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. Phone call to rural Sherrif

    (ring ring) "Thanks fer a callin' Nigton texas Share f's offus, depaty Cornpone a speakin'...haea may I deerect yore call ? [caller whispering] yes,this is jefro...yousa member meh from whens i mowed ya lawn lassa summa...my boysa ats the texas am universatah...and he say dat a prafessah been a humpin' on him a sumthin awful... whattya spoze i do 'bout it Cornpone? "Whuttayah a wastein' time a yappin with me 'bout it for Jethro? Ya shouldda done called his football coach. Dayem you folks izza ignernt"

    November 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. bobby

    he isn't going anywhere. Penn State is playing this wisely. Announce his retirement (at end of season?). He wll be back next year.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Christopher Potter

      Are you insane? Or just deluded?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • jopa

      I am not sure how the media reacted but theone question comes to my mind is what exactly did the man tell jo pa. Did he tell him of all the exact details of what was going on or did he just say he thought he saw the man. Next, did this person have any motive to allegedly confront jopa about this alligation for the ability to progress higher in the organization. Hind site is 20/20 this man for all we know could have not even told jo pa of all the details....

      November 9, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jason Duncan

    While Jo Paterno is not legally guilty of any wrongdoing beacuse he reported the allegations to his superior, he is morally guilty for 1) not following up on the allegations and allowing Penn State to simply bury/deny the allegations, 2) to continue to let Sandusky interact with kids, and 3) to maintain Sandusky on his staff. While Jo Paterno may now be 'praying for those kids' .... I have long been praying that individuals in positions of authority, like Jo Paterno, would have the moral compass to step in and report and prevent events like from happening ... not promote an environment that encourages it !

    November 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • egdurd

      1. Is there evidence that JoePa was active in covering it up or burying it? I can't argue he could/should have done more, and hindsight is 20/20. But there's a difference between not morally doing enough and covering it up.
      2. JoePa had no control over Sandusky's interaction with kids at an outside organization. It would be no different then your current boss telling you that you couldn't be a scout leader.
      3. By the time JoePa knew about it, Sandusky wasn't on his staff. He had retired 2 or 3 years previously.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dan

    The man is a disgrace. He should have been fired for this already. The media needs to stop exaltifying him as a fallen hero. ESPN's homepage is sickening "Paterno To Walk Away".

    November 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Shut

      shut up

      November 9, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • American7456

      a disgrace? you are obviously a longtime Penn State hater just taking an opportunity at a cheap shot at JoePa. just kills you that you will never be the husband, father, teacher, mentor, coach, or hero that JoePa has been to so many for so long. Penn State wouldn't be Penn State without JoePa. your fake outrage will mean squat in the longrun...

      November 9, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • med06

      to American7456 – this has nothing to do with being a "penn state hater" or "football" hater, i could care less about either. Until this broke out, I didn't even know who joe paterno was...and I am sickened by this event that has happened..this was a cover up plain and simple, and it was all at the expense of these young boys...let me guess, you have no kids?

      November 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Deekey

    I wonder some of you supports of Jopa would feel if one of the victims came from your family? Would you still think Jopa did the right thing? This is a sorry attempt for him to go out on top but he can never hide from the actions he took along with many others that need to be held responsible for destroying the lives of these victims!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. AnnSD

    This is such a sad story. Paterno and the rest of the athletic department at Penn failed so many children. It doesn't help that the Second Mile assisted children who where extremely vulnerable and highly unprotected from predators like Sandusky. What is even more unfortunate is that this just didn't start in the 1970's, Sandusky was likely a pedophile LONG before starting the Second Mile organization. A professor of criminal justice once told my classmates and I that he found many pedophiles in the juvenile system; breaking the stereotype that pedophiles are old, creepy-looking men.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. concerned

    Paterno should leave immediately. He had knowledge of his employee raping little boys. He should be fired and sent to prison for felony accomplice. Screw football what about humanity? Think of the the victims here.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • AnnSD

      Agree. I'm saddened that no one bothered to figure out who the victim of the shower incident was or tried to help him. Football is the last thing on the mind when it comes to these allegations. Haven't these victims been forgotten too long?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Portia

    He should be fired immediately...period...anything less is a pat on the back for doing NOTHING

    ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’

    November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. jj

    I think it's disgusting that he will be able to sit on the sidelines in a position of honor and trust for even one more game. I will not watch my alma mater play Penn State if he's allowed to coach, and I think we should all make a stand for these nameless kids who were so terribly let down by a man and a program that cared more about avoiding embarrassment then stepping in as responsible educators and stopping this thing. Does anyone really think that JoePa knew nothing of the allegations that were investigated in 1998 by the Penn State police? Really, that's the most absurd thing I've ever heard and smacks of lawyers trying to avoid liability. So if he gave him a "pass" in 98, then what should have been his reaction when he heard of the incident in 2002? JoePa covered up for the program and passed the buck. He is not the rock of morality he pretends to be, and he needs to be removed immediately.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. It is sad

    After reading the grand jury report, it talks about a previous investigation in 1998, that involved the campus police. There is no way that this information was not known to coach Paterno. It is also strange that this assistant coach was considered the annointed replacement for for coach Paterno, and then suddenly he is basically fired. (Need to read the report about one victim talking about it.) This seems to be a cover up from the President of the school, on down... and if that is true this has been known, and covered up for 13 yrs. I respect Joe Pa, but being involved in the cover up was a major mistake.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. Thomas

    Wanna take odds that he doesn't last till season's end?

    November 9, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Greg

    As an alumni, I am horrified by this all and have two main questions: 1. What was Joepa told by McQueary exactly? 2. If he was told anything of the sorts of what actually happened, how did he remain a friend/colleague with Sandusky? It is a very tough situation one where I feel sympathy and disgust at the same time. I just hope deep inside that he didn't know as much as we think he did and that he was no longer a friend after that incident if he truely knew what had happened.

    But despite all of this, the students and athletes of the school should not suffer because of the actions of the very few and unfortunately they will for a long time, if not forever. Thanks a lot Sandusky for ruining what Penn State has taken so long to build up.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. jeanne

    omg....retire at the end of the season...UNSCATHED.....this is BS...fire him today...clean the entire house....Well joe, you didn't serve atleast 9 young men the "best you could in the last 61 years". you may have a bunch of college students chanting for you on the weekends and in front of your house..but the REAL WORLD knows differently. YOU KNEW and did nothing to protect those kids....YOU and YOUR "buddies" should be criminally charged

    November 9, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      Exactly and Amen...

      November 9, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Common Sense

    Idiot and blind comments about Joe Pa, "...not having nothing to do with this." Dude should retire immediately and hope he doesnt face criminal charges. Joe Pa, Spanier, Curley, and Shultz have forever tarnished Penn State and Penn State Football by their in-actions. Sandusky needs to be put in general population when the trial is over (he'll get his there), and prayers those boys/family's can (have) put together some type of 'normal' life.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. GerryK

    ...Standing behind Paterno! Jeff what are you talking about, limited knowledge... Maybe not from day one but very soon after.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
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