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. pete

    YOU PEOPLE BLAMING JOE NEED TO THINK. HE FOLLOWED THE MANDATED RULES FOR REPORTING!!!!!! IF YOU REPORT SOMETHING TO YOUR BOSS DO YOU THEN GO OVER YOUR BOSS'S HEAD TO MAKE SURE THERE IS FOLLOW THROUGH?????????

    November 9, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • CWSTEXAS

      GET REAL!!!!

      Paterno resigning at the end of the year is NOTHING. He was going to do that anyway.

      I wonder what would have been done had it been one of Joe’s grandkids in that shower? You can bet your last Nittany Lion things would have been handled differently. Paterno would have done more than just “report it to his superiors”.

      Don’t ALL children deserve the same consideration we would give our own during times like this?

      If we start using “policy and laws” as barometers for our moral obligations, we are in big trouble.

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

      Yes, you go above your boss if it involves a crime!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Troy

    He should be charged criminally for having knowledge of the events but not coming forward. These families should sue him and the University for not acting on this and thus leading to further hurt more children. They should all be charged with the same crime as the person who actually did it. They knew about it and did NOTHING! GUILTY by association! If three guys robbed a store and one killed the clerk, they would all be charged with the crime. Send them all to prison and let the prisoners feast on the child molesters!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. Andu

    I think Joe needs to retire now, in order to prepare for a vigorous defense. He is going to court he may not have been served yet but he is going to be sued. If the victim(s) do not line up to sue the school and the coaches I would be surprised. The only thing the victims have left is to get money......Joe, the school, and that coward graduate assistant cannot offer anything else, they abdicated the right to help years ago. That pedo Sandusky is going to use every dime he has to try and stay out of prison. I think he should be held for trial in the State prison shower.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. frankie b

    "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

    November 9, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • USMC88

      Your last statement is foolish. Can you support that with some facts/data?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. JoePaCSI

    Paterno did do what he could. He was NOT a witness. He had information that someone else told him. You cannot go to 911 with that...imagine the conversation:
    Hello, this is 911. Can I help you?
    Yes, this is JoePa. I would like to report something that somebody told me they saw.
    Can you tell us about it? What happened?
    Not exactly, I didn't see it. I can tell you what he told me, though.
    Who is "he"? Is he there? Can he come the phone?
    He is my Graduate Assistant, but he told me, then left. I reported this up to my superiors, but I felt I should do more.
    If you can't tell us what happened, we don't really have much to go on. If we can talk to your Graduate Assistant, we might be able to help. Can you ask him to call us?
    Sure, no problem. But, I can't guarantee he will call you.
    Sir, he will have to call us. 911 doesn't usually make outgoing calls to check on things. We are here for people to call in an emergency, though.

    Do you get my point? He was not a party to what happened. I can see where reporting up to superiors and having them handle it is all he could realistically do. On the other hand, I am sure it has haunted him over the years. There is no reason for him to quit or step down. The superiors who let Sandusky retire and keep his office and access to the showers????? Yes, they should be fired!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • CWSTEXAS

      He had a MORAL obligation than was far greater than school "policy".

      Paterno resigning at the end of the year is NOTHING. He was going to do that anyway.

      I wonder what would have been done had it been one of Joe’s grandkids in that shower? You can bet your last Nittany Lion things would have been handled differently. Paterno would have done more than just “report it to his superiors”.

      Don’t ALL children deserve the same consideration we would give our own during times like this?

      If we start using “policy and laws” as barometers for our moral obligations, we are in big trouble.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      You're right, he shouldn't quite or step down, he should be fired.

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

      You are 100% wrong. People call tips every single day to crimes based inuendo and hear say. It is the police departments job to sort that out. I also know for a fact if a child is involved more than just the police get involved. You can stuff your whole line of BS.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • DAVID IN FLORIDA

      Why hasn't anyone criticized the GA who witnessed it and did not immediately call the police?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • USMC88

      Your point is weak, because (1) he didn't have to call 911, he just had to alert the authorities and explain what he knew. It happens all the time and that's normally how investigations get started, and (2) this is not a matter of what was procedurally correct, but rather what was the morally right thing to do. JoPa failed on all accounts and is just as guilty as the other fools, masquerading as leaders!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Father

      So if that was your child, you would be happy with his actions. He should have driven to the station with the grad assitant, this is not about protocol it is about protecting children – NOT protecting an image/reputation. Ironically by trying to protect his image he has destroyed it. Everyone knows in Penn State is Paterno walked into a police station this would have been dealt with immediately. How many more kids were destroyed after he failed to act. He does not deserve to even announce he is retiring. He should be fired – yesterday. The fact that he has not speaks volume about the integrity of this administration. Not the school – it is an excellent school, but this administration continues to make bad decisions.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMC

      Joe Pa may have reported the incident to his superiors but his Morality is the problem. He knew what had occurred and he continued to allow Sandusky to be on the campus and near children. The hypocritical comment that he and his wife wanted to protect the children is extremely foolish. He should not be on the field Saturday! How do the fans cheer? Can you actually celebrate with a storied program that is in ruins?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • john1

      to CWS, JAY, AND USMC: Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with his not following through when he didn't get all the information. You can't be fired because of your morals if they don't break laws. Joe Patterno didn't break any laws, as a matter of fact he followed protocol by reporting "innappropriate behavior". That's it. So find a new scapegoat.

      November 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PSU Grad

    Sad day for Penn State. People are making comments and do not know this man or all of the facts of this case. The facts are Joe did report the incident to his superiors. The AG and PA State Police have stated Joe is not at fault. In any organization (or any workplace) you report the wrong doing through the chain of command. That is what Joe did. Sandusky was not a coach or an employee of Penn State at the time. He was retired. He however had access to Penn State Facilities. The criminal is Sandusky. Joe Paterno is a decent, caring man with high integrity. Stop smearing his reputation. His players loved him and said he was like a father to them. I hope he finishes the season and retires with the dignity and respect he deserves! Go Lions! WE ARE PENN STATE!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Sorry, you naive fool, but that shipped had sailed. Don't know if you have any kids, but if so and he/she happened to be the victim, I'm sure you'd be singing a different tune. The cops did NOT say that Old Man Paterno was not at fault, they very pointedly said he did what he was legally required to do–they let intelligent readers (present company obviously excluded) come to their own conclusion that he was morally bankrupt. Too bad you can't read between the lines. I hope nothing ever happens to you and your family that would require someone to call the police yet no one does. Grow up and find a worthy hero and stop reliving your glorious college days.

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

      chain of command my aunt sally. Everyone knows JoePa runs the show down there, the fact that he's STILL coaching is proof to that fact. If he'd really wanted to get to the bottom of the allegations in 2002, he'd have said so then and it would have happened.

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

      Amen.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MG

    Is it true that Sandusky was still working out at the Penn State campus facilities as recently as last week? I read that and I find it hard to believe...what were these people thinking???? I agree all of the Penn State higher ups should go...why isn't there more media coverage on the victims, Sandusky, Spanier....too much focus on Joe P.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff K

    He needs to retire now. He no longer dictates the terms of this issue or his career. He claims to be such a family man. How about someone comes to him and says they say his 10 year old grandchild in a shower with a 60 year old man. Do you think Joe just tells his boss and lets it go. This was a clear cover up.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Concerned 101

    Mr. Paterno has coached for 61 years. Multiply that by 365. For 22,265 days he made many decisions–most of them good decisions. The record is clear that he has spent 22,265 serving Penn State honorably. For him to be fed to the wolves for one mistake in judgment is just wrong. How can any of us stand up to that light? Do not forget that Mr. Sandusky is the devil in the dark. Don't lessen his crime, by making others (who had nothing directly to do with it) pay for it.

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

      Your theory is ridiculous. What if that one day he had decided to drive drunk and killed someone. Your entire premise is absurd!

      Paterno resigning at the end of the year is NOTHING. He was going to do that anyway.

      I wonder what would have been done had it been one of Joe’s grandkids in that shower? You can bet your last Nittany Lion things would have been handled differently. Paterno would have done more than just “report it to his superiors”.

      Don’t ALL children deserve the same consideration we would give our own during times like this?

      If we start using “policy and laws” as barometers for our moral obligations, we are in big trouble.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Father

      First off kind of ridiculous math but if you insist – every single day from the day he was made aware it has been a bad decision not to address this so you can flush the last 19 years. How many children continued to be hurt because of this, this abuse should have ended in 1992! You are kidding yourself if you don't think this monster continued this behavior after 1992.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. us1776

    What the matter with retiring TODAY?

    .

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

      I agree my only comment is you use the word "retiring." Paterno does not deserve to decide when he is leaving. FIRED TODAY is more appropriate.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • john1

      Father, fired for what? What CRIME did Joe PA commit? Honestly? He didn't know all the facts until this week, just like the rest of us. It's amazing that people are simply making Joe out to be a scapegoat. Let's not forget SANDUSKY, the man who actually COMMITTED the crime. All Joe did was report it up to higher. With the information of "inappropriate actions" why would HE feel the need to follow up, when his supervisors were notified. It's funny that all the people that DEMANDED Joe to get in there and investigate are the same people that complain about personal privacy when people get into others' business. Without knowing EXACTLY what had gone on, Joe had no reason to dig deeper. He did what he was supposed to, and is now being punished for being misinformed.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sad times

    I think more pepole need to read the statesments made to the grand jury, the actually witness to the 2002 incident did not tell Joe what he saw, he simply state,"inapproperiate horseplay." bWith that Joe reported to admin. Joe did not learn the details of "inapproperiate" horseplay until this week. The assistant choiach would witnessed the abuse is a coward and a punk for walking away from SEEING what was going on! He left a child being abused to quitley go tell someone instead of facing Sandusky in the locker at the time and saving a child!

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

      AMEN & AMEN! He should be charged along with the others.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • shanshiegirl

      It's interesting too that he's still a member of Paterno's coaching staff, and has since been promoted. What conversation happened between him and Joe to make that happen? Ruminate on that one.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bella

    He should be allowed to stay. His part in the fiasco was zero which is why he won't be charged. He was told that something had happened, but he didn't know the details or severity of the incident. I see no fault on his part except that he failed to get more details from the grad student and thereby fully understand the situation, but that's hindsight. He probably couldn't conceive that it was as bad as it was. I don't believe he ever knew the seriousness of the crime or he would have responded differently. He followed protocol by forwarding the complaint to the person in charge. I think he's getting caught in a dirty web he didn't create. The others yes, but not Paterno.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jay

    Even Paterno says he should have done more. He should have, plain and simple. Instead, a high school principal heard and actually called the police. The high school principal did the right thing, no one at Penn State did.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. nina

    Sick perverted coaches need to go to prison ...for a very very very very......loooooong .....time

    and all there money should be given to the children and families they hurt.....prison will love these penn pack of Turds!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • john1

      Ahh women. You can't think, you can't drive, and you obviously can't read. Coach Joe never hurt any child. So do us all a favor, go to the kitchen, and make me a sandwich.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cindy Smith

    I am truly surprised that he will be allowed to stay until the end. That's basically a slap on the wrist. This deserves more. He should have followed through.

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