Bloomberg News

Paterno Remembered With Viewings, Memorial at Penn State

January 24, 2012

(Updates with how fast tickets were distributed in fourth paragraph.)

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Joe Paterno’s family scheduled two public viewings and a memorial this week on the Pennsylvania State University campus, where thousands of people are expected to pay tribute to the record-setting football coach who died of lung cancer at the age of 85.

A public viewing will be held today from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. local time and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Penn State’s Pasquerilla Spiritual Center in State College, Pennsylvania.

The family will conduct a private funeral service tomorrow and a public memorial at 2 p.m. on Jan. 26 in the Bryce Jordan Center, the home of Penn State’s basketball team. The university made 10,000 tickets available for the public, and they were distributed in seven minutes, said spokeswoman Annemarie Mounts.

Paterno, who won 409 games and two national championships in 46 years as Penn State’s coach, died two days ago at Mount Nittany Medical Center. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in November, a few days after being fired by school officials because of his handling of a child-sex abuse scandal involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky, who was charged with assaulting boys in Penn State’s athletic complex.

Few Trustees

Linda Strumpf, a member of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, told the Associated Press that she doesn’t think the memorial will be “heavily laden with administration and trustees.” There are many Penn State alumni and students, including quarterback Matt McGloin, who said Paterno was treated unfairly with his firing via a late-night phone call.

“It was wrong to do it the way they did it, sending over a piece of paper and have him call a number, having him get fired, not bringing him in, sitting him down and giving him the reasons why he was let go,” McGloin, who will be among the current and former players serving as honorary guards at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, told ESPN.

Paterno, known as “JoePa,” set a record for major college wins at Penn State while emphasizing academics as much as winning football games. He coached dozens of All-Americans, was voted Coach of the Year by his colleagues a record four times, and donated more than $4 million to the university over the years to endow faculty positions and scholarships and to build an interfaith spiritual center and a sports museum.

‘Success With Honor’

“His accomplishments both on and off the field will never be matched,” said Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak, who played for Paterno. “What he was most proud of, though, was not what we accomplished, but how we accomplished it; ‘Success with honor’ was his phrase for it. The things I learned at Penn State are still with me today and they have made me a better person and a better coach.”

President Barack Obama offered his condolences during a telephone call yesterday with Paterno’s wife, Sue, and son Jay, according to an e-mailed statement from the White House.

Paterno and his wife had five children -- sons David, George Scott and Jay, who was an assistant football coach at Penn State for 17 seasons, and daughters Diana Giegerich and Mary Kathryn Hort -- and 17 grandchildren.

“He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been,” Paterno’s family said in a statement. “His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.”

--With assistance from Kate Andersen Brower in Washington. Editors: Dex McLuskey, Larry Siddons.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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