STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been nominated for the highest civilian award in the country.
Congressmen including Glenn Thompson, Mark Critz and Tim Holden say the Hall of Fame coach deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his service to the Nittany Lions, the university and the State College community.
Their nomination letter to President Barack Obama says Paterno personifies sportsmanship on the field and academic achievement in the classroom while also noting Paterno's philanthropic efforts.
Paterno's 394 career victories are most among major college coaches.
A spokesman for Critz says Critz and Holden were approached by House staffers who are Penn State graduates to nominate Paterno and Thompson helped lead the effort. Thompson's district includes State College, about 150 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
(This version CORRECTS Paterno has most wins among major college coaches, not among college coaches.)