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. mlt1473

    If he truly wants to help the university, walk away NOW, forgo any and all retirement benefits he is currently set to receive (or better yet – put it all into a trust to help the kids whose lives were RUINED by his ego) and swear publicly that he will cooperate FULLY (real "fully" not "as long it doesn't make me look bad 'fully' ") with all investigations into these atrocities, and grovel for forgiveness to the victims (in person with no damn camera crews).

    November 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    Retirement option!? Very generous of PSU...at least mandate that it be effective immediately. To have this apparatus still whole and in place on the sidelines this Saturday is the wrong message to send....

    November 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. The truth always comes out

    Penn State should change their slogan to "We are DIS-GRACED!" Their is no excuse for what took place over the past 15 years. People need to do the right thing and stand up for "CHILDREN" who are now FOREVER damaged because of the heinous acts that took place from a man many of them probably thought they could trust. Absolutely disgusting!!!!! And for those who are trying to protect Joe Paterno – you can't tell me that he couldn't have done more. He was probably sitting around with his boss, etc. trying to figure out how to keep the issue from surfacing and ruining the reputation of the football program,school, etc. It's just a game people....the security and well being of children is a millions times more important than wins, stats, playoffs, etc. The bottom line is all involved know what they did/didn't do and will have to live with their choices. May God bless and protect all of the innocent children affected by this horrible crime.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • JoeRetiremo

      yup

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

      SHUT THAT SCHOOL DOWN AND TAKE THEIR LISCENSE TO OPERATE!!! NOW! NOT LATER!

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

      LICENSE TO OPERATE? HAND IT OVER! NOW! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO OPERATE IN OUR SOCIETY.

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

      License to operate??? you could take away a schools accreditation. Let's think a little bit before we write.

      November 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kelly

    A crime was committed. Why didn't anyone – starting with the graduate student that saw the crime – report it to the police. Universities must stop hiding crimes. The police should be investigating criminal acts, not campus police.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. Scott

    By not immediately resigning, Paterno is making the job of the Trustees even more difficult. They HAVE to do something about this now. He could've handled it but didn't.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. funnyboy

    Off with their heads, where is the stake, we must burn someone!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. DL PSU 05

    I support Joe Paw. He is classy as always. He will be missed and always loved. Remembered for everything he has done to make Penn State the quality school for academic, professional, and personal growth that it is today.

    WE ARE... PENN STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My heart goes out to the victims of Sandusky who is a sick and twisted individual. Can the media now focus on him and his "charity".

    November 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      How many years after the incident did Sandusky continue to coach? Get your head out of the sand.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Geoffrey

      Sandusky had not been a coach for three year when the incident took place and has not been on the staff for 12 years. The legal and media inquiries should be more focused on the administration who granted Sandusky access to the university as part of his retirement package and not on Paterno. You need to get your facts straight before commenting.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • DL PSU 05

      get your head out of the sand, Sandusky retired in 1999, the incident happened in 2002. Joe was not his boss at the time of the incident. Joe was given the information from Maquery who in testimony said he did not tell joe the whole story. Joe reported it up to his boss and the head of finance who be default is in charge of the penn state police force that did investigate. The PA DA has been investigating this for 3 years and nothing has ever come up that Joe did anything wrong. You sir by your comment have proven yourself to be asinine.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Esme

      Really? You call this latest behavior "classy?" Once again, it is all about JOE–if he truly cared about the University, he would leave immediately. He has been tested and now that his true colors have been seen, it's hard to believe anyone still thinks of him as a hero. Shame on him.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • DL PSU 05

      his statement was classy. tested and colors shown? have you read the police reports or just watched the media attack dogs...

      November 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. SDOT

    I smell a movie of this in the near future......

    November 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. ajgorm

    We cant trust priests or politicians or the coach to keep it in their pants around children seems like we cant trust anyone now days

    November 9, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. Carl J.

    Here in Metro Detroit....... a lot of talk show callers are saying that if they were Mike McQueary and witnessed that going on in the shower, they would have grabbed a baseball bat or a table leg and beaten Sandusky to an absolute pulp.

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

      Woulda saved alot of trouble for the University had that senario played out

      November 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fight On State

    He did what he was responsible for after hearing A SECOND HAND account. He is slowly becoming the scape goat for the actions of the few who are truely at fault and deserve to rot. Leave JoePa out of this and look at the people who didnt tell anyone period and actually covered up these acts.
    Its troubling to see the amount of people drinking the social media Kool-Aide and not informing themselves, read the actual judiciary report and then say that Joe should be brought into the spotlight as much as he should have.

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

      If someone in my work place reported to me that he witnessed another employee raping a 10 year old, I would ensure that the police be notified.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Caro

      He heard a FIRST hand account, dummy–get your terms straight. If Paterno's report to his bosses had anything to with something that his team needed, you can bet he would have followed up every day until he got a resolution. Shame on him, and shame on you know-nothing idiots for defending him. This is no different from all the priests covering up for one another resulting in more ruined lives. Find a new cause to champion, you fools. This old creep is going DOWN, and rightfully so.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. susan from pennsylvnia

    The grand jury did not indict him. The media did, so they could get a few days out of a sensational story. No one is even reporting what he knew and didn't know. PennState officials should be ashamed. Why must we tear down icons?

    This is a sad day for America.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • @Susan

      More like it's a sad day for Pennslyvania having an empty-headed bimbo like you as a resident.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Agreed, he was not indicted. Finally someone with a brain. I am sure Joe Paterno's heart is broken and the press loves to pile on. Nice job national media jumping to conclusions before all of the facts come to light.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • DL PSU 05

      why attack susan for stating a completely relevent fact? is that what makes you feel better about yourself? Sandusky is a sick sad individual, you are just sad.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. buschwc

    For everyone defending him, if this was a Catholic Seminary student reporting child abuse by Priests to the local Bishop, would you still be defending them as 'having followed protocol'?

    November 9, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Yes! Because they as well as the victim were betrayed by the people they trusted to uphold the law and investigate wrongdoing.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. hookiecop

    Dear Matt: You just proved my point.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. Shelly

    Quit treating him like a deity. Fire him now.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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