The Lion in Autumn: A Season with Joe Paterno and Penn State Football

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Penguin Publishing Group, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 318 pages
Fascinating. . . . One of the best books ever written on the rise and fall of a great college football coach.
Allen Barra, San Francisco Chronicle


The Lion in Autumn takes readers inside Penn State s storied football program as legendary coach Joe Paterno fights to turn his struggling team into a winner once again. In more than a half century at Penn State, Paterno has won more bowl games (21) than any other coach and more games (354) than all but one, en route to two national championships and five perfect seasons. But in the new millennium hard times arrived in Happy Valley. His Nittany Lions had losing seasons in four of five years, dropping sixteen of twenty-three games in 2003 and 2004. There were boos at Beaver Stadium and increasing calls for the aging Paterno to step down.

Award-winning sportswriter Frank Fitzpatrick followed JoePa through the 2004 season as the beloved coach struggled to save himself and his storied program. Fitzpatrick trailed Paterno from fund-raisers to the spring practices to the sidelines, detailing how the coach endured another losing season while building a team that would win the Orange Bowl and compete for the national championship in 2005. Interweaving stories from past seasons into the narrative, Fitzpatrick fleshes out the legend of Paterno. BACKCOVER: Insightful. . . . Fascinating reading. Chicago Tribune

A rather startling success. . . . Significant. . . . literary. . . . [Fitzpatrick] relies on his own tenacity and attention to detail with just the right amount of historical perspective. Pittsburgh Post- Gazette

[Demystifies] the college football coach, moving behind the spectacle of Saturday afternoon to reveal flesh and soul and humanity. Buz Bisinger, The New York Times

You don t have to be a Penn State fan to appreciate it. ESPN.com

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The Lion In Autumn : A Season with Joe Paterno and Penn State Football

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

While the title of this book may be overstated, its subtitle is certainly understated: veteran sports writer Fitzpatrick's account is more a biography of Paterno-and thus a biography of Penn State ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Frank Fitzpatrick is a sportswriter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and has won dozens of national and local sportswriting awards, including a first-place award from the Associated Press Sports Editors in the Best News Story category of 2000. He is also the author of And the Walls Came Tumbling Down.

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