Joe Paterno to retire at season's end
Joe Paterno, who has coached at Penn State for 45 years, is not facing charges in the case.
November 9th, 2011
10:28 AM ET

Joe Paterno to retire at season's end

Legendary Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno will retire at the end of the season, he said Wednesday in a statement. Paterno's move comes in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant football coach.

“I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case.  I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief,” he said.

iReport: What's your reaction?

“I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.

"That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can."

The Nittany Lions’ starting tailback Silas Redd tweeted Wednesday that he first learned of Paterno's retirement from the Internet. “Crazy how twitter knew before the squad did,” Redd said on the social-networking site.

Paterno expressed regret for not acting with more urgency after learning of the abuse allegations against retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

"This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life.  With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more," he said. "My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this university.”

iReport: Penn State student praises Paterno

Paterno's decision comes after Penn State's board of trustees said Tuesday it will create a special committee to investigate the sex abuse allegations, which became public last week after the release of a grand jury report on the case.

Some have called for Paterno to resign because of his response to allegations brought to him in 2002 by a graduate assistant, who said he had seen Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the shower at the campus football complex.

Several Paterno supporters weighed in on CNN iReport, expressing sadness that his legacy would be tarnished.

“I would like to see him go out on his own terms, but obviously that will not happen,” said Penn State Senior Tom McGlinchey. “If you look at the big picture of what he's done for this university, it shouldn't (be) overshadowed by the scandal ...The student body won't forget what he's done.”

But iReporter Egberto Willies said Paterno is being held to a different standard.

“Let’s be frank. Had this not been Joe Paterno, the legendary coach, we would not even be talking about whether he should resign,” Willies said.

Penn State's Paterno faces pressure to quit

Paterno's contract was due to expire at the end of this season. He has been the head coach since 1966.

Paterno reported the allegations to his boss. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said it appeared Paterno had met his obligations under state law, but some critics have said the coach should have reported the suspected abuse to police.

Sandusky, who was arrested Saturday, is accused of sexual offenses, child endangerment and "corruption of a minor" involving eight boys, most or all of whom he met through the Second Mile, the charity he founded to help troubled youth, according to prosecutors.

Timeline: Abuse claims date back to 1994

Two other Penn State officials have also been arrested and accused of failing to report the abuse. On Sunday, the university said the officials had stepped down, one of them returning to retirement and the other taking administrative leave.

It is unclear whether the university’s board of trustees will allow Paterno to finish the season or push for an immediate exit in light of increasing fallout from the abuse allegations.

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Filed under: College football • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Sports • U.S.
soundoff (1,074 Responses)
  1. JoeRetiremo


    November 9, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Starman

      Dumbest too.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • trish

      how old are you? like 13?

      November 9, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeRetiremo

      me 5 yrs

      November 9, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Joann

      Give Joe the electric chair. What a sick freak

      November 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    So the witch hunt was successful.
    I hope to see every other University official, from the President on down, step down, also.
    They hold the same culpability to this shameful matter as Joe Paterno.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeRetiremo

      u betcha

      November 9, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Desh

      Tell the rest of the media circus that. They don't seem to understand that part.. According to them its all Joe's fault

      November 9, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      You are right

      November 9, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • EffJoe

      They should scrap the entire football program. In the end this monstrous behavior was allowed to occur so as not to jeapordize the program. They should lose it. Money presided over basic humanity..period

      November 9, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • disbelief

      the students and those standing for joe helped bring the media attention to him. and the people want more than just him to step down; spainer and mcqueary are included. you football loyalists who only think people are against joe because of his football record are a joke! this is about childrens lives and the negligence people had in caring for them.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • bwire

      Yes, the president should step down, too. Only right.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • willber

      vigilante justice rules again in the US. who needs courts. accuse try and convict your target. smear campaign and bend facts to your own amusement. slander, libel, character assassination. the great american way. vigilante justice. take one man's crime and pin it on another. what a proud moment for you all. ignore the criminal, bend the facts, paste it on your target, and promote negative and inaccurate press until you achieve your micabre goal. nice going. bring down a giant and get extra points. even if the facts are bent, extrapolated, and miss-reported. find an heinous crime, pin it on someone other than the perpetrator, and make that someone the guilt target, while letting the perpetrator skate. enjoy your celebration tonight. hope all you yokel "reporters" who in reality are no more than mass slanderers vying for air time and fame, at the expense of anything and everyone else. facts have nothinng to do with reports. extrapolate and exagerate to achieve your desired fervor and fever-pitched results. once again, journalists create the news, not report it, and sitr up emotions to achieve a dark and negative outcome.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • maldoboca

      They all should go from Penn State to the state pen!!!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • tks123

      Only if it can be proven that he was on staff at the time of the abuse and that he had knowledge of the situation and remained silent. You do not fire someone just because they are affiliated with the school, that is just plain STUPID and proves you are a Paterno fan, not a fan of what is right and moral. As for those calling for the discontinance of the football program, that is ignorant as well. Why kill the football program for something non-football related.
      If you found out a co-worker in Walmart's toy department, would you force Walmart to stop selling toys? That is the analogy that fits and is just plain STUPID !!!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Interesting...The grad assistant who is now an assistant coach, sees what happens, does nothing to stop it; tells Paterno, who tells his superiors what he heard second hand, is getting off scot free in the media and the authorities. Paterno who did his job in reporting it, is led to the lions. God Bless our legal system, run by the media, presumed guilty until proven innocent.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joseph

    Replace the University's president with a worthless politician.Now that's improvement.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. bychy

    HE should quit NOW!!!...........He was part of that abuse!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I bet at his age he can't even remeber if he heard it or not.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      explain, if you can.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • disbelief

      so hes too old to be held accountable but not too old to coach football. makes so much sense. does no one have moral integrity anymore?

      November 9, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. Reason

    Why are these Penn State student children not thinking about the victim when they blindly support Coach Paterno?

    November 9, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeMama

      Because they aren't parents...

      November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • mynamehear

      Good question- was hoping that the youth involved in OWS were paving the way for young people to NOT blindly follow "leadership" at any level. Now hearing this, where a person like Paterno had direct knowledge of a serious crime and did not report it- yet is still receiving support, it really makes me wonder.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bleeding Blue Heart

    Will the former grad student, now on staff, also be forced out? Or is it just the big names?

    November 9, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I'm guessing they are all gone but he went to the coach and most likely had a meeting with Penn State Adminstators so he coverd his butt. I would have thought he met with Campus Police too.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      HE is the one who should be fired and possibly prosecuted. He witnessed the abuse first-hand and did nothing but tell Paterno. He didn't try to stop it when he saw the crime happening, and he didn't call the police.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Should I care

    Questions on Sandusky Are Wrapped in a 2005 Mystery

    November 9, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. CHris

    Fire him now! It is absolutely absurd that they would allow anyone with knowledge of this cover up to stay around. This is a sick crime, and Paterno facilitated another possible 9 years of a child molester running free by not speaking up. He, and other with knowledge of these crimes, should face charges as well.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Get the facts: he did not know of a cover up

      November 9, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      Paterno was not witness to these crimes. He was told of them second-hand, and he passed the info on to his superiors. If he had gone to the police with second-hand info, "my assistant told me that he saw this...," and it was proven to be false, what then? Why didn't the witness A) try to stop the raping he witnessed, and B) go to the police himself?

      November 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • At the beach

      I agree. He should be let go immediately. This is such a sad and tragic reality. So sorry for the little boys.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    Come on, he is 84 years old, it is about time, this is not punishment.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. VeryOldMan

    He should be fired immediately. He is lucky that he does not go to jail.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      While I find his morality questionable, he most certainly should not go to jail, given that the district attorney herself called him cooperative and asserted he took the proper steps.

      Morally? In the wrong. Legally? Did what was necessary.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • PAternosupporter

      Go to Jail for what doing what he legally obligated to do with second hand information it is a travesty that we have blamed Paterno for a crime he neither witnessed nor covered up why do we even need court rooms you people tend to convict people until proven innocent, paterno did nothing wrong he did as was standards many of you dont go above and beyond in your own line of week so let he without sin cast the first stone

      November 9, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. redleg

    What a sad day for PSU.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. michaelfury

    Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.

    – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    November 9, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Starman

    Say it ain't so Joe.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael Brooks JR


      November 9, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ellen

    It's a sad, sad day for Penn State. Sad for the victims, and sad for a man who's dedicated his life to the school, only to see himself become a scapegoat in a horrific scandal.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. 2003 that all the media got their way, I think they should now look into why nothing was done in 1998!!! Children and Youth and the Police BOTH had the opportunity to get Sandusky then, but let him go cause he said that "he would not shower with little boys anymore". HOW IS THAT ACCEPTABLE?? So you let someone go, that has a problem probably long before that and don't lock him up then! Now, the greatest College Football Coach has to take the fall for the University to try to save their image. They should really clean out the ENTIRE football staff and start from scratch now, don't let ANY of them stay!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      It's got nothing to do with the media; they're doing their job reporting the abuse of children, unlike Mr. Paterno who didn't. You really think that because there are others that are culpable, Joe should get a pass? As if two wrongs make a right?

      November 9, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • 2003

      Nothing about two wrongs Dale. He reported it to the HEAD OF CAMPUS POLICE! Read the testimony

      November 9, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MP

      As you said Dale, it is about the abuse of children. The media is not particularly intersted in that nor the case at hand. They are pretty interested in making this about JoePa though. Its about the abuse of the children and the predator that did the abusing. You should remember that yourself.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
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