By Steve Tawa
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) — While Penn State trustees are busy defending the firing of the late coach Joe Paterno (see related story), there’s a grass-roots petition drive asking trustees to name the football field at Beaver Stadium in honor of Paterno.
A family from Mohrsville, Pa, north of Reading, is appealing to the Penn State board of trustees to name the field within the stadium in honor of Paterno.
“He reminds me exactly of my father,” says Blake Tobias, who was born in 1966 — the same year that Paterno started as head coach.
Tobias says there were two guys he looked up to as a kid: his dad, and Joe Paterno.
“Even though i didn’t have personal contact with him, it was almost like a shadow of the same principles that my father taught myself and my brothers as we grew up,” Tobias told KYW Newsradio today.
Tobias hopes to collect more than 107,000 signatures, to represent each seat at Beaver Stadium. As of Monday, organizers were more than halfway there, thanks to the online petition drive at a site Tobias created, http://www.paternofield-beaverstadium.com.
A Penn State spokeswoman responds by writing that PSU will recognize the legacy and historic contributions of Paterno, but it’s premature to make any final decision until independent counsel Louis Freeh issues his report on the child sex abuse scandal centered around former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.