Dec. 28, 1972

Anxious to make a splash coming off their 3-11 season, the Patriots began chasing down a new head coach. The new coach would follow Phil Bengston, a rent-a-coach with a month left in the season. Bengston was preceded John Mazur, who was fairly popular with players and fans after a surprisingly pedestrian 6-7 in 1971.

Pedestrian, in this sense, means he managed to keep the team standing on both feet for 14 games.

Topping the list for the job – Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who would also serve as general manager.

Owner Billy Sullivan had just jettisoned general manager Upton Bell.

Paterno had nothing to say about the speculation before Penn State’s Sugar Bowl game against Oklahoma.

After the Sugar Bowl, Paterno was brief in his response to Sullivan:


Sullivan ultimately hired Chuck Fairbanks, whose Oklahoma Sooners beat Paterno’s Nittany Lions in the Sugar Bowl, 14-0.

You May Have Missed…

Welcome back, Kyrie

Celtics sweep their way into NBA Finals Sweeps are the pedestals on which great teams reside. Sending stunned foes home for the summer by dismissing them in four games is what separates awe-inspiring NBA teams ...

Make that 3-0

Celtics slap down Pacers - and doubters All those Hoosiers, resplendent in their yellow t-shirts and giddy with hope, must have been wholly stunned when their Little Team that Might ultimately couldn’t. The ghosts of ...

Fresh Content Direct to Your Inbox