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. martinmunson

    Joe Paterno told wickedimproper . com that he can't wait to see the new Casey Anthony pics!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Popcorn Papa

    I don't understand why there is this idea that there is a difference between a moral obligation and a legal obligation. The law is a moral code. It's as simple as that. The big example that people always use is adultery. Sure adultery is not a criminal offense but you can be held civilly responsible for adultery in the eyes of the law. Similarly, Joe Pa is not and will not be charged criminally because he fulfilled his legal responsibility which is based on the moral principle that a person in his position should turn the information over to those capable of conducting a proper investigation. One can reasonably assume that people in those positions would not fail to act the way that the Penn State administrators did.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. whatAhit

    Anyone who had knowledge of these activities from day one and did not report it should be fired! That includes Penn State administrators. They are all complicit in destroying young lives. Disgusting and extremely disappointing.

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

      Agreed...he should be fired...or forced to retire immediately,

      November 9, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • MiamiHurricanesFan

      I couldn't agree with you more... Retire? No! Fired? Yes!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • MiamiHurricanesFan

      Here's the email address to their Board of Trustees:
      Here's the email for Spanier:

      November 9, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • DL PSU 05

      wow, "miami fan" wants joe out, shocking...

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Think

    Funny I just read that Joe wanted to be a lawyer. Would you defend your own actions in a courtroom Joe???

    November 9, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gabriel

    He should be forced to go KNOW! Not on his terms.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Gabriel

      I mean NOW! Sorry!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    Joe heard about the episode of his assistant raping a 10 year old in the locker room. No one reported the incident to the police. The assistant coach continued on at Penn State for years and molested additional children. By all appearances, Penn State swept it under the rug to avoid a scandal. Now there are going to be millions in lawsuits and trials. These guys have sullied their reputations. They are not men of outstanding character and courage. Most people are not. Nevertheless, now they pay the price. Joe should quit immediately and I don't expect that he will finish the season.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      You are an absolute moron. Maybe you should learn to read because you like many others are spreading falsehoods to support your biased ridiculous unsubstantiated opinion of Mr. Paterno. Maybe you should have read that Sandusky was no longer employed by Penn State in 1999 and the issue was brought to light by a grad student in 2002. So how was he still employed to further molest boys as a coach at the Penn State University? They couldn't fire him considering he wasn't an employee. Joe Paterno took the third party information to the people that had anything at all to do with Sandusky, the AD who then passed it on to his superior who did nothing. Seems to me that the people that are at fault do not have the name Paterno. Seems to me that the people that are directly his superiors who are mandated to follow up and investigate these type of situations failed at their jobs and should be publicly thrashed. It is easy to have high moral character and be incredibly self righteous on a message board, Mike. I am sure you are one of the..... "men of outstanding character and courage" as you so eloquently shared with everyone.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • med06

      to Chris – if Sandusky was no longer employed by Penn when this happened, all the more reason for Paterno to go to the "real police"....he chose not to...wrong choice

      November 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lois

    I don't see how anyone can defend such a horrible thing. Really he should just go now and anyone knew of this and didn't report to the authories. I read his statement – "I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case," Paterno, 84, said in a statement today. "I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief." And that just makes me sick. He wouldn't have to grieve and pray for some of these children and families if he would have done the right thing. I, as a person with morals, after seeing nothing being done would have questioned and questioned until there were results. There is no excuses and to defend this is unacceptable.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. bristoltwit palin... America's favorite tard baby.

    He'd make a good partner for Bristol Palin on DWTS.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. kablooie

    It is a shame that his career is ending on this note. He has been an excellent coach. Yes, I hope he finishes out the season. People ask why Paterno didn't go to the police, when his superior did not. My question is why didn't the graduate assistant, who reported it to Paterno in 2002, go to the police, if nothing was done. It is real easy to place blame in hindsight. Unfortunately, the victims pay the price.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • joebaggadonuts

      I agree with you 100%...they all failed, and they will all live with that.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • DK

      I also agree with you 100%. We don't have all the facts. For all we know, he was told it was investigated and found to be without merit.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. James Virginia

    All of you wished you were half the man, JoePa was. ESAD haters.

    We are, 8-1, 5-0 Big Ten

    November 9, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |

      A great coach yes, but not much of a human being. It sad to see that people are more concerned about records then morals and protection our children.

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

    Wish you acted sooner, great sorrow of your life.....too little too late Joe! I am sure those young boys and men wish you would have too, why don't you say it to their faces! I come from a long line of PSU alumni including myself and my husband and I am ashamed of these people...insane! They all should be fired, no pension and jail!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |

    By staying on and waiting to retire at the end of the season, which he was going to do anyway, is saying he's done nothing wrong. He did the right thing by report case to AD but when the AD didn't take this to the police, Joe should have. I had thought that was a lack of character and morality. But now that Joe Pa is staying on I'm positive and sorry to say Joe has no morals or character. It's sad that it's all about the school and not about what those innocent children went and continue psychologically to going through.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      He did nothing wrong. He did what he was supposed to do and reported it. That is why he can retire under his own terms. Morality and obligation are two completely different things. Why didn't the grad student take it up with police? Why should someone with third hand knowledge and no proof go to the police? If anything, he should have told the grad student to report it to the authorities since he was the one with the direct information.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dave

    Gee, I wonder if the admin knew Sandusky was raping kids? Seems like they did since they SAW him do it!!!! I'll bet they all had a running joke about "Jerry's Kids." What a sick world we live in. Paterno should be in jail with the rest of these disgraces of humanity.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. EG

    It amazes me that in the name of sports we can look past someone’s behavior. Everyone told a superiors and no one did anything. They all passed it on and should have called the police. No one stood up for those children; no one took a stand on what was right or wrong. God helps us, they are lost.

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

    Interesting to note so many feel that sports is more important than being a human being. By that I mean to report an incident of child abuse and only to your director and not the POLICE? He knew the damage it would cause if this got out but kicked it upstairs anyways. Reframe from all responsibility – or so he thought. If you read the link another reader posted the URL (NY TIMES) of the story in which the prosecutor who just vanished during the initial investigation. Body never found.
    As in all sports FOCUS – but this time its a adult with a 10 year old NAKED in the shower, adult fondling child. Put that in your play book.

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