Thousands line up to pay respects to Joe Paterno


They stood outside for hours on a winter afternoon in State College, Pa., waiting to pay their respects to the late Joe Paterno. The line snaked down a long block on the Penn State campus.

Inside a campus spiritual center, the coach’s body lay in a closed hardwood casket topped by a spray of white roses. About six feet away sat a stylized black-and-white picture of the man who became lovingly known on campus as “JoePa,” smiling and peering out through his trademark thick-rimmed glasses.

Three days of public mourning began Tuesday for a Penn State community already racked by months of turmoil. The 85-year-old Paterno — a Hall of Fame coach and the face of the university — died Sunday of lung cancer. He had been ousted just days before learning of his diagnosis in November, forced out of his job in the wake of child sex-abuse charges against a former assistant.


“We’re not going to focus on the bad, we’re going to pull together and focus on the good,” said Brittany Yingling, 23, of Altoona, Pa., donning a blue Penn State knit cap with “Paterno” in bold white letters emblazoned on the front. “He’s going to leave a lasting legacy on so many people.”

And thousands showed up, lining a main campus artery for a chance to make the walk, single file, past Paterno’s casket, which had an “honor guard” of two Penn State players — one past and one present. Some mourners stopped for a moment of reflection, or to genuflect in the interfaith hall.

Others fought back tears and sniffles. The only other sounds were the clicks from media photographers, taking occasional pictures.


Mike Stoops has received a three-year contract that will pay him $600,000 annually to be the defensive coordinator for Oklahoma, and he’ll have a familiar face helping him.

The university’s board of regents voted Tuesday to approve the terms of Stoops’ employment, which includes a $245,000 base salary and $355,000 for personal services and fundraising. Later in the day, the Sooners announced that Tim Kish — Stoops’ former defensive coordinator at Arizona, who succeeded him as interim coach — would be the new linebackers coach.


Cincinnati football Coach Butch Jones received a three-year contract extension and a raise for leading the Bearcats to a share of the Big East title and a victory over Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl.

Jones took the job after Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame after leading Cincinnati to back-to-back league titles and berths in the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The Bearcats won only four games in Jones’ first season, but followed with 10 wins and a share of a third title last season. The extension runs through the 2017 season and includes raises that will bring his annual salary to $2.05 million by 2017.


Navy accepted an invitation to play football in the Big East, starting in 2015.

The service academy has been a football independent since the program began in 1879. The Midshipmen have been thriving over the last decade. They played in eight straight bowl games before slipping to 5-7 this season and have won a record 10 straight games against rival Army.

In December, the Big East added Boise State and San Diego State as football-only members and SMU, Houston and Central Florida in all sports. Those schools will join in 2013.


Alex Ovechkin to sit out NHL All-Star game

Alex Ovechkin is skipping the NHL All-Star game, announcing that decision a day after getting a three-game suspension from the league for a hit on an opponent.

“My heart is not there. I got suspended, so why [do] I have to go there?” the Washington Capitals’ captain and a two-time league MVP said Tuesday. “I love the [All-Star] game. It’s a great event. I love to be there.”

But he added: “I feel I’m not deserving to be there right now. If I’m suspended, I have to be suspended.”

He was suspended for launching himself to hit Pittsburgh defenseman Zbynek Michalek during Washington’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Penguins on Sunday. No penalty was assessed on the play.

He will eligible to return on Feb. 4 against Montreal.


Wendy Pineda scored a hat trick, and Guatemala beat the Dominican Republic 6-0 Tuesday night in the teams’ final game at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament at Vancouver, Canada.

The win gave Guatemala third place in its four-team group, while the Dominicans finished last and were outscored 27-0 in their three games. Both teams had already been eliminated from a chance at the semifinals.


Venus Williams will return from illness and her sister, Serena, will play Fed Cup for the first time in nearly five years after being selected in the U.S. team to meet Belarus in a Feb. 4-5 World Group II match at Worcester, Mass.

U.S. team captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced the team, which includes Christina McCale and Liezel Huber, late Tuesday.

It will be Venus Williams’ first appearance in sanctioned competition since the U.S. Open, when she revealed she had Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain.


Marcel Hirscher of Austria won a World Cup night slalom at Schladming, Austria, for his sixth victory of the season and ninth overall.

Hirscher led after the first run and finished in an aggregate time of 1 minute 43.01 seconds to beat Stefano Gross of Italy by 0.22 of a second. Hirscher’s Austrian teammate Mario Matt was 0.29 behind in third. Ted Ligety of the United States was eighth.