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. SR

    hope you enjoyed all those wins, Joe. you sold your soul and the lives of others to get them. worst of humanity. you failed your test here in earth. real record: 0-1

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

      Harsh! but so is reality, and this is exactly what Paterno did. He made his bed, and it wasn't alike a instant moment in passion, like Woody Hayes or Bobby Knight did. He had 9 years to think about this decision and rectify it. If he had come forward even a year ago, and told the press and authorities what happend 8 years ago, he'd be forgiven. Instead we had to find out how he failed the university and all these young boys Sandusky assaulted after the incident.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Really

    Paterno met his obligations of reporting an incident that may or may not have occurred since he didn't witness it himself! He had a graduate student tell him about it, reported it to his superiors who said they would investigate the allegations. And people are angry that he didn't do more? If it turned out the allegations were false and Joe dragged the guy publicly through the mud then the mob would be demanding his resignation for slandering and jumping to conclusions! The guy didn't work for Joe directly for 3 years. He had access to a building that was granted to him by the University management not Joe! Give me a break people!

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

      Stop trying to make up mythical excuses to protect him. There was only ONE correct response. Immediately stop the assault and call 911. He failed. What's even worse is that he continued to work with that slime and allowed the actions to continue for years. Joe Pa, the Grad Ass't, the A.D. and anyone else who knew should fry alongside Sandusky.

      Nobody said he should drag the guy through the mud or slander him. THE GA WITNESSED IT! That's not slander. Call the police. What the police do with the report is not his responsibility.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • TooHip

      Just more cover up at PSU! The graduate assistant worked for someone, and if he ended up the reciever's coach for Paterno, who do you think he worked for? Why did he go to Paterno, if he didn't work for Paterno? This "incident" was an "inappropriate touching" as some might suspect and something questionable and handled at a local level. This was pure adult sodomy on a 10 year old child. This is not even questionable if it's appropriate or excuseable. Calling the police is the first reaction, 99% of us would do immediately if we witnessed, or a subordinate came and reported to us. But when you have your career, your legacy, and your belove insistution (be it the university or the Catholic church) to protect – I guess some feel it's OK to excuse the knowledge of such a heinous crime.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Davis

    Coach Paterno was out of touch with reality in 2002 when he helped cover up the Sandusky mess, and he is sadly still out of touch with reality today. If the Board of Trustees had a spine, they would get rid of him today.

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

      They won't....he may be their only source of donations for the foreseeable future.

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

      Jeff- I completely agree with you! What good does letting him finish out the year do but give them time to find a replacement so that their precious team isn't impacted. Get a SPINE – Penn State and step up!

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

      So true – fire him today

      November 9, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Balanced view

      What have you been reading? Where did you read that he intentially covered this up? Try sticking with some facts.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Davis

      >>Where did you read that he intentially covered this up? -Balanced View, I submit that Coach Paterno covered up the Sandusky affair by his inactions – he waited 24 hours to report to Curley what his graduate assistant told him, then did nothing else. That's cover-up by inaction in my book.

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

      What a lynch mob you all are. JoePa is one of the most moral beings on the planet. He has more class than any coach in college sports...period. If you knew him, you would know that. Get a life...maybe you all should retire immediately from passing judgment on people you don't know and from commenting on news you know nothing about.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • ADAM

      What a sad story – if this would have been football related, let's say a coach abused a player, Paterno would have fired him. Children get molested and the coach "informs his superior". shamefull management at Penn State.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • TooHip

      Dear Nittany Lion, your faith and loyalty is evident. So was that of those regarding the Catholic priests and their coverup. Look what that cost the church! Now it's going to cost your beloved university and it's football legacy. This what happens when your faith is so blind and unfallible. Had your beloved Joe done the right thing, the simple thing and followed up with the police when the AD and VP failed to investigate, you'd still be singing the PSU fight song and enjoying your beloved 84-year old coach for a few more years. But instead, it's that river in Egypt, and now your beloved university and "say it isn't so, Joe" coach will suffer for this blind faith and cover up.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • TooHip

      You don't think the Indiana or Ohio State Board of Trustees had difficulty firing Bobby Knight or Woody Hayes of equal coaching legacy? They did so because they knew they had to do the right thing. Neither of these coaches was old enough to "retire at the end of the season" to let the Board off the hook as Paterno is doing, throwing them this bone. Do they really believe Paterno is contributing to the now football program at 84 years old other than being a figurehead? Time to save the reputation of the university and demand Paterno step down now and spare the university and the football program more shame.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Daddy2010

    "At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status". Yes, the should! They should fire you.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. PennState Alum

    Just like the media and ignorant people across America to fuel this fire. Most people wouldn't know Sandusky, Spanier, Curley or Schultz if they were standing right next to them. JoePa is an icon, a celebrity, he is the easiest and most recognizable target. Even though you are celebrity status doesnt make you the "most powerful man" or "The King" in Happy Valley. The media created this preception that he is above everyone else and can bypass the system. PSU is just like any other corporation. You have processes and protocols that have to be followed. This was a huge systematic breakdown at the upper levels of the administration. For all we know JoePa did follow-up and he was told its being handled. Just like the PSU players they trusting their coach...Joe probably trusted his superiors were doing the right thing. The focus has completely shifted from those that committed the crime and covered it up. Why was the 1998 abuse never followed up by police? Why didn't Curley, Schultz and Spanier launch an investigation? Why didnt McQuearie follow-up, he is a coach now right? Why didn't the original DA take action sooner? Now a Legend is stepping down because the public needs to crucify someone immediately. They need a sacrifice to make them feel better. Joe is doing an honorable thing while others are in hiding and talking to their lawyers. Paterno will forever be Penn State and did great thigns no matter what the non-Penn Staters say.

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

      The original DA is missing and declared now dead.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedFan

      I'm sorry. Processes and protocols?? Are you serious? Please explain the protocol for finding one of your staffers raping a ten yr old boy in a shower? Is that "process" in the PSU employee handbook? Under what section? There comes a time in every person's life when they must do what's RIGHT, regardless of process, protocol, rules, etc.

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

      >>Why didnt McQuearie follow-up, he is a coach now right? << He was probably offered a job for life deal if he kept his mouth shut. He knew full well who the adult was in that shower. McQuearie should be fired too.

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

      We are not Paterno or PSU haters. We are Pedophile haters and that hate spreads to people (whoever they are) who allow, due to their blatant inaction based on what they know or were told by an eyewitness, to do the most basic moral duty. Especially when they are in a powerful position of trust.

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

      Amen, Penn State Alum!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • TooHip

      ... more denial from those who worship at the churchof collegiate football! Just like those who tried to blame the victims of the abuse by priests, now we have those who want to blame everyone but those in the know. Paterno knew as much as the AD, the VP, and the grad assistant. Why aren't you asking why Paterno "continued to do nothing" when no investigation was conducted. Even if he was "told" that "it's being handled" – wouldn't a prudent person expect the sodomization of a 10 year old child in the unversity's football facility to dealt with more than "handled internally." What! Did Paterno think Sandusky was "reprimanded?" Sandusky continued to use the football facililities AFTER this incident was reported – where's Paterno's curiousity here? Paterno's legacy and hero-worship has absoloutely nothing to do with his complicity in this matter. It only smears his legacy, yet there are those who worship at the alter of college football or Papa Joe, and continue ot live in denial. You can keep your altar of Joe and PSU, but you can't change the facts, the reality, and the reaction of those of the "unfaithful" who look at Paterno as just another football coach, caught up in the religion of collegiate football.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Linda

    I'm tired of hearing/reading everyone vilifying Joe Paterno for his actions. He acted according to protocol. He could not go to the police because the police cannot investigate something based on hearsay. Since Joe Paterno did not witness the act in question he could not testify to it. My question is, if the graduate assistant was so concerned, why did he not contact the police himself. In the business world, we follow protocols and like it or not, Joe followed his.

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

      Ummm, yes, police can investigate a crime based on an allegation (hearsay).

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

      "police cannot investigate something based on hearsay"

      I think you're a little confused there. Police almost exclusively investigate based on hearsay. Evidence in court is a different matter, but this absolutely should have been reported and any competent police department would have followed up on it immediately.

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

      That’s not true. If you believe a crime has been committed, the protocol is to go to the appropriate authorities. The university administration is NOT the appropriate authorities.

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

      I’ll give you another example. I’m a Cub Scout leader. In our Youth Protection training, we are told that if we even suspect that a child is being abused at home, we need to report it to the appropriate authorities – either child protective services or the police. Because it is better to be safe and hurt some feelings, than to say nothing and have drastic harm come to a child. We don’t need to have any evidence. But Paterno had more than just a hunch. He had a grad student tell him what had happened. As soon as that grad student said that Sudowsky was caught showering with a child, the alarms should have gone off and the police should have been contacted. It’s that simple. So, fine…Paterno did nothing technically wrong in the eyes of the law. But his actions or inactions caused great harm to come to every kid who was fondled AFTER the incident Paterno had knowledge of, so from a civil perspective he is going to be destroyed by these families. He stuck his head in the sand because he didn’t want to deal with it. Well, NOW he has to deal with it. There is already compelling evidence that this icon of college football was part of a cover-up to protect a rampant pedophile in their midst. And the full details have not even emerged yet.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Stewie

      When this story first broke and if the media had used the terms PERSON A for Joe Paterno, and PERSON B etc. I would feel the same way about PERSON A as I do about Paterno. I wonder if the Paterno supporters would?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The Dude

    Football should be removed from all schools. Universities should focus on Education. If you cannot get into a college with your intellect, you should not be there. Making sports the focus is what makes our country lag behind the rest of the world.

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

      Stop making so much sense! We all know higher education is about sports and sports enterainment. Academics are secondary! Sports is the new evangelical religion in this country. We have a different set of values for sports figures and icons, then we do for regular people. The same that the Catholic Church did for it's pedophile priests.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lewis

    Thank you for trying to provide a balanced view of the situation vs others who want to start judging someone without having all the facts. Watching the pile on affect is both disturbing and disappointing. Let's try to hold off on all the inflammatory comments until more facts come out. My thoughts and prayers are with the affected children and their families. Joe Paterno has done a great deal for Penn State and believed he was doing the right thing at the time and following university procedures - "kicking him to the curb" here is ridiculous. The fact that some people here think they are in a position to be judge and jury is insane. What mirror are they looking in in the morning?

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

      This is more of the "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" response. If you can't create diversion, like "what about the grad assistant!" – "he did everything he was supposed to" – "they're just picking on Papa Joe!" – then act like your sympathetic towards the crime and the victims, then mention Paterno is innocent, because he never got the opportunity to lie to a grand jury, he just kept his mouth shut for 9 years. Worship of the faithful, is undeniable, just like absolute power corrupts, absolutely!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PhilG.

    The kids that were molested deserve our support and sympathy.

    Not the people who stood by and let Sandusky attack those kids for over a decade.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Andrea

    With all of this hanging over the school, he did the right thing

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

      He needs to leave now. Not in a year.

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

    End of the season? Unbelievable. You stay classy, Penn State.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. Troy

    When you are part of the need to be FIRED! He has condoned all types of bad behavior dating back decades; probably should look at his sons too!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. CommonCents

    Sad sad day to be a Penn State alumni.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. joey.s

    Guy looks like a walking retard.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. randy

    Good riddens he was way out of touch with realilty by now. Too old

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