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“Continue to have good character,” Redd said Paterno told them. “That’s the thing he’s been teaching us the whole time.”

While other powerhouse programs have been embarrassed by NCAA violations in recent years, Penn State had avoided any major troubles - until now.

“For coach Paterno, the greatest coach of any sport really, to go out like this is unfair,” Okoli said. “He’s meant so much more to the university [than football]. He’s had such a legacy, and this isn’t a fitting end.”

Paterno finished by reminding his players they would always share a bond, would always be a family, and they responded by giving him a standing ovation. The coach then left with his daughter, looking somber and sad as he got back into the SUV. He declined to say anything more. He waved and they drove off.

His players stayed for a few more minutes to talk with their position coaches. Several stopped to talk to reporters. Others walked away with their heads down, some wearing head phones to drown out questions.

“We’re all still feeling the effects of it,” Sukay said. “We’re pretty shocked, pretty sad.”

At Paterno’s house, just a few blocks off campus, it was largely quiet aside from a few deliveries: flowers, what looked like a fruit basket. One student stopped to leave a letter in Paterno’s mailbox.

“He gave his life to the university for 50 years,” Okoli said. “You’ll never see that again in college football.”