STATE COLLEGE (KDKA) – Following news of Joe Paterno’s death Sunday morning, former players, colleagues, alumni and Penn State students are mourning the loss of the record-breaking, beloved former Nittany Lions football coach.
Last night, thousands of people gathered at the university for a candlelight vigil in Paterno’s honor. This morning, Governor Tom Corbett ordered that flags across the state be lowered to half-staff in honor of the late coach.
Today’s rain and cold weather has not stopped the outpouring of love at Penn State for JoePa. A statue of Paterno on campus has turned into a makeshift memorial where students, alumni, and many more have been gathering to mourn the late coach.
“So many people care about him and care about this school,” said PSU sophomore Katie Pino. “It’s just amazing to see all this love.”
“All of this is pretty surreal,” said senior Matt Fine. “I’ve been coming to every game for the last ten years. It’s pretty emotional… he’s like a part of the family. I thought he was a grandfather figure to me, but he was a grandfather figure to so many, and he will always be.”
Paterno’s family’s request for privacy has been respected so far. No gatherings have started outside the Paterno home and the street has remained blocked off to traffic.
Students have called for “Joe’s final whiteout” today, asking for all of Paterno’s fans and supporters to wear white. Many have been spotted wearing white across campus already.
Penn State trustees and school President Rodney Erickson plan to honor Paterno.
The Associated Press is reporting that a memorial service will be help on Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Jordan Center.
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