Brooklyn-born and raised, Joe Paterno probably hadn’t seen many cows before he arrived in Happy Valley in 1950. He almost certainly hadn’t had many chances to milk one.
We’re not entirely sure of the origins of this shot*, which our colleague, Marc Kauffman, art director at The Penn Stater magazine, found a few months back during one of his occasional deep digs into the University Library photo archives. From the image itself, we can guess it was taken around the time Joe succeeded Rip Engle as head coach in 1966—yes, 50 years ago this fall. Neither his wardrobe nor (we’re guessing) his technique are those of a natural dairyman, but that’s alright. Mostly, he seems to be enjoying the moment. A city boy at heart, it wouldn’t be long before he made this rural Pennsylvania college town his home.
- After we published, our friend and preeminent Penn State football historian Lou Prato ’59 pointed out that this shot might not have been taken on campus, but in Dallas, where the Nittany Lions faced Texas in the 1972 Cotton Bowl. Lou notes that the man standing behind Paterno might well be Darrell Royal, the Longhorns’ longtime coach. As always, when it comes to blue and white history, we assume Lou is most likely correct.
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