People from across the nation waited in line Tuesday to pay respects to the legendary Penn State football coach, with thousands more expected.
People began lining up early Tuesday to see the former coach for what will be the first of three viewings.
Penn State expects a big turnout to say goodbye to Coach Paterno, starting Tuesday and ending Thursday at the Bryce Jordan Arena with “A Memorial To Joe.”
The public memorial is set to begin at 1 p.m. at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center.
Earlier this morning, it was current and former Penn State football players who came to say farewell to their mentor.
Paterno, who died Sunday at 85 years old, coached football at Penn State for 60 years. In that time, he coached hundreds of young men, some who went on to be successful in the pros.
Some of them were on hand Tuesday including quarterback Kerry Collins and tight end Kyle Brady.
Many more mourners are expected for the rest of the viewing, which is scheduled until 11 p.m.
Newswatch 16 spoke with one of Paterno’s former players, a walk-on, who says Joe Pa will be missed.
“People driving in from all over the country just to pay their respects and I think he’s earned it,” said Michael Bender. “Everything he’s done for the university, it’s just tremendous. Not just football-wise but academics in general, the way he helped people, the way he’d take new coaches under his wing, you can’t ask for anything more. He had a great life and we’re here to celebrate it.”
“I feel like I need to be there,” said sophomore Kylie Licata. “I’m part of the athletic community here, and Joe’s been a big inspiration with my decision coming here and Joe was an amazing guy.”
Licata was able to pick up tickets to Thursday’s memorial service at the Bryce Jordan Center.
There was such a demand that the free tickets were given away in less than 10 minutes.
The Bryce Jordan Center seats about 20,000 people for concerts, so you can tell just how much people want to be a part of this celebration of Joe Paterno’s life.