Paterno's Reaction to Firing

The 84-year-old now former coach addressed students outside his house in State College Wednesday night.

About 20 students gathered outside the house of the now, suddenly, former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno.

These are students who said they sprinted full speed to the ranch-brick house once they heard the news that the man who had been a coach at Penn State for 56 years, was fired by unanimous decision by the Penn State board of trustees.

The impromptu and emotional gathering outside Paterno’s home started with the sounds of students trying to come to grips what had just happened. All of a sudden, a window opened and there was Sue Paterno looking down saying, “just a minute.’’ The crowd pressed forward, moving toward and waiting under the window. She came back a moment later and said, ``he’s coming to the front door.’’

When the door slung open, there was Paterno looking weary, but gratified. "I’m trying to figure out my reaction,’’ Paterno said. "We’ll see what’s going to happen, OK?’’

He told them how much they meant to him and then the crowd assembled told him how much they loved him.

“Right now I’m not the coach, OK? You know what I mean. I have to get used to that, after 61 years I have to get used to that."

As Paterno turned and started to head back into his house, the crowd started chanting, “We love you Joe. We love you Joe. We love you Joe.” He paused at the door, turned to the crowd and told them all he loved them.

His wife stood on the porch and motioned to a friend who she saw in the crowd to come forward. The man walked to her and put his arms around her and Sue Paterno burst into tears.

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