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. Sam

    Someone should throw these kids in jail to rot for fabricating this story. Sad

    November 9, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • med06

      to sam – are you kidding me!!!!get your head out of your "you know what"

      November 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ajgorm

    Why is it always the people that we trust the most with our children that end up being the perpetrators of the crimes. So now we worry even more knowing that this is true. Where do we go for support ?.

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

    Not soon enough

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

      shut that campus down. turn it into something else. these folks can't be trusted with anything.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • reb084

      what happened to being charged with accessary after the fact, everyone that knew about this crime needs to go to jail.

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

      NOT THE SEASONS END..NOW!

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

      where are the attorneys? child protective services...go after their license to operate. SHUT THEM DOWN!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • OUTRAGED

      they are dumber than rocks. no you can't get away with being that stupid. shut that school down. its not a school its a terror mill. secret prison.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • jmho43

      "At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status". Really?! Who's in charge here?? But I thought once Joe reported this to "his superiors" that was all he could do.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Stubby

    Why should anyone be allowed to go out(retire) on their terms, if that person has or was part of a cover-up of what has become the biggest college scandal ever. He doesn't deserve another second being part of the university. Everything he has done in his life pales in comparison from what he failed to do. GET RID OF HIM and everyone that was associated with this issue. That includes everyone that had knowledge, including the campus police. Until they do this, the university will have suffer irreparable damage.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      I agree 100%

      November 9, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • matt

      I disagree 100%. JoPa has earned the right to go out on his own terms. You can't diminish everything that man has done for the university over this. He followed the law.

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

      Dido, I agree, he should resign now. Never though Joe Pa would be caught in something like this, but this is super serious and he should voluntarily resign immediately and if not then forced to be the University aand/or the NCAA. This is nothing at all compared to Jim Tressel lying about some tatoos and he is gone. The University needs to think about one thing and that is doing the right thing especially to honor the victims and their families. The can't make up for what has been done, but don't make it worse. Man, never though Joe would be caught in something like this.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. sideofbacon

    wonder what they will rename the B1G championship trophy to. cant really leave it the Stagg-Paterno trophy with this now tainted legacy he leaves behind.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Nathan

      What tainted legacy? He had nothing to do with some creep that was on his staff. When he found out, he reported it to the proper people. THEY dropped the ball. I don't think he should retire at all. tainted legacy. dumb comment.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • reb084

      if it would have been someone not on his staff he would have reported it to the sheriffs dept ....the only proper one to report it to

      November 9, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Marci

    Sad Day for PENN STATE

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

      shut them down. take away their license to operate. good people in society will not tolerate this type of behavior. SHUT THEM DOWN! they are just making money off of people. nothing about being good going on there. and they are NOT protecting kids.

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

      Loud Noises!

      November 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pete

    This is a very tough situation. Paterno reported it to his superiors and they did not act on it. Should Joe have fired Sandusky with no proof but hearsay? It's sad that this is how his career will come to an end when his "crime" is not doing more. Wouldn't the grad student be "guilty" of the same thing? Shouldn't he have called the police if he witnessed it himself? In the end these men did what they thought was right, they reported it to someone whom they thought would take it further but that didn't happen.

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

      Sandusky was not on his staff for three years when the incident took place and has not been a member of staff for 12 seasons now. Please get your facts straight.

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

      That is funny since the guy wasn't technically employed by Joe Paterno when he first heard an allegation in 2002! So he should have fired someone who was retired but had privileges of access to the University that the board and president gave him? I wonder how that works...

      November 9, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Chester

      I agree completely! To Paterno the story to him was hear say so he reported it to his superiour for them to handle it directly. Sanduskey didnt work for PSU when this incident happened he retired in 1999.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • ultimate responsibility

      They failed ...miserably. Yes, he didn't know it was true...but you take IMMEDIATE STEPS to bring in authorities when given such serious info. And if proved false, you stand by Sandusky. But you don't just send it up the chain and hope for the best. Moral failure.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I agree 100%. How does this fall on him. He does not know the full extent of the issue, the grad student did not go into detail, and JoePa reports it to his superiors. He did the appropriate steps to bring the issue to light, yet he's getting blamed for the failure of the AD. This is like someone coming to me at work and saying there's some inappropriate behavior going on between 2 employees. If that is all the information I am given, I go to HR upper management to take care of the situation.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Pete, Joe couldn't fire Sandusky – at the time of the incident he wasn't his boss. He reported it to those in charge as soon as he heard about it. This shouldn't be about JoePa, he did what was right. It should be about the DA who failed to prosecute in 1998. Or his superiors who failed to follow through with it. In retrospect it would have been smart for him to take it to the police himself, but I'm sure at the time you'd think Sandusky's boss (not Paterno) would have done that. Its heart breaking that the man who did things right is taking the heat just because he is a good man and it sells media.

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

      Pete, Sandusky was retired at the time the assistant saw him in the locker room and brought it to Joe's attention. The reason Joe did not go to police was because Sandusky was no longer on Joe's staff. Joe immediately reported it to the correct University official. According to the investigation, joe did exactly what he was required to do. Wish I could say that about Tressel.

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

      Sandusky was not even working for Penn State, he had already retired. Joe Pa did what he should have done, could he have done more, yes but he did what he was obligated to do. Regarding the grad student, why is no one talking about him, he saw it first hand not hearsay like Joe. Interesting thing is the grad student is now a coach at PS but no one is talking about that. A very sad day for all involved.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Clayton

      Sandusky was not in Joe's employ at the time the graduate student came to him with the accusations. I am amazed at how fast people are willing to throw someone under the bus in the stampede to blame anyone and everyone for what happened. He apparently did his job with unsubstantiated accusations from a graduate student. He expected those above him to do the same. Do their job. Should he have followed up. Possibly. But Sandusky was a friend. If he followed up and Sandusky gets off then there would be whispers of JoePa throwing his weight around. He steps aside and expects others to do their jobs and he is still part of the coverup. Lose-lose situation.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. MDChick

    It is sad that JoPa's brilliant career will end on this sour note. But JoPa failed so many children. How can you exercise such poor judgment on this issue, Coach?.

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

    Joe Paterno really has to go right now not at the end of the season. Sandusky, needs to spend the rest of his life in prison.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. GW

    Paterno should have called the police – plain and simple. When it was time to do the right thing, he failed. Much like others do everyday in similar situations. His faillure to notify "proper" authorities is illegal. And though I still remember clearly the day and moment I got to shake his legendary hand, I can confidently say, free of nostalgia, that he should be charged with failing to report a crime. Countless young boys – your son, your brother, your friend – could have been spared the pain. Defining moments in life come when decisions are hard, not when they are easy (going for it on 4th down vs. punting is easy). Unfortunately Paterno's decisions when things were difficult overshadow his lifetime of less defining moments.

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

      I wonder how many allegations come to Paterno about his team and their handlers? He did what he was required to do and now they're forgetting all about the person who saw this and the man who did this. But they are as much as accusing Paterno who will forever be linked to a very sad situation when he should be remembered for being a great coach.

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

      The person who should have gone to the police is the graduate student. He had first hand knowledge. JoePa only had hearsay. No self respecting law officer should act on hearsay. It was the students responsibility.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Neutral

    It's funny how everybody becomes an ethical/ legal expert. Educate yourselves before you speak

    November 9, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • ultimate responsibility

      Educate myself for what? I don't need to be an attorney to know what any upstanding, moral, courageous man should have done.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. tribecagal

    Wake up folks. Football is the Penn State cash cow and we all know that football revenue, boosters and endowments will trump child abuse every time. He knew, he did nothing, he is complicit. Paterno gets to retire at the end of the season? He should get fired today. But then wonderful, beloved coach Paterno wouldn't walk away with his pension & perks.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. Emperor Vadik, CA

    SAY IT AIN'T SO JOE!!!!!

    I like JoePa, the college football world will never be the same...

    November 9, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. dw

    The University must hold everyone accountable for what they have done. Period. Allowing people to retire who did not stop the illegal behavoir of a staff member, who did not report these crimes to the police, is beyond belief. All those poor children and their families. They were victimized and will continue to be victimized until everyone is held accountable under the law. And they are already saying how "they tried to teach these football players how to live their life appropriately and treat others with respect". Well, they should have shown the same respect and caring for these defenseless children and their families. To know about crimes like this and not report them to the authories and to turn their backs and allow this man to continue to prey on children is truly disgusting.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jay Jablonski

    The board of trustees should start at the top meaning the president of the university and fire until they have removed all the people from power who were involved in the cover up. Firing Paterno doesn't prove a thing, right now he and the assistant coach were the only ones who followed the protocall of any college or university. It's all on Penn State University officials at this point. Let's not forget that the Penn State University Police were also aware of the situation from 1998. Only the big guys at the very top can order the police to back off from on campus investigation.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Clayton

      Because this type of abuse is so heinous the investigation should immediately go to a third party to ensure that a proper investigation is made into all allegations.

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