Joe Paterno, who could have owned Broadway as the coach of the New York Giants, reaffirmed his commitment to the values of college football last night at Congressional Country Club.
He told Penn State's area Nittany Lion Club, "We're going to move into Washington, Maryland and Virginia with our recruiting. We'd like to branch out. We're becoming more of a national school."
He cited the caliber of Penn State's schedules, and said, "We're in the big leagues and sometimes we can't find our type of athlete in the old areas. We're on the threshold of becoming a great university.
"We're looking for the athlete who wants a good education and wants to play good football."
Paterno ticked off the names of some area high school athletes he has recruited and noted there will be five holdovers from this area on the Penn State squad next season.
"We're looking for a sponsor so we can show Penn State's games on television on a delayed basis in Washington," the coach said. "It would cost $70,000. Such telecasts would help our recruiting in the area."
One Penn State booster said to him before the dinner. "Thank you for not taking the Giants job."
He waited for laughter to subside and added, "There never was any question; I never even considered going with the Giants. The Giant job is a great one and pro football is a great game, but I'm not interested. Maybe in six or eight years I may get out and do something else."
In a before-dinner interview Paterno was asked if ambition should be made of sterner stuff and he responded, "George Allen has said that losing a football game is like dying. Football is a silly game if the only thing that matters is whether you win or lose."
He discounted the suggestion that the pro game might be tougher to coach.
"I talked to three college coaches who had made the transition to pro ball while I was talking to the Patriots," he said. "They all said it was easier, with no recruiting to be done and so forth."