Viewing services for the late Joe Paterno begin today at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, and as of 11:30 a.m., there has been a large showing of former Penn State football players and fans alike.
Both former players and members of the current team have come to pay respects to their former coach, said Penn State Assistant Director of Athletics/Communications and Sports Information Director for Football Jeff Nelson on Tuesday morning. Lettermen and current players were given the opportunity to attend the viewing before doors open to the public at 1 p.m.
"The Paterno family had a private viewing earlier this morning, and the members of the squad came over with coach [Bill] O’Brien and some of the members of the coaching staff," Nelson said. "The football staff came over and had an opportunity to talk to some of the members of the Paterno family inside."
Nelson said he expected more than 250 football lettermen to attend Tuesday's service.
Throughout today's and tomorrow's viewings, one former player and one current player will be assigned to guard Paterno's closed casket, Nelson said.
Nelson said it was an emotional scene inside the viewing. Paterno's wife, Sue, was holding up "about as well as to be expected," he said.
"It brought back a lot of great memories, and he was a great man," Nelson said. "He made a tremendous impact on many, many people. He left us too early. I think about the impact that he could have made once he retired from coaching and all the great things he could have done and would have done after he had retired."
Nelson also commented on Thursday's memorial service for Paterno to be held at 2 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center. He said there will undoubtedly be a lot of frustrated people who couldn't get one of the 16,000 tickets sold.
"We feel bad about that, but when you have as many fans who loved Joe Paterno as there are, there’s just no way we could accommodate everyone," Nelson said. "Unless we were able to use [Beaver] stadium, which really isn’t an option at this point."
Nelson said Beaver Stadium has already been "winterized", and would not be able to accommodate a large crowd.
Nelson added that the Paterno family reserved seats for close friends and members of their extended family. All lettermen and current members of the team are guaranteed a seat, as well.
Nelson said he hasn't heard of any special guests, other than O'Brien, from around the country who will be attending Thursday's memorial service.