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. MarkB

    Something like that is reported to you, you don't tell your boss, you tell the police. Unless you don't want an ugly story to go public and tarnish the program. What is more important protecting victims of child abuse or taking the easy way out?

    November 9, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. dixick

    Retire? Really? He should have been fired at the very least. This makes it sound as if he is leaving on his terms! To all the people who are supporting him, I say this. If one of these boys had been yours wouldn't you have wanted dear 'ol Joe to step up and notify authorities himself and follow-up until this Sandusky guy was hung from the highest tree? Wake up – these were totally innocent boys involved here. A truly sickening story and now it is all about dear 'ol Joe leaving...

    November 9, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rich J

    He was retiring at the end of the season anyways so where is the justification for his poor judgement. Come on NCAA he should be fired today. Jim Tressell was not given those options for a much lesser issue.

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

      NCAA has no juridiction here LOL

      November 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • ian

      Jurisdiction I mean, stupid wireless KB

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

      I do not think child abuse is not covered by NCCA. I do not think child abuse gave him advantage to win games. you know more about NCAA rules than I do. It is amazing how intelligent you are

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

      "Jim Tressell was not given those options for a much lesser issue."

      Jim Tressell failed to notify officials when he became aware of violations. Paterno's first step when he heard about (not witnessed, not participated) in this alleged assault was to immediately go to his bosses with the information. Tressell did his very best to conceal it. The same can't be said for Paterno, even if you can make the argument that he could or should have done more. Not the same.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • myket

      keep in mind everybody–Sandusky was not part of football program since 1999. This has nothing to do with the NCAA!! The NCAA investigates infractions of NCAA rules not civil and criminal cases, which is what we have here. Let the courts do their job, just as they have done to bring the charges against Mr. Sandusky. And, what about the Second Mile, who continued to provide contact to Jerry to enable him to victimize other young boys in their program, even when they knew about the allegations?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DisgustedFan

    And what about the graduate assistant/student who witnessed the act in 2002? I would hope that if I were to witness something like that I would respond IMMEDIATELY – like call 911 while intervening and beating the ever living crap out of the abuser. I would HOPE that I would have the courage to do that for the 10 yr old boy. No one stood up for him or any of the others. Shameful. Disgusting. Sad.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • PennState4Ever

      I agree! All of the blame is put on JoePa, what about the people who physically witnessed what happened?! As a current Penn State student, I can say it is a devastating day in Happy Valley.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • TooHip

      I agree, but the graduate assistant isn't Joe Paterno. He had little to lose by not reporting it to the police, and he did what Paterno did – report it to his superior. The graduate assistant risked losing his position (later the receivers coach for PSU today), but Paterno risked his entire legacy by not reporting it. How naive and selfish is that?

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

      Couldn't have said it better!!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Snap

      Totally agree. Everyone is out for Joe's blood, but he didn't see anything. How is he supposed to know if the assistant is lying or not? How come no one is calling for this assistant to step-down from whatever job he's doing? I think its because this is just a way for people who want Joe out to press for him to be out. Probably because they're afraid of facing him on the playing field.

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

      Snap, stop deflecting for Paterno. The graduate assistant, is a small time poslition of no influence. The 61 year career football coach of PSU is a MAJOR position of influence both at the university and in the NCAA. I agree the former graduate assistant is equally as culpable as Paterno, but Paterno had made his career, the grad assistant was just starting his, and wanted to protect his career. We don't fault him for that because he had plenty to lose. Paterno, had nothing to lose by reporting it to the police, because PSU wouldn't be upset with him embarassing the university, when he had done the opposite. Now Paterno will suffer more than the graduate assistant, turned reciever's coach.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • PR1958

      "but Paterno had made his career, the grad assistant was just starting his, and wanted to protect his career. We don't fault him for that because he had plenty to lose. Paterno, had nothing to lose by reporting it to the "

      So now you're giving reasons why someone can ignore their moral obligations, because their career is more important? The culpable person in this (After Sandusky of course) is the actual witness to the crime. I don't know how I would react to seeing what that person saw, but I would hope I'd have stepped in right then and there, grabbed that kid out of the shower and went immediately to the police, not the football coach. To give him a pass because he was just starting a carreer is ridiculous.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fubar2011

    FIRE PATERNO NOW!!! Don't let him go out with any glory, he does't deserve it.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kim

    Why on earth is he being allowed to retire on his own damn terms?? He should have been kicked out the door yesterday!! What a sad day for children everywhere.

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

      You are so right, Kim. It is such a sad day that we have to care what happens to dear 'ol Joe.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. C-dawg

    I love how everyone can immediately crucify the man because of this incident. He did what he was supposed to do. Could he have done more, probably, coudln't we all do more yeah. We are all such saints I'm sure all of you do the right thing every day. So many PSU haters.

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

      Exactly. he went to his bosses and reported what he knew, end of story. At that point it is their responsibility. I'm amazed at how stupid people are.

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

    Funny how much praise is heaped upon a football coach. This is no different than the church protecting its pederasts.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. @egdurd

    You say "hindsight is 20/20" trying to protect Joepop's ignorance. Most of us are saying hindsight is what these men are best at. Geit it? you moron

    November 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sara

    I am horrified and disgusted. Paterno should have gone to the police, held a press conference, done anything in his power to make the arrest happen. I would like to see Paterno see his kids and grand-kids molested in front of him by someone. See how he feels about that idea. Would he be furious? Yes. Then, why, when it is someone else's kid there is no urgency at all, and just forgets about it...sickening. He is a shameful, shameful man who allowed immense suffering to continue.

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

      He wasn't a witness to anything. I wouldn't go to the police just because someone in the office came up to me and said so-and-so was fondling a child in the break room.

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

      @Snap – You really wouldn't call the police if a co-worker said they saw someone molesting a child in the break room? Then you are just as low and pitiful as Paterno, the G.A., the A.D. and anyone else who knew about it. Sad, very sad. A disgraceful display of humanity usually reserved for the Catholic Church and politicians.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • TooHip

      Snap, we understand you're a PSU booster/Paterno-groupie, but face the reality – Paterno is complicit in this, not just for that incident, but for allowing Sandusky to continue his assault on young boys. How can Paterno and you sleep at night. You don't have to "witness" a crime to be held accountable for not reporting it. It's merely the "knowledge" of a crime. That's the way the law reads in Pennsylvania – check it out. Stop defending Paterno. His legacy will live, but now it's got a black mark because people like you and Paterno feel it's OK, if you just mention a crime to your boss, and your boss doesn't do anything, you're off the hook. Had Paterno just been a professor or a manager in a major company, he would be facing criminal charges. But because he's who he is in Pennsylvania, there just going to let him fade away.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dan

    I've greatly admired Joe over the years, but anything less than his immediate termination will further disgrace Penn State. Joe , do the right thing, take responsibility for your inaction.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Guest

    Everyone's always looking for a scapegoat. Here is one of the most revered leaders of the sport, a man of dignity and integrity, with a lifetime of proof to this effect. Comes with the job, I suppose to be have to take this @($*! from the public, but ultimately Paterno is only a scapegoat. Sandusky did the crime.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • dixick

      He didn't follow through...period.

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

      Not about his career, record, wins/losses, etc. NOT ABOUT FOOTBALL AT ALL. About being a decent HUMAN BEING. On that note, with regard to THIS situation, he failed miserably. That's it. He HAD the power to do something and he along with many others chose NOT TO. Unforgivable. It truly is unforgivable and he should recognize that fact while living with the guilt every second of every day.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • stumpy

      There are at least 9 boys/men that will have a life time of proof that Joe Pa was not the man we thought he was. I can't imagine having to deal with what those guys will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Joe got off easy.

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

      So you guys run to the police on every rumor and gossip you hear? Cause I heard that a 8 year-old was touched inappropriately on 5th street last week sometime. You heard the rumor now, you have to run to the cops and tell them what you heard.

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

      Snap, in your analogy, we don't know who you are or if your claim is credible. This was Paterno's own graduate assistant (now his receiver's coach) – we know Paterno believed in this grad assistant and would believe his story. We don't know you and therefore can't believe in your story. If we did, we'd be going to the police. You? You'd tell a friend or your boss, and then go wash your hands.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tj

    No you cant finish the season..............

    November 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joe must go

    So to clear this all up Joe ...Tell us when the picture of you and Jerry ( you know ..the one with your arm around him) Is that after 2002 ? If so... start packing ... Better yet.. We'll drop off the boxes at your house.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. SS

    This article says that, "Paterno expressed regret for not acting sooner..." Well, it does not appear that he "acted" at all, aside from telling those who would only see the "best interest" of the program. The fact that he maintained his relationship with Sandusky following the report makes an a strong and sad statement about the character of the man so many people adore. This is a tragic example of how people take the easy road instead of the RIGHT road. I don't think he should be allowed on the sidelines again! If it had been my son, he wouldn't have been there for a long time.

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