University Park, Pa. -- Two of the milestone teams in the legendary 40-year career of Coach Joe Paterno will be recognized at the Nittany Lions' first two home games this season.
The 1986 squad, one of the outstanding teams in Penn State's glorious football history, will be honored at the Sept. 2 season opener against Akron (3:30 p.m.). The '86 Nittany Lions posted a 12-0 record, defeating No. 1 Miami (Fla.), 14-10, in an epic Fiesta Bowl to capture Penn State's second National Championship in four years. Penn State held nine opponents to 15 points or less and won four games by six points or fewer en route to the title.
The Nittany Lions return to Beaver Stadium on Sept. 16 and Paterno's 1966 squad, his first as head coach, will be recognized when Penn State hosts Youngstown State. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m.
More than 30 members of the 1986 squad will be on hand for the Akron game, including two of the team captains, John Shaffer and Bob White. Among the other team members confirmed are: Trey Bauer, Jim Coates, John Greene, Matt Johnson, Keith Karpinski, Massimo Manca, Paul Pomfret, Keith Radecic and Mark Sherburne.
Also during the Akron game, the Foreman Foundation will make a check presentation to Penn State's Hershey Medical Center to assist in finding a cure for melanoma. The Foundation has contributed more than $725,000 to the Medical Center. Phillip Foreman founded the organization in 1996 in memory of his friend, John Bruno, Jr., a senior on the '86 team, who died from melanoma at age 27. Bruno led the Nittany Lions in punting from 1984-86, and owns the school's third-best season punting average (42.9 in 1985) and fourth-best career average (41.7). His 79 punts and 3,273 punting yards in 1984 remain school season records.
Team co-captain Mike Irwin is among the more than 25 members of the 1966 squad that will return for the Youngstown State game. Among the other team members confirmed are: Bob Capretto, Chuck Franzetta, John Kulka, Bill Rettig and Ted Sebastianelli. The '66 squad belted Pittsburgh, 48-24, in the season finale to finish with a 5-5 record, which would be the last time Penn State did not having a winning season until 1988.
A limited number of tickets remain for the Akron and Temple (Nov. 11) games, while the remaining five contests in the 107,282-seat Beaver Stadium are sold out. Tickets are available at http://www.GoPSUsports.com or by calling 814-865-5555 or 800-863-3336 weekdays from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.