Penn State Students, Alumni Mourn Coach Paterno

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Penn State University students and fans are mourning the loss of legendary football coach Joe Paterno, who died of lung cancer on Sunday. He was 85.

Mourners have been flocking to a statue of Paterno outside Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa.

The coach was often thought of as the heart of Penn State. But a child sex abuse scandal involving his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, led the university's Board of Trustees to fire Paterno last November.

"I feel like from the inside looking out that most people forget that he donated his whole life to the program. And everything that he donated to that school, people tend to look over that," defensive end Jack Crawford, who just completed his senior season with the Nittany Lions, said.

"It was tough to swallow. It was harder to swallow when he first got fired. It was a sad moment for the whole Penn State family," he added.

Even so, university leaders said they intend to honor Paterno's contributions on and off the football field.

The legendary coach won two national championships and a Division I record 409 victories to turn Penn State into a name-brand program. Off the field, Paterno and his wife, Sue, donated millions back to the university, including the library.

"His and Sue's contributions are as much about ensuring student success as the many endowments and the library bearing the Paterno name," Barbara Dewey, Penn State's dean of University Libraries, said.

Funeral Plans

Paterno will be buried on Wednesday. Paterno's family has scheduled three days of public memorial events this week, according to a family spokesperson.

  • On Tuesday, a 10-hour public viewing session will start at 1 p.m. at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the Penn State campus.
  • On Wednesday, another viewing will take place for four hours starting at 8 a.m. A private funeral service is scheduled for 2 p.m. that day.
  • On Thursday, a memorial service will be held 2 p.m. at the Jordan Center, the basketball arena next to Beaver Stadium.

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