Curt Warner helped Joe Paterno and Penn State win their first national championship during a brilliant career, and nearly 30 years later he has received the ultimate honor in college football.
Warner was elected Thursday to the College Football Hall of Fame, becoming the 17th Nittany Lion player to garner the distinction. He will be inducted along with the rest of the class of 2009 during a banquet in New York on Dec. 8.
"I am deeply honored to have been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame," Warner said in a statement from PSU.
Warner played at Penn State from 1979-82 and remains the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,398 yards. His greatest achievement occurred during the 1982 season as he and quarterback Todd Blackledge led the Nittany Lions to the national title.
"Curt Warner was an outstanding running back," Paterno, a Hall of Fame inductee in 2007, said in the school's statement. "In all my years at Penn State, we have had a lot of exceptional backs, and he is one of the very best of that distinguished group.
"Curt was a leader for the great teams we had in the early 1980s and played a big part in helping us win our first national championship."
PSU Hall of Famers
Penn State has 22 players/coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame:
Warner set 42 records at Penn State, and ones that still stand include his career rushing total and his 18 100-yard games. The Lions compiled a 31-5 record during his final three seasons.
Warner is one of just 14 players in Penn State history to earn first-team All-America honors twice, doing so in 1981 and '82. He capped his career in the 1983 Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia that earned the Lions their first national championship.
Warner called the Sugar Bowl win the highlight of his PSU career.
"We had to battle the entire game to beat Georgia," he said. "That game epitomized what we were about and culminated all of the hard work we had put in during our careers."
Warner was the No. 3 pick in the 1983 NFL draft and had a stellar rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks. He led the AFC in rushing with 1,449 yards and was the conference's Offensive Player of the Year.
Warner was a four-time All-Pro selection and three-time Pro Bowl pick who gained 6,844 yards in eight seasons with the Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams.
Warner now lives with his wife and four children in Camas, Wash., and owns a car dealership.