Joe Paterno, Penn State’s legendary football coach, was laid to rest on Jan. 25, and his memorial service at Penn State University on Thursday drew a crowd of 12,000, according to the Associated Press.
Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight received a standing ovation for his defense of the late coach’s record and handling of the child abuse case against a former assistant, Jerry Sandusky.
Knight said, “If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation and not in Joe Paterno's response to it.”
Paterno, who passed away on Sunday, suffered from lung cancer. He was 85 years old.
Paterno was dismissed in November from the post of head coach which he had held for 46 years, earned the most career victories among NCAA Division I coaches and took Penn State’s football team to a record-setting 409 wins, reported The New York Times.
He had held himself to an exceedingly high standard with what he called his “grand experiment”: fielding outstanding teams with disciplined players whose graduation rates far exceeded that at most football powers.
Paterno’s son, Jay Paterno, told the audience at the memorial service, "Joe Paterno left this world with a clear conscience."
After Paterno’s funeral service yesterday, ex-NFL player Matt Millen said of the coach, “He would've been embarrassed. He would've hated it. He would've told us to shut up already. I guarantee it."
Watch a portion of Phil Knight's tribute on ESPN: