Memorial service to cap 3-day mourning for Paterno - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Memorial service to cap 3-day mourning for Paterno

Posted: Updated:
People pay their respects as the hearse carrying the casket of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno passes through State College, Pa., Wednesday Jan. 25, 2012. Paterno died Sunday at the age of 85. (AP Photo/John Beale) People pay their respects as the hearse carrying the casket of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno passes through State College, Pa., Wednesday Jan. 25, 2012. Paterno died Sunday at the age of 85. (AP Photo/John Beale)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — A simple two-word message flashed this week on the electronic signboard outside Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.

"Thanks JoePa."

On Thursday, a capacity crowd of more than 12,000 is expected to pack the arena for one more tribute to Joe Paterno, the Hall of Fame football coach who died Sunday from lung cancer.

His death at age 85 came less than three months after his stunning ouster as head coach in the wake of child sex-abuse charges against a retired assistant. But this week, thousands of alumni, fans, students and former players in Happy Valley are remembering Paterno for his record-setting coaching career, his love for the school and his generosity.

"What's Joe's legacy? The answer, is his legacy is us," former NFL and Penn State receiver Jimmy Cefalo said Wednesday before Paterno's funeral. Cefalo is scheduled to be one of the speakers at the tribute called "A Memorial for Joe" at the arena across the street from Beaver Stadium — the stadium Paterno helped turned into a college football landmark.

Paterno's son, former Nittany Lions quarterback coach Jay Paterno, also is expected to speak at the memorial, which will cap three days of public mourning for Paterno. Viewings were held Tuesday and Wednesday morning, before the funeral and burial service for Paterno on Wednesday afternoon at the campus interfaith center where family members attended church services.

Cefalo, who played for Penn State in the '70s, said it will be the most difficult speech of his life. But he offered a hint of what he might say.

"Generations of these young people from coal mines and steel towns who he gave a foundation to," Cefalo said. "It's not (the Division I record) 409 wins, it's not two national championships, and it's not five-time coach of the year (awards). It's us."

The memorial Thursday is expected to feature a speaker for each decade of Paterno's coaching career, according to Charles Pittman, a former player who said he will represent the 1960s.

Pittman said he was in Paterno's first class and was the coach's first All-America running back. Pittman's son later played for the Nittany Lions as well, making them the first father-son pair to play for Paterno, Pittman said. They wrote a book about their experiences called "Playing for Paterno."

Pittman said he spoke with Paterno two or three times a year. In 2002, the coach chided Pittman for moving to South Bend, Ind. — home of rival Notre Dame — to take a job as a newspaper executive.

"He called me a traitor," said Pittman, a senior vice president for publishing at Schurz Communications Inc., an Indiana-based company that owns television and radio stations and newspapers, and a member of the Board of Directors of The Associated Press.

Pittman attended Wednesday's funeral, which also drew other notable guests including former NFL players Franco Harris and Matt Millen; and former defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. Nike founder Phil Knight and actor William Baldwin were there, too.

A procession wound through the Penn State campus and the surrounding State College community. Quiet mourners lined the route, watching with grief and reverence as the electric-blue hearse carrying Paterno's casket slowly drove by.

Some took pictures with their cellphones, or waved to his widow. Others craned their necks hoping for a better glimpse through the crowd sometimes four or more deep.

A family spokesman, Dan McGinn, said Paterno's grandchildren escorted the casket down the aisle during the opening procession, and again at the end of the service. Jay Paterno and his brother, Scott, were among the pallbearers.

___

Associated Press writer Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

  • SportsMore>>

  • Olympic figure skater, medalist Denis Ten dies after stabbing in Kazakhstan

    Olympic figure skater, medalist Denis Ten dies after stabbing in Kazakhstan

    Thursday, July 19 2018 9:19 PM EDT2018-07-20 01:19:48 GMT

    Kazakh figure skater and Olympic medalist Denis Ten died Thursday after being stabbed in an attack in the streets of the country's largest city, a top Kazakh official confirmed on social media. He was 25.

     

    Kazakh figure skater and Olympic medalist Denis Ten died Thursday after being stabbed in an attack in the streets of the country's largest city, a top Kazakh official confirmed on social media. He was 25.

     
  • AP source: Falcons won't offer WR Jones new deal this year

    AP source: Falcons won't offer WR Jones new deal this year

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:23 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:23:25 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 8:14 PM EDT2018-07-20 00:14:32 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File). FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2017, file photo, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones walks off the field after an NFL football game between the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Atlanta. A person familiar with the ...(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File). FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2017, file photo, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones walks off the field after an NFL football game between the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Atlanta. A person familiar with the ...
    AP source: Atlanta Falcons won't offer a new contract to star receiver Julio Jones. 
    AP source: Atlanta Falcons won't offer a new contract to star receiver Julio Jones. 
  • With Leonard gone, a new look for Popovich and the Spurs

    With Leonard gone, a new look for Popovich and the Spurs

    Thursday, July 19 2018 3:56 AM EDT2018-07-19 07:56:05 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 6:20 PM EDT2018-07-19 22:20:19 GMT
    (William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP). San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team head coach Gregg Popovich speaks to the media during a press conference in San Antonio, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. The Kawhi Leonard saga in San Antonio is over....(William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP). San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team head coach Gregg Popovich speaks to the media during a press conference in San Antonio, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. The Kawhi Leonard saga in San Antonio is over....
    The most tumultuous offseason in Gregg Popovich's two decades with the Spurs ended with the trade of star Kawhi Leonard to Toronto. 
    The most tumultuous offseason in Gregg Popovich's two decades with the Spurs ended with the trade of star Kawhi Leonard to Toronto. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.