• Dec. 21, 1926: Born Joseph Vincent Paterno in Brooklyn, N.Y.
• 1946: Enrolls at Brown University in Providence, R.I., where he plays quarterback and defensive back for coach Rip Engle.
• 1950: Intends to enter law school but instead follows Engle to Penn State to be an assistant coach, a post he holds through 1965.
• 1962: Marries Sue Pohland, a librarian.
• 1966: Is named Penn State's head coach after Engle retired. Guides the Lions to a 5-5 record in his debut.
• 1968-69: Leads Penn State to back-to-back 11-0 seasons, but the Nittany Lions finish second in the final Associated Press poll in both years. After President Richard Nixon unofficially declares Texas No. 1 in '69, the Longhorns are voted to the top spot. Paterno never forgives Nixon. "How could Nixon know so little about Watergate," he later asks sarcastically, referencing the scandal, "and so much about football?"
• 1973: The Nittany Lions go 12-0 and have the Heisman Trophy winner in running back John Cappelletti but finish No. 5 in the final polls.
• 1973: Paterno accepts an offer to become the New England Patriots head coach but reconsiders a day later. His explanation: "When you choose wrong, as Aeneas found out, life comes down on you with some terrible whacks."
• Jan. 1, 1979: Penn State plays Alabama in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship. But Bear Bryant's Crimson Tide uses a fourth-quarter goal-line stand to beat Penn State 14-7. Paterno calls the defeat the most painful of his career.
º Jan. 1, 1983: Paterno and Penn State win their first national championship, beating Georgia and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker 27-23 in the Sugar Bowl.
• Jan. 2, 1987: In a highly anticipated No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown, Paterno and his underdog Lions shock a brash Miami Hurricanes team 14-10 in the Fiesta Bowl to win their second national championship. Paterno is named Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year'' for 1986.
• Jan. 2, 1995: In Penn State's second season of Big Ten play, Paterno guides Nittany Lions to a 12-0 record and 38-20 Rose Bowl victory over Oregon. The Lions finish No. 2 to Nebraska in both major polls, becoming Paterno's fourth undefeated team to be denied a national championship.
• Oct. 27, 2001: Posts his 324th career victory --29-27 over Ohio State -- to break Bryant's Division I-A record.
• 2004: Paterno finishes his fourth losing season in five years but resists calls to retire.
• 2005: Guides Lions to share of Big Ten title and Orange Bowl victory.
• 2008: Leads Penn State to Big Ten title and Rose Bowl appearance.
Nov. 6, 2010: Penn State beats Northwestern 35-21 for Paterno's 400th career victory.
• Oct. 29, 2011: Penn State beats Illinois 10-7 for Paterno's 409th -- and final -- victory.
• Nov. 5, 2011: Retired Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, a longtime Paterno assistant, is arrested on child-molestation charges.
• Nov. 9, 2011: Penn State's board of trustees fires Paterno, who is not charged in the Sandusky case but receives heavy criticism for not doing enough to prevent the alleged assaults. "This is a tragedy," Paterno later said of the case. "It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."
• Nov. 18, 2011: Paterno's family announces that the former coach is suffering from lung cancer. He begins radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
• Jan. 22, 2012: Paterno dies at a State College, Pa., hospital of "metastatic small cell carcinoma of the lung." He was 85.
Contains information from the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Associated Press.