Thousands of mourners and fans will pack into the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State today to say their final goodbyes to Joe Paterno, who passed away Sunday at age 85.
“A Memorial for Joe” is scheduled to begin at 2:00pm. More than 10,000 free tickets for the event were snatched up in just minutes Tuesday morning when they were made available online.
Paterno spent 61 years at Penn State, the last 46 as Head Coach. For most of the past half-century he embodied the Penn State football program and the university itself. While the word “icon” is often overused, it certainly applies to Joe Paterno.
His tenure as Head Coach came to an end on November 9th when the Penn State Board of Trustees fired Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Days later, the coach was diagnosed with what was at that time described as a “treatable” form of lung cancer, but complications took his life this past Sunday.
Tens of thousands of fans paid respects to the closed casket during visitations on Tuesday and Wednesday. Paterno was laid to rest on Wednesday following a private family funeral service.