Hundreds mourn the loss of Penn State's Joe Paterno
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — The lines stretched around the block at Penn State's Spiritual Center, as hundreds waited to pay their respects Tuesday to legendary coach Joe Paterno.
The public, faculty and former football players like Mark Battaglia returned to say farewell to a man many felt was more than just a coach.
"He was everything to me up here and I think to a lot of people, my kids, he's still a rock star... was a rock star," Battaglia said.
Rock star, mentor and father figure to so many, including interim head coach Tom Bradley, who took over to finish the season when Paterno was fired.
"I was lucky enough to play for him and work with him and be able to call him friend," Bradley said. "Next to my father, he was the guy.
Paterno's son Jay says despite his father's battle with lung cancer and the controversial firing in the wake of the Sandusky sex abuse scandal, his dad stayed upbeat until the very end.
"He was very positive with us about the direction he wanted the rest of his life to go, and how he wanted to continue to build Penn State, and to also to make sure justice was done for the victims involved," Paterno said.
The viewing continues tomorrow and will be followed by a private family funeral.
On Thursday thousands are expected to gather for a public memorial on campus.