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. bachmanntwit

    He can get a job on Bachmann's campaign staff. After all, Marcus Bachmann is gay.

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

    wow. you're really funny Larry. tell that joke to this kid's parents and see how funny your face looks.

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

      And where have the parents been over the past nine years?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • leelanau

      Since the victim hasn't been identified, there is a good possibility that there aren't parents in the picture at all, since Sandusky put himself in contact with orphans and other "at risk" children.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • LN

      We all have parents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Making this even sadder, one parent told the police in 1998...the police made hiim promise he wouldn't shower with little boys anymore. This too is in the grand jury testimony transcripts. Sad, but true.

      November 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • my opinion

      Uhhhh...these kids didn't have any? Which is why he got his way with them.

      November 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. recce81

    this is not breaking news

    November 9, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. MarkB

    He was probably going to retire anyway, he should step down now. Reporting it to school personnel isn't the right thing to do, he needed to call the police. He was protecting something. Either Penn State, the football program, his friend, his legacy, etc. You pick, but he was protecting something by not going to the police. Anybody with common sense knows that raping a child is a legal matter not a University matter.

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


      November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. The Master

    Ol' Joe don't need this yo! Leave him be!

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

      Is he going to coach the Nebraska game

      Corn Huskers v. Corn Holers

      What do you call a woman who likes younger men - a cougar

      what do you call an old man who likes ten year old boys a Nittany Lion

      November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. open400

    I I did one term of graduate school at Penn State. Loved the campus. One problem the school had back then(30 years ago) and obviously still has now , there are many very old out-of-touch people in key decision making positions and a buddy-buddy system among the old folks. One my old professors back then(God bless his soul) was just plain too sick to be teaching, but he was still on staff. Another old professor(God bless his soul) was always harping about pension system corruption(as opposed to teaching). I made the mistake of inadvertently of offending this power structure and was thrown out of the department after just one semester. Sandusky was part of the good old boys of Penn State and to directly challenge him would have been the end of that graduate assistance’s career at Penn State. The good old boy network is big part of our work world.

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

      You hit the nail on the head- too many "good 'ol boys"

      November 9, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. CS Heinz

    The Lion Has Fallen: Four Things I Believe God Is Saying to Lion Country

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

    Joe did the minimum, and then turned a blind eye

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

    College sports have gotten OUT OF CONTROL. There is too much emphasis in making money. Coaches have become (and we have allowed them to become) bigger than the sports and the school who hire them. Academic fraud takes place; financial fraud takes place; and yes, illegal acts take place with this environment we have created. It must be changed.

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

      That's because the football programs pay many of the university's bills. PSU football single-handedly pays for all other sports at PSU to even exist. PSU exists because of the football program. Let's beat Nebraska!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Corn Huskers v Corn Holers

      What do you call a woman who likes younger men - a cougar

      Waht do you call an old man that likes 10 year old boys - a Nittnay Lion

      November 9, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. BigMike

    The level of hatred in this country is just scary. Too much reality TV and talk shows, not to mention biased news networks. This man, if he did these things, is a very sick person. He has mental problems. Odds are he was molested himself as a child. These people need help. They have an addiction that while we can't understand it completely, is never the less an addiction. Our mental health care system in this country is in shambles. As for Joe, he did what was required of him. This was what the university told him to do in a case like this. He did the right thing, but since the media has everybody in witch hunt mode, they want to tar and feather him. Let the courts straighten this out , not public opinion. Let's not become a country of hate. There are enough of them already.

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

      Actually you're wrong. As an educator and a mandated reporter he was REQUIRED to report to authorities.

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

      Wrong. He did not do what was required by anything resembling a code of morals, especially from a guy as high and mighty as Joe P. How do you justify sending the pedophile down the street to continue his activities? Whether or not he was abused as a kid is immaterial, btw.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • tks123

      You sir are an enabler and an excuse maker. People who commit serial killings are sick mentally as well, should we feel sorry them too. This man ruined as many as 15 young lives, not to mention the lives of their family and many on the PSU staff with his actions. He deserves to be put somewhere where he can never touch a young person again.
      As for Paterno, your comments are B.S. at best. Even Jo Paterno knows what he did was the bare minimum and he should have done more. To think anything else is just plain ignorant. If this was you, or your child, you would be screaming for his head and Sandusky's. This is a travesty and reflecs poorly on the University, they need to rid themselves of anyone connected with these alleged crimes, including the grad student who is currently on the staff.

      Take your bleeding heart somewhere else, mine bleeds for the children of the piece of garbage. I do not care if he was molested himself, it does not give him the right, nor does it explain why he did what he did, that is a cop out. This was a power thing to him in my opinion.

      I am glad Joe Paterno is stepping down, but I think the University needs to accept the retirement, but effective immediately, not on Joe's terms.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. The LORD

    He should be fired and lynched for enableling that monster for all of those years. It's truly disgusting to see how being a fan of a particular football team can so severly impare the collective moral consciousness of so many of his supporters. Paterno will be burning in hell with 18 months of "retiring."

    November 9, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. commnsense33

    So let me get this straight: (1) Joe's a great, legendary football coach; (2) he's a shrewd and smart guy; (3) he preaches high moral and ethical principles in the conduct of daily life. So a graduate assistant walks in and tells him a story about a lifelong associate and maybe friend "horsing around" with a little boy in the shower and he doesn't ask for detail about what happened? He leaves it at that, watches the guy get banned from bringing boys onto campus and that's the end of that, that's all he even knew? I doubt he studies game film that casually. Do you think he vets his recruits like that? He was a great coach but no role model for how to live your life. Just another superego looking out for himself and smiling inside every time he sees his statue while maintaining external indifference - i'm starting to see the picture.... So they let him retire so he goes out on his own terms. Half my cousins went to school there and I'm now very glad I didn't. By the way, the Honorary Board of Directors is laughable in retrospect based on what is rumored (enough to maybe be quite factual) about some of the crew. Arnold Palmer - the great golfer, lush and notorious womanizer (the latter two aspects you never read about because every member of the sporting press is afraid of getting blacklisted by all the players (and they're ALL in on the secret) to keep the tour's image squeaky clean); Mark Wahlberg??? The racist hate-mongerer who got a chance to go on a Second Mile of wealth and fame after almost killing a man because he was vietnamese? At least that kinda makes sense.. Second Mile website intro notes Character and Responsibility - nice marketing touch. Cal Ripken (was the streak real or is the story about his wife and Kevin Costner true....power outage at the stadium - just a rumor I've heard??); Andy Reid - father of the year? Anyway, I guess we have to be very selective in who we picks as "heroes" and "role models" - maybe its just category-based and not all-encompassing; as a nation, we're virtually bankrupt on honest, decent, caring people of morality and integrity - too bad – we may never have been so great a country but we're less great than we were...or maybe we just have too much information and should keep drinking the kool-aid...peace

    November 9, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Love it

      November 9, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Jangee10

      Great post!! Your observations are on point!!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amanda

    Well once again PSU, you're showing that you care more about your team and school pride then anyone getting in your path. As a higher ed professional he (and all the others who dropped the ball) are MANDATED REPORTERS. Look it up, it's in your schools' bylaws. You shouldn't get to finish the season. Today should have been it.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. lucy2

    I'm a Penn State alumni, and very sad to see all this happening – especially sad for the kids who were victimized by an awful predator.
    It's a shame this will be the final thought on Paterno's legacy, as he accomplished so much and did so much for the school, but the real shame is that the situation was not dealt with properly. For a crime that serious in nature, forget the chain of command and university hierarchy – it should have been reported to the REAL police, not just the campus police or administration. Quite frankly, the grad student who witnessed it should have gone to the real police first, not Paterno, or anyone else.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. KC

    What a bunch of hypocrites. For some reason it is perfectly acceptable for the Graduate Assistant to report the situation to his superior (Paterno), but when Paterno reported it to HIS superior it is deemed NOT ENOUGH. I haven't heard a single cry for the intern's resignation for not notifying the Police. We can all have an opinion as to what should have transpired, but Paterno met his legal obligations as much as the Graduate Assistant met his. If the person Paterno reported the incident to had called the Police, there would not be a story here.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • tks123

      I am calling for the grad assistant to be fired, and all that had to happen was for either he or Paterno to call the police and the two people Paterno reported it too would not be in the trouble they are in either. See how that works? It is called passing the buck or passing the blame. Everyone involved in this, who did the bare minimum, deserve to lose their jobs, for they allowed the predator to continue unabated for many years.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
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