February 22, 2010
Contrary to some reports earlier this month, Penn State coach Joe Paterno isn't giving up his signature specs after undergoing laser surgery to correct his vision last month -- he's just going with thinner lenses. But that didn't stop one of the last pairs of his famous coke-bottle-thick frames from fetching a fat $9,000 Saturday at a charity auction, a bargain for an alumni couple who said they were prepared to bid more than $10k if necessary:
"We have a lot of Penn State paraphernalia and sports memorabilia, and this will be the centerpiece," Michelle Coppola said. "We're really excited."
The glasses, which feature the signature of the 83-year-old coach on the left lens, were first bidded on in an online auction, which ended Wednesday. Michelle Coppola posted the highest bid with a minute left.
"I've been after these glasses for at least the last two and a half years," Jane Zimmerman, the chair of the dinner committee, said at the podium. "There are three certainties in college football: All players will eventually leave, the ACC will be bad and Joe Paterno."
(Surely it's a sign of the Big Ten's decline when its charity auctioneers have to resort to taunting the poor ACC. Come on.)
Nine-thousand is an impressive haul for any pair of glasses, especially when they can apparently be had for free in Happy Valley off local JoePa statues, if you're enterprising enough. Personally, though, I'm saving my money for the infamous Paterno whale pants, the "glowing briefcase" of college coaching memorabilia. When those babies go on the block, no price is too high for Dr. Saturday readers to come through in the clutch. Am I right, guys? You know, for the team?