Remembering Joe Paterno
"The Joe Paterno way has become the Penn State way, and success with honor has become the standard," said Senior Paterno fellow Lauren Perrotti at Thursday's memorial service for Paterno who died Sunday after a short battle with lung cancer.
Those words also reflect the mood at State College, where the ceremony was held to reminisce about the legendary Penn State football coach.
But his reputation for success with honor was shattered when former assistant Jerry Sandusky was charged with molesting 10 boys during a 15-year span, including some in the Penn State athletic complex. While Paterno was not charged with any wrongdoing, the Penn State board of trustees believed Paterno could have done more to prevent it and dismissed Paterno in November.
But Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight got a standing ovation at the memorial Thursday for defending the late coach's response to an accusation of child sex abuse against a former assistant.
Knight said that, "If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation, and not in Joe Paterno's response."
Speakers at the ceremony held at the Bryce Jordan Center also included former Penn State players such as Charlie Pittman, Kenny Jackson, and Todd Blackledge.
Jackson, who was a wide receiver for Penn State from 1980-83, said Paterno was a humble man.
"He never took a compliment. He always deflected praise, never thought he was the show," Jackson reflected. "But today my teacher you have no choice. Today we are going to show you, how much we love you."
Paterno won more games than anyone else in major college football: 409 victories in 46 years, including five undefeated seasons and two national championships.