We hear often about the Penn State football family. With the death of Joe Paterno, members of that family feel as if they have lost a father.
Monday afternoon Newswatch 16 talked with some Penn State players from our area, including quarterback Matt McGloin about the loss of the legend.
It was looking out over a crowd filled with candlelight when it really hit McGloin. He stood in front of all the Penn Staters gathered hours after Joe Paterno died to talk about a man he considered a mentor and a friend. It hit him then that JoePa is gone.
"I wrote some stuff down on paper. Once I looked down I started to break down a bit. I had to catch my breath. It was tough going through it but it's when I realized how much he meant to me," McGloin said.
He had a unique relationship with Paterno. The coach saw something special in McGloin and turned the former walk-on into a starting quarterback.
One of McGloin's ways of thanking the coach was to lead PSU to the biggest comeback ever in Beaver Stadium, JoePa's 400th win.
"He gave me the opportunity that no one else would and that was to play here and so far it's been the opportunity of a lifetime and I'll never forget him for that," McGloin added.
He and Eric Shrive from West Scranton and J.R. Refice from Valley View were on JoePa's final team.
"It's kind of surreal. You know the man, how much he's meant to you, it's like losing an immediate part of your family. It's just a shock," said Refice.
"The amount of people that are going to show up for his viewing and funeral will show everybody that the scandal's in the past and, in my opinion, that will never tarnish Joe Paterno's legacy," Shrive said.
He has a special JoePa moment he will be able to hold on to, an unforgettable image of Paterno on Shrive's shoulder after win number 400.
"Yesterday morning when I heard the news, I just started at the picture, looked at the picture and that's something I'm going to be able to take away from this school and show my kids someday," Shrive added.