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Paterno funeral set for Wednesday

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:21 PM EST, Mon January 23, 2012
Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died on January 22. He was 85. The legendary coach, seen here in 1988, was fired in November 2011 during his 46th season at the helm of the Nittany Lions program. Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died on January 22. He was 85. The legendary coach, seen here in 1988, was fired in November 2011 during his 46th season at the helm of the Nittany Lions program.
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Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
Paterno as Penn State coach
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: President Obama calls Sue and Jay Paterno
  • The schedule for public and private services is released
  • Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno died Sunday
  • A group for abuse victims questions the honors for Paterno

State College, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno will be buried Wednesday in a private family service, with a public memorial service to follow the next day, his family said Monday.

Paterno, 85, died Sunday, less than three months after his 61-year career with the Nittany Lions abruptly ended amid criticism of his response to alleged child sexual abuse by a former assistant.

Public viewings were scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning on the Penn State campus, followed by a private funeral service and burial Wednesday afternoon, the university and a public relations company hired by the family said Monday.

A public memorial service was scheduled for Thursday at Bryce Jordan Center on the Penn State campus.

The university said it was limiting tickets for the memorial service to two per person and would not allow signs at the service. Photography and videos were also to be banned, the school said.

Additional details were still being worked out, according to the family.

How will you remember Joe Paterno? Share your memories.

Gov. Tom Corbett ordered state flags to fly at half-staff in honor of Paterno. The flags will remain lowered through sunset on the day of Paterno's funeral, according to Gary Miller of the governor's staff.

President Barack Obama called Paterno's wife, Sue, and son, Jay, to offer his condolences on Monday. He shared memories of when he first met Paterno, the White House said.

Sunday night, students and Paterno fans braved freezing temperatures to attend a vigil on the lawn of the Old Main building on Penn State's campus. They held candles, locked arms and sang the school's alma mater to say goodbye.

"He's more than a coach; his family's more than a family," said Bethanna Edmiston, a local resident and alumna who met her husband at Penn State.

"It's extremely difficult for the whole Nittany nation," she said. "Unless you're part of Penn State, you just don't understand what it means."

Fans have also gathered at a makeshift memorial to Paterno at a statue outside Beaver Stadium depicting him, his index finger outstretched in a "No. 1" gesture.

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Signs, flowers and candles surrounded the statue, along with photographs of Paterno. "You're our hero," one said.

Paterno's son, Jay Paterno, posted a message to Twitter on Saturday night saying that he had driven by the statue, and that the love and support inspired his father in his final hours.

The support has not been universal.

A group for survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests released a statement questioning the praise for Paterno, who critics say should have done more in 2002 when an assistant reported seeing former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky engaged in a sexual act with a young boy in a shower at the campus football complex.

Paterno passed the report along to university executives, who are facing criminal charges, accused of misleading investigators and failing to properly report the alleged abuse. Paterno was not charged.

Sandusky faces more than 50 counts involving sexual acts with 10 boys dating to 1994. He has pleaded not guilty.

The survivors' group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Monday that ignoring what it called Paterno's "egregious wrongdoing" is insensitive to victims of molestation.

"And publicly honoring Paterno sends precisely the wrong message to others who have or may hide child sex crimes -- if you achieve enough professionally, we'll overlook your role in enabling, ignoring or concealing heinous crimes against kids."

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In his final interview, Paterno told The Washington Post that he felt inadequate to deal with the issue.

"I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," Paterno told the Post. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."

Paterno had coached at Penn State for 61 years, 15 of them as an assistant. He died less than three months after he coached his last game, an October 29 victory over Illinois that gave him 409 wins -- more than any other major college coach.

Under Paterno's 46-season tenure as head coach, the Nittany Lions won two national championships, went undefeated five times, and finished in the top 25 national rankings 35 times, according to his official Penn State biography.

CNN's Sarah Hoye and Susan Candiotti and CNN contributor Sara Ganim contributed to this report.

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