UNIVERSITY PARK – For 46 years Joe Paterno stood on the sidelines of Beaver Stadium coaching the Penn State Nittany Lions.
On October 29,2011 Paterno coached his last game inside Beaver Stadium.
That game will go in the books, as Paterno achieved win 409.
Just a week later the university would be forever changed as sex-abuse allegations were brought forward regarding a former Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky.
On November 9, Joe Paterno was fired by the Penn State Board of Trustees amidst the child sex-abuse scandal.
Following the board’s decision, days later it was announced that Paterno, 85, was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Initial reports indicated that the cancer was in its early stages and appeared to be a treatable form.
Two months later on Sunday, January 22, Joseph Vincent Paterno died at Mount Nittany Medical Center.
The passing of Paterno was felt far and wide throughout the Penn State community.
On Sunday night, students held a candlelight vigil in front of Old Main. At 8 p.m. thousands of students, faculty, athletes, and alumni attended the vigil.
Speakers at the vigil included some of the ex-coaches and players on the Penn State Nittany Lion football team.
Mike Wallace, cornerback for the Nittany Lions, expressed his opinions on Paterno and shared how he believed Paterno made him a better man.
“Every so often you encounter certain people in your life. God places people in your lives for a particular reason. It’s clear today why Joe Paterno was placed in our lives,” said Wallace.
Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin also expressed his thoughts on Paterno’s death.
“He was a father, a husband, and I consider him a friend. He is really the only person who gave me an opportunity to play football. I will never forget him for that,” said McGloin.
Stefen Wisniewski, former football player and now an offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders also expressed his sadness in “JoePa’s” death.
Wisniewski said amidst the sex-abuse scandal people need to remember that Paterno is human like the rest of us. Wisniewski went on saying, he may have not made the right decisions but he is a human being and makes mistakes.
Shane McGregor, quarterback of the football team told the crowd he wants everyone to remember the love Paterno had for Penn State.
“With the light he was blessed with, it has blessed each and every one of us, in our own special way. If we can all live with that light, if we can all keep that going, the love that he had for this place, the love that he had for these people, and that love that he had for this world will be everlasting,” said McGregor.