Hundreds of thousands line up to say goodbye to JoePa

Published: Jan 24 2012 07:00:00 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 25 2012 05:37:17 AM EST
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -

Hundreds of his former players and legions of his adoring fans lined up at Penn State Tuesday to honor legendary football coach Joe Paterno.

Current and former players turned out for a private viewing at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center early in the day with the viewing lasting until late into the evening.

Another viewing will be held Wednesday morning and Paterno will be laid to rest in the afternoon.
A public memorial service will be held on Thursday at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Tuesday Paterno's family spoke out publicly for the first time since his death on Sunday.

Jay Paterno said his father never felt sorry for himself or bitter even in his final days.

The viewing wrapped up around 11 p.m. but people were still coming to Pateno's statue outside Beaver stadium, surrounded by candles and flowers.

Dozens of people said JoePa was a man that has touched the lives of so many people.

"Joe's been a big part of our lives for a long time. We are a multi-generation Penn State family," said Jeannie Kollar-Harvey.

Penn State students past and present are paying their respects, visiting the Joe Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium and waiting in a line that stretched for what seemed like a mile outside the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center.

"Just looking at all the flowers and all the support the students gave him it's just heartbreaking," said Michael Rehrer.

Joe Paterno is the winningest coach in major college football.

One man, who has been a season ticket holder for more than 30 years, wears the words Joe Paterno around his finger.

"Joe Paterno is and always will be Penn State football," said Dave Sage.

Among the thousands paying their respects was Mike McQueary, a man linked to Paterno's departure in November after sex abuse accusations surfaced surrounding former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

But these Penn State fans say now is a time to remember Paterno for the man he was and who helped shape this university.

"I feel horrible it had to be this way at the end and I hope that he knows and the family knows how much we love them and support them and feel they're still apart of us," said Kollar-Harvey.

Paterno's family will be remembering the iconic coach during a private funeral Wednesday afternoon.

The public will get another chance to say goodbye Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday.