STATE COLLEGE - Mike McQueary says he was "devastated" when he heard the news of the death of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
McQueary, the assistant coach who is a key witness in the child sexual-abuse case against Jerry Sandusky, was among more than a hundred invited guests at a private viewing for Paterno yesterday morning on campus.
"You have a profound love for him," McQueary told the school newspaper, the Daily Collegian, in an interview early yesterday morning while walking his dogs. "He really cared about the people that surrounded him more than himself."
McQueary, Penn State's receivers coach, has kept a low profile while on administrative leave.
McQueary has told a grand jury that he witnessed a boy being molested in a locker-room shower at the Penn State football building in 2002. McQueary was a graduate assistant at the time.
Paterno passed along the information to two school officials, but the Board of Trustees thought he should have done more, leading to his firing in November.
McQueary said he has not been in contact with Sue Paterno recently but did send a text message to Jay Paterno, one of Joe's sons and the former quarterbacks coach. McQueary said the Paterno family has been "overly supportive" of him and his wife during the last few months.
McQueary said he was truly blessed and lucky to have had a relationship with Paterno.
"He was everything to you, next to your father, wife, mother," he said. "He was everything you would ever want in a head coach or a university icon."