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. R.B.

    I understand he has done a great deal for Penn State, but JOEPa is trying to control his exit! Telling the board to not waste any more time on 'his departure'. If I am on the board I would take control back for the university now and tell Joe it is not his decision. He should have been out 5 years ago when he could have really worked for the university, now it is just a mark that will always be associated with his tenure!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    This is disgusting. Paterno is a disgrace now. He turned his head while he knew there was abuse there!! He, along with the top group of this administration should be FIRED and FIRED LIKE YESTERDAY!! This is a disgrace, fire them and let this great university re-start and re-gain some morality there.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    Jeff: If McQueary tells Paternon in 2002 that he saw Sandusky and Joe's grandson in the shower, is Sandusky in prison today?

    November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. chenzo

    Joe needs to resign or be fired – today.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. DD

    This is pathetic! Not only Paterno – But Graham Spanier should be terminated IMMEDIATELY . ALL should lose any penion for these henious crimes.

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

      Why? Did they abuse children? Or was it Sandusky?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • med06

      to SHUT – what are you not getting, they all knew this was a cover up!!!!!!!!!!yes, Sandusky did this horrible act and he should be punished, I don't know how it got out on bail...but the others that knew need to be held accountable

      November 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jack from Tennessee

    PSU = Pedophile State University where football is more important than your kids.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. PSU Alumnus

    Let's all remember the real criminal is Jerry Sandusky if the allegations prove true; which highly likely they do.

    Paterno indirectly admitted that in hindsight he could have done more which further suggests Sandusky is quilty. Still doesn't right the wrong of the moral obligation to see that justice is done even if it involves a long-time friend like Sandusky. So yes Paterno failed the boy in March 2002 and all those that may have followed after.

    The GA failed to stop a crime as it was being committed. It's not like Sandusky was armed with a gun. Surely he could have done something to stop it right there and then. Let's all be mindful of this if ever placed in a similar situation.

    Lastly, for many PSU staff to know about Sandusky's secret life and to still allow him to grace PSU property all those years. Unthinkable.

    I hope the victims can all recover from this horror and move on with their lives.

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

      How many children were molested after Joe Pa knew? That makes him directly connected by the fact that he could have prevented it by doing what was right.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • 2003

      Hey many after 1998 when Children and Youth and the Police were involved then???

      November 9, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. Glenn Q

    End of the season??? Slap in the face to the victims. If he had any nads he would retire now. Fall on the sword Joe. Show some honor.

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

      Glen,, don'tcha know football is more important than anything! Forget the victims, and carry on with the game is the philosophy there.

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

    when good men do nothing, nothing gets done. And that is the case with Mr. Paterno he cared more about his status just like any power hungry human being. He nothing then a fallen hero..penn state is tainted by his wrong doing...

    November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. shut

    I hope that all of you criticizing this man do wonderful, amazing things in your life. And you make 1 mistake. And that 1 mistake makes you FALL. Into hopelessness, despair, depression, and you kill yourself out of the craziness from the one blemish in your life.

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

      If the one mistake I made was to allow an admitted pedophile to walk my campus free? Then kill me.

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

      nobody I know would make this "mistake". this is not a "mistake", this is a total failure of being a human

      November 9, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      Grad Asst. :"Hey Joe, I just saw your assistant coach in the shower, anally raping a 10 year old"

      Joe: "I'll call my AD tomorrow and tell him that some possibly inappropriate horseplay took place".

      November 9, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Esme

      Sorry, but this is one heck of a "mistake"; more like a MORTAL sin, which the Catholic Paterno should certainly understand.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Dubious

      Tell that to the kids.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • dbt

      Is it really one mistake? The first mistake was not telling the authorities the day after. imo ever day he woke up and new about this horrible crime and did nothing was a repeated mistake. So lets be honest, he enabled this to happen.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Enraged

    If your graduate assistant had come to you and told you that he had witnessed Sandusky murdering a young boy in the shower - would you have gone to the police? Would the graduate student go to the police? Would you have simply reported it to your superiors and left it at that? Was Paterno able to sleep at night? How could the former graduate assistant look Sandusky in the face after he saw him raping a child? How could he continue to work with this man? This was the murder of a young boy's soul and no one stepped in to save him. This was a serious crime against a child. In my field, I am ethically, legally and morally obligated to report offenses against children. I will lose my license if I do not report. I am so angry. This was an opportunity to save a child that was lost because money, prestige, and power meant more than a 10-year-old boy's soul.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jon Davison of Dallas

    For those interested in reading about the full extent of jerry Sandusky's sick, wicked behavior, read the Grand Jury Report. Apparently, Penn State was not the only school that failed to protect children:

    November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. grampazero

    People understand that there can be a difference between the letter and the spirit of the law. Paterno may never do any time, but society will give him what he deserves: the OJ treatment.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. JeannieMac

    Wow. Good thing Paterno isn't a Catholic priest, the media would be screaming for his imprisonment - innocent or not!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. fay ruujin

    end of season, what a stinking pile of you know what. classic – sports is more important than someones life. and this loser had kids. great role model

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