Glasses stolen from JoePa statue

January 8, 2009 8:45:08 AM PST
Penn State police are looking out for Joe Paterno's Coke bottle-thick glasses - the bronzed ones that were perched on the statue of the iconic football coach that stands outside Beaver Stadium. Vandals apparently cut the glasses off just above the base of the ears of the 7-foot sculpture between 11 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, when a police officer noticed the damage.

An officer "observed someone had removed the glasses from the Joe Paterno statue located on the east side of Beaver Stadium," said a university police log.

Deputy Chief Tyrone Parham said Wednesday that the statue was vandalized once before several years ago. The extent of the damage then was not known.

"We're hopeful that someone contacts us if they have any information on who may be involved," Parham said.

The school plans to replace the glasses, though assistant athletic director Jeff Nelson said it is unclear how much that might cost.

The statue, which weighs more than 900 pounds, was unveiled in Nov. 2001.

It depicts a smiling Paterno with one hand in the air, index finger raised, running as if he's leading his team out of the tunnel in the stadium.

Besides the glasses, it's trademark JoePa, complete with a tie blown to one side and his pant legs rolled up just above his Nike sneakers.

The sculpture was commissioned by friends of the Paternos and the university, and created by Angelo DiMaria of Bush Designs in Reading.

A message left at Bush Designs' office was not immediately returned.

Paterno, 82, is major college football's winningest coach. He's led the Nittany Lions for a record 43 seasons, and recently signed a three-year extension.

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