A memorial for Joe by the numbers

Story posted January 26, 2012 in Sports, Joe Paterno by Kelsey Detweiler

Joe Paterno was a man who wanted to make an impact on the world in more ways than one. On Thursday afternoon, family and friends from near and far joined members of the Penn State community in the Bryce Jordan Center to celebrate and remember Coach Paterno’s life.

Todd Blackledge, who represented players from the 1980s, was the quarterback in 1982 when Paterno secured his first national championship. He said that the legendary football coach was more than just that.

“He cannot be measured by his 409 wins or his five perfect seasons or his two national championships,” said Blackledge.

But in the wake of his passing and the immensity of the event, here are a few numbers that do provide a measure.

11,000: Upwards of 11,000 tickets were made available to the public and distributed online on Tuesday morning. The entirety of these tickets had been claimed after being available for only seven minutes on Ticketmaster.

1,536: On the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center, 1,536 blue and white chairs were set-up for Paterno’s family, close friends and their families, and former players.

100: As of one hour before the memorial event on Thursday morning, it has been less than 100 hours since Joseph Vincent Paterno passed. Paterno lost his fight with lung cancer this past Sunday morning at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

85: After celebrating his birthday on Dec. 21, 2011 surrounded by each and every one of his children and grandchildren, Paterno died at age 85.

46: Paterno spent 46 years, more than half of his life, as a community member, mentor and head coach at Penn State University.

32: Lining the back aisle of the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center, 32 standing video cameras stood as  local and national news organizations came to State College for the public memorial service.

16: To begin the ceremony, 16 members of the Penn State Glee Club stood and sang the Penn State Alma Mater a cappella.

16: Recapping the life of a mentor, teacher, leader and coach, the speeches that were given by Paterno’s former players, co-workers and community members were emotional enough and powerful enough to put the crowd on its feet 16 times for standing ovations.

6: Signifying the 1960’s up into the current year, six former players represented the last six decades in which Coach Paterno coached at Penn State. Charlie Pittman, Jimmy Cefalo, Todd Blackledge, Christian Marrone, Michael Robinson and Michael Mauti each spoke at the request of the Paterno family.

5: Comprised of two boys and three girls, Paterno is survived by five children, who were all present at the memorial event: Diana, Jay, Mary Kay, David and Scott.

2 ½: The memorial event started around 2:05 p.m. and didn’t end until more than two hours later at 4:38 p.m.

1: One man was honored. One legacy will endure.