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Penn State Alumni, Fans Say Goodbye To Beloved Coach Joe Paterno

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Penn State University fans from across the country descended on State College to pay tribute to football coach Joe Paterno. He died Sunday, just two months after a child sex scandal forced him from his job.

Kai Jackson has more on Paterno’s legacy.

Joe Paterno’s legacy has to be measured by the countless lives he’s touched over the decades. WJZ talked with a Baltimore area sports legend who will attend Wednesday’s service.

Thousands line up in the small town of State College to remember football coaching giant Joe Paterno.

“He was a wonderful mentor as well. Not only did he teach us the game of football but he taught us…most of us came in as boys and left this university as men,” said former Penn State player and current NFL player Bryant Johnson.

Paterno died Sunday of lung cancer at the age of 85. He coached the Nittany Lions for 46 years and was fired in November of last year because the university felt he didn’t do enough when he learned of child sex abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

“Seems like a lotta people are a lot more interested in standing up for him now than about a month ago. I think that bothers some of us,” said former Penn State player Rich Caravella.

Paterno’s children say their father’s memory will be lasting.

“His legacy is going to be in his five children and 17 grandchildren and certainly the hundreds of players he’s coached over the years,” said Jay Paterno.

“The meeting was excellent,” said Lenny Moore.

Former Colt Lenny Moore, an NFL Hall of Famer who lives in Baltimore County, played for Penn State from 1952 until 1956 while Paterno was an assistant coach. Moore and former Penn Stater and Baltimore Colt Lydell Mitchell saw Paterno a week before he died.

“Joe shrugged his shoulders, like,’I’m dealing with it.’ He says it’s some problems, he says, but we’ll see,” Moore said.

They are lasting memories for Lenny Moore, which includes how Moore cherishes the foreward that Joe Paterno wrote for Moore’s 2005 book.

There is talk of naming Penn State’s football stadium after Paterno. Some family members and former players believe it’s something the humble coach would not have wanted.

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