wonderful experience here at Penn State. ~ (Joe Paterno).

16. “In every life, there have to be some shadows. Look at me. My life has been filled with sunshine. A beautiful and caring wife. Five healthy children. I got to do what I loved. How many people are that lucky? ~ (Joe Paterno).

17. “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital. ~ (Joe Paterno).

18. “You need to play with supreme confidence, or else you’ll lose again, and then losing becomes a habit. ~ (Joe Paterno).

19. “The name on the front of the jersey is what really matters, not the name on the back. ~ (Joe Paterno).

20. “I’m not as concerned about me. What’s happened to me has been great. I got five great kids. Seventeen grandchildren. ~ (Joe Paterno).

Top Joe Paterno Quotes

21. “Here, I have an opportunity to affect the lives of a lot of young people – and not just on my football team. I’m not kidding myself that that would be true at the professional level. ~ (Joe Paterno).

22. “We have to realize a kid will love us one day and hate us the next. That cannot change who we are and what we are about. ~ (Joe Paterno).

23. “When a kid plays football games before he attends a class, something is wrong. ~ (Joe Paterno).

24. “One play here or one play there and they could have had it, but we got it. It was a great football game with two teams playing as hard as they can play, and it came down to one play. ~ (Joe Paterno).

25. “One play here, one play there and it could have gone the other way. But we got it, and I’ll take it. ~ (Joe Paterno).


26. “It came down to one play. It could have gone the other way. ~ (Joe Paterno).

27. “I thought we showed some greatness last night. ~ (Joe Paterno).

28. “I think we’re gonna be ready to play. ~ (Joe Paterno).

29. “I was thinking ‘When are we going to get this thing over. I looked at my watch at one point and it was three hours past my bedtime and we were still playing. ~ (Joe Paterno).

30. “We came close to being an undefeated football team. ~ (Joe Paterno).

Famous Joe Paterno Quotes

31. “You have to learn to pace yourself and learn what you do well. ~ (Joe Paterno).

32. “You guys can pick on me all you want, but I don’t pay any attention to you, because I don’t have to. I don’t give darn what you guys think, to be honest with you. ~ (Joe Paterno).

33. “A couple of passes we thought we could develop downfield and we didn’t get a chance to, because Mike had to run for his life a couple times. ~ (Joe Paterno).

34. “You’re talking apples and oranges now. Cincinnati came up and beat us in ’83. Cincinnati should have beaten Ohio State the year they won the national championship (2002). ~ (Joe Paterno).

35. “They took it. Nobody pouted. The captains got them together and all’s well that ends well. ~ (Joe Paterno).

36. “I told him we’re too old for this. It’s almost past my bedtime. ~ (Joe Paterno).

37. “It’s a little different when you are doing it in practice and when you are in a ballgame and want to get an extra yard and you get careless with the football… That should come with experience. ~ (Joe Paterno).

38. “It’s a little different what you are doing in practice and when you are in a ballgame and want to make an extra yard and you get a little bit careless with the football. That should come with experience. ~ (Joe Paterno).

Inspiring Joe Paterno Quotes

39. “No, I was not aware of that. What was he doing out there? Can he swim? ~ (Joe Paterno).

40. “It was a great football game. I’m glad we won, but we’re very humbled. One play here, one play there and it could have turned out different. ~ (Joe Paterno).


41. “I’m fairly optimistic we’re gonna be a decent football team. ~ (Joe Paterno).

42. “I kept him out of the lineup because I felt he had to understand. I just felt, you’ve got to grow up. ~ (Joe Paterno).

43. “I looked at my watch 12:30, quarter to one. I kept saying to myself, ‘When are we going to get this thing over? ~ (Joe Paterno).

44. “I don’t think there’s any football player who’s done more to rejuvenate a squad than Michael Robinson has done. Michael Robinson is one of the greatest football players I’ve ever coached and I’ve coached a couple of pretty good ones. ~ (Joe Paterno).

45. “I don’t look at it as something personal. All I wanted to do was make sure everyone knew that we have a good football team. ~ (Joe Paterno).

Short Joe Paterno Quotes

46. “The coaches thought he ought to have another shot, so I gave him another shot. ~ (Joe Paterno).

47. “Sport is a product of human culture. America seems to need football at this state of our social development. When you get ninety million people watching a single game on television, it … shows you that people need something to identify with. ~ (Joe Paterno).

48. “Some things I thought were important for a young man to know. ~ (Joe Paterno).

49. “When a kid plays football before he attends a class, something is wrong. ~ (Joe Paterno).

50. “You must relate athletic experiences to life. ~ (Joe Paterno).

51. “I stayed on the track I wanted to stay on. I don’t think I deviated from what I’m all about and what I thought was important. Whether you want to call that a legacy, or whatever you want to call it. ~ (Joe Paterno).

52. “There’s never been a greater game than football. ~ (Joe Paterno).

53. “There has to be some self-denial. ~ (Joe Paterno).

54. “My father said about money: ‘You have to have some. But you don’t have to have all of it. Just be honest with yourself.’ ~ (Joe Paterno).

55. “All coaches are thinking men, or else they wouldn’t survive. ~ (Joe Paterno).


56. “Confidence, excellence becomes a reality. ~ (Joe Paterno).

57. “I still haven’t gotten that little something out of my system that I’m still not a kid going to a football game. I’m excited. ~ (Joe Paterno).

58. “We play with enthusiasm and recklessness. We aren’t afraid to lose. If we win, great; but win or lose, it is the competition that gives us pleasure. ~ (Joe Paterno).

Joe Paterno Quotes for Motivation

59. “I had a great bunch of kids. They all hung with us. The coaching staff hung with us. And we played tough every game. If you’ve got kids that want to play and react to you, it’s fun. I’m having a good time. ~ (Joe Paterno).

60. “Everybody likes to win. It sure beats the devil out of losing. ~ (Joe Paterno).

61. “In hindsight, I wish I had done more.  ~ (Joe Paterno).

62. “Don’t just stand back and play the way you’re coached. A great player must rise to the occasion and turn the game around on his own. ~ (Joe Paterno).

63. “Success is best measured by the achiever. ~ (Joe Paterno).

64. “Failure is not getting beat. Failure is when you don’t do a good job preparing. ~ (Joe Paterno).


65. “You can’t have a great university without a great library. ~ (Joe Paterno).

66. “What counts in sports is not the victory, but the magnificence of the struggle. ~ (Joe Paterno).

67. “We need people who influence their peers and who cannot be detoured from their convictions by peers who do not have the courage to have any convictions. ~ (Joe Paterno).

68. “If I had to do it over again, I’d probably play the game the same way. ~ (Joe Paterno).

69. “My name, I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it’s gone. ~ (Joe Paterno).

70. “Keep hustling, something good will happen. ~ (Joe Paterno).

So, these were some of the best quotes by Joe Paterno.

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Short Biography of Joe Paterno

Joseph Vincent Paterno, known as JoePa, was an influential American college football coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 until his dismissal in 2011 due to a child sex abuse scandal.

Born in Brooklyn and a Brown University alumnus, Paterno had a record-breaking career with 409 victories, two national championships, and five undefeated teams.

Full Name Joseph Vincent Paterno
Other Name JoePa
Born December 21, 1926, Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died January 22, 2012 (age 85 years), State College, Pennsylvania, United States
Team coached Penn State Nittany Lions football (Head coach, 1966–2011)
Spouse Suzanne Pohland (m. 1962–2012), Sue Paterno (m. 1962–2012)
Children Jay Paterno, Scott Paterno, Mary Kay Paterno, David Paterno, Diana Paterno
Grandchild Joseph Vincent Paterno III

His accolades include induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

Paterno’s legacy was tarnished by allegations of covering up abuse by his assistant, leading to the temporary removal of Penn State’s wins from 1998-2011, which were later restored in 2015 after legal challenges highlighted flaws in the investigation process.

He passed away in 2012 from lung cancer complications.

Quick Facts about Joe Paterno

  • Joe Paterno was born on December 21, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York.
  • He played quarterback and cornerback at Brown University.
  • Paterno joined Penn State’s coaching staff as an assistant in 1950.
  • He became the head coach of Penn State in 1966.
  • Paterno led Penn State to national championships in 1982 and 1986.
  • He holds the record for most victories by a major college football coach, with 409 wins.
  • His teams included 111 All-Americans.
  • Paterno emphasized both academics and athletics, ensuring high graduation rates among his players.
  • He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
  • Paterno was known for his distinctive thick-rimmed glasses.
  • He coached five undefeated Penn State teams.
  • Paterno received multiple coaching awards, including three Walter Camp Coach of the Year awards.
  • He was removed as head coach in 2011 amid the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
  • Paterno’s statue outside Beaver Stadium was removed in 2012.
  • He passed away on January 22, 2012.
  • The university library at Penn State is named the Paterno Library in his honor.
  • Paterno’s coaching philosophy focused on discipline and teamwork.
  • Known for his sideline presence, he often wore trademark white sneakers.
  • His coaching career at Penn State spanned six decades, from 1966 to 2011.
  • Paterno’s legacy continues to spark debate and discussion.
  • His coaching philosophy emphasized individual commitment to team success.
  • Paterno’s iconic style included his trademark white sneakers.
  • Despite controversies, Paterno’s impact on college football remains significant.
  • He mentored numerous players who achieved professional and personal success.
  • Paterno was a key figure in elevating Penn State’s football program to national prominence.
  • His approach to coaching combined strategic game management with a focus on character building.
  • The impact of his career continues to influence coaching philosophies and methods.
  • Paterno’s dedication to Penn State made him a central figure in the university’s history.
  • His influence extended beyond football, contributing to educational and philanthropic efforts.
  • Paterno’s story is a blend of significant sports achievements and complex personal controversies.

Top Questions about Joe Paterno

Q: How long did Joe Paterno coach at Penn State?

A: Joe Paterno was the head coach of Penn State’s football team for 46 seasons, from 1966 to 2011.

Q: What led to Joe Paterno’s dismissal from Penn State?

A: Joe Paterno was dismissed from Penn State on November 9, 2011, due to his alleged involvement in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. He passed away shortly after, on January 22, 2012, from complications related to lung cancer.

Q: How many national championships did Joe Paterno win at Penn State?

A: Joe Paterno led the Penn State Nittany Lions to two national championships, first in 1982 and again in 1986.

Q: What was Joe Paterno known for in the coaching world?

A: Joe Paterno was recognized as the most successful coach in major college football at the time of his death, with a record of 409 wins. His teams had five undefeated seasons and won twenty-four of their thirty-seven bowl games.

Q: What was Joe Paterno’s career coaching record?

A: Joe Paterno’s career coaching record stood at 409 wins, 136 losses, and 3 ties.

Q: How did the Jerry Sandusky scandal affect Joe Paterno’s legacy?

A: The Jerry Sandusky scandal significantly affected Joe Paterno’s legacy, leading to scrutiny over his actions and ultimately his dismissal. This scandal severely tarnished his reputation and altered public perception of him.

Q: What was Joe Paterno’s coaching philosophy?

A: Joe Paterno’s coaching philosophy centered on the importance of academics and character development alongside athletic success. He aimed to develop his players as complete individuals, not just athletes.

Q: What significant record does Joe Paterno hold in college football?

A: Joe Paterno holds the record for the most victories by any coach in NCAA Division I football history, with a total of 409 wins.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar