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Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who seconded George Bush's nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention but missed this year's meeting because of football practice, will take time to host Bush when the president visits State College this week.

The coach even would open his usually closed practices to the president, if Bush wants to see the 10th-ranked Nittany Lions."He's a friend of mine. He's a good friend, and when a friend comes to town, you see him," Paterno said Saturday. "I don't think I'm too busy to take time off when the president of the United States comes to town."

He said Republicans and Democrats, despite their differences during a political campaign, should take time out to see Bush when he speaks Wednesday on the Penn State campus.

Paterno seconded the nomination of then-candidate Bush in New Orleans four years ago. This year's convention was held during the middle of fall drills, and the coach couldn't travel to Houston to do it again.