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. bear

    So Joe wants us to pray for the victims. I have to wonder if he has been doing this for the past 12 years.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. John

    He should retire now and face charges for his inaction.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      Paterno was not a witness. He was given second-hand information. He did not commit any crime.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      How can he face charges for doing everything that the law requires?

      Morally, he should have done more (though if you read the actual grand jury report, he DID do more than popular opinion would have it) but legally, he did everything required of him.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      Ellen,
      You are an idiot. If you think he bears no responsibility for the continued abuse of children by Sandusky, you are sadly mistaken. You must not have children. If you do, I pray you would protect them more than it seems you do.

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

      I'm sure you'd think he did enough if this was your child.

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

      Kim – You are the idiot! You think that since he heard something one time about someone that he has known for 30 years and who hasn't worked for him for 3, reported it to the head of the Campus Police and the president of the school that it makes him responsible for a monster to have continued to abuse children?!?!? He did what he should have. You just want to go on the witch hunt!

      So when you have hears anything bad about anyone else secondhand, that means not witnessing it yourself!!! Like a guy who hit his wife or something you have ALWAYS called police!?!?! I doubt that!

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

      I am with Really. If I understand this correctly Paterno heard of ONE incident and caught the news second hand and that he gone to the police and raise a fuss? We can't fry such a great legend (and this coming from a very part time Michigan football fan) over the STUPIDITY of an underling. Now if it comes out that he had more knowledge of the situation and looked the other way then he should be in jail with Sandusky.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matty13

      This article states, "Two other Penn State officials have also been arrested and accused of failing to report the abuse." It should be three.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Actually, Ellen he did commit a crime- failing to report child abuse. Read the transcript

      November 10, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Skegeeace

    He should quit NOW along with EVERYBODY else who knew and did nothing.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. bigred

    Still a sad day for penn st joepa and everyone concerned with this sick issue

    November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Tony Hopp

      A sad day for Joe Paterno? Really? Has he been getting sodomized for the past 9 years because someone failed to call the police? Sorry, don't feel sad for Joe Paterno. In my opinion, he's a criminal. He should be fired immediately and charged with failing to report a crime.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      Tony Hopp, he did report the crime to the police. He immediately went to George Schultz, who was the head of the University Police. The University police had jurisdiction.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      Tony, he DID report the crime. The person he reported it to has been arrested.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      He did the bare minimum. If it had been his son, his grandson, his nephew, his damn dog, I bet he would have done more.

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

      But it wasnt his son, his grandson it was a random story he heard. He did his responsibility! People can be hypocritical when they commit moral crimes everyday.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • med06

      To Ellen – everyone knows that "university police" is ajoke...it's like the keystone copys. He needed to go to the "real" policy...even if the police found nothing, then at least JoPa did all he could

      November 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vic

    Sad way to end a great career, but sadder still that he did not call police.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      Well, he *did* report it to the man who oversees the Campus Cops, though not any of his underlings.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      What, was he supposed to call every officer in the force? He told the HEAD OF UNIVERSITY POLICE, who, by the way, had jurisdiction over this situation.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      He did not call the police...him contacting Schultz is like saying that by calling the mayor of Philadelphia you are calling the Philly PD...not true. The man is a liar and has no honor, and that is being proved by the fact he is not stepping down immediately and twisting the knife in the reputation of the school and program he says stands for honor and integrity. "JoePa?!", HA!, JoePedo supporter is more like it.

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

    NOOOOOOOOO IT HAS TO BE NOW!!!!!!!! HE THINKS HIS GOD!!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      And you don't think you are God, Dee? Be careful getting too self-righteous, someday it may come back to haunt you. It's a sad day for all because it didn't have to be this way.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Nice all caps, and it's "he is"...Moron

      November 9, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Kay, I'd rather be self-righteous on behalf of those kids and be wrong in your book, than keep appearances up like Joe.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Foolishness

    This was nothing more than a ridiculous witch hunt. So everybody blames Joe Pa, but noone looks twice at the Grad Asst who said something to Joe. Why didn't the assistant call the police? He actually WITNESSED the crime occurring. But NOOOOOOO, let's blame Joe Pa who didn't see anything, and was actually responsible enough to inform his higher ups about what the Grad Asst had seen. Bunch of yuppies making a lot of noise for nothing.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jonsie

      They are all to blame and everyone of the them should be punished. These were adults their duty and obligation is to protect children.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Glenn

    Joe Paterno reported the abuse to George Schultz IMMEDIATELY. Schultz was the head of the UNIVERSITY POLICE. In other words, JOE REPORTED THIS TO THE POLICE. Joe is being run out of the position over bullsh__ allegations that he somehow failed to report. Don't comment on the man's character if you don't know him. I happen to. Also, don't blame Mike McQueary. He reported it. Without his eyewitness testimony, Sandusky likely would not have been indicted.
    I hope Spanier gets crucified because I am positive he knew about this and helped cover it up.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Agreed. I think Penn St was looking for a reason to end Paterno's career. He told people about the one incident he heard about. At that point is it up to him to call the cops every day? What about the people that actually saw the incidents. Why didn't they call the cops on the spot?

      November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Max

      Don't blame McQuery??? This chicken crap left that child there. McQuery was a 22 year old man. He should have stopped it instead of running home to DADDY, who happens to be a friend of the monster.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • InTheMinority

      I agree completely...he was tried and convicted in the media. Nobody has 20/20 hindsight. We all would do things in our lives differently based on the things we now know. I am sad to hear he has announced his retirement. It is a shame.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      I also know Joe, or at least I did 20 years ago. He met his legal obligations, but not his moral ones. If this had been some random Duke coach or something, I wouldn't expect anything else. But I expected more from JoePa.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • me

      He's doesn't get off the hook just because he reported it "right away". As the abuse continues, he can just go about his business because, well, "I did my part"? BS.

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

      Glenn, you are clueless. The guy had a history of incidents, was on Paterno's staff for over 30 years and continued to be allowed to come to the University up until last week. You don't think one day, just one time, Joe might of asked, "Hey, what ever happened when I called the police about you showering with that kid?" His inaction and lack of questioning is pathetic.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ThomasHammer

    He shouldnt be allowed to retire, the school should kick him to the curb, What purpose is it that he coaches the 3 last games?? his rep is stained and he is not trustworthy

    November 9, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dan Tedesco

    Joe Paterno should retire now. An impeccable football record does not excuse him from his moral duty to stop chIld abuse. THERE IS NO EXCUSE.
    Dan T

    November 9, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      The grad assistant, the actual witness, did not stop the abuse he saw with his own eyes. Instead, he went to Paterno, who immediately reported it to the head of the University Police. The University Police had jurisdiction over this. Therefore, Paterno DID report this to the proper authorities.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • bob

      Why do people keep saying Joe Pa went to the police " Paterno, who immediately reported it to the head of the University Police". Every, and I mean every report I read says he went to the AD the NEXT DAY.. Not immediately and not to the head of University Police.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      He went to Curly and Schultz. Schultz was head of the University Police.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      In all fairness, Joe Paterno was told by the GA that there was "Horseplay in the shower," which he reported- the GA never said specifically what he saw... Joe reported what he was told second hand and did the right thing. Maybe the GA who failed to be specific to what he saw should be on trial... of course the Media is going to crucify Joe, he is the head of the program. Our legal system is not one that works on morals and ethics- it works on the LAW, Joe followed the LAW. Let's see how this unfolds before we throw everyone at PSU under the bus.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. D Check

    If he was complicit in a cover-up he should retire now!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dee

    He should quit NOW along with EVERYBODY else who knew and did nothing. IF PENN ACCEPTS THIS THEY SHOULD ALL BE FIRED......PENN STATE SHOULD FIRE HIM NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT FRIDAY!! NOW

    November 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      PSU is not Penn.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Good to see you again Dee...Another asinine post...You're batting 1000 today

      November 9, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    What about the people that physically saw the events. Did they follow up police? Why aren't they under the same scrutiny as Paterno? Paterno heard of it once and reported it to his bosses. One of those people was in charge of campus police. In my opinion they're going after Paterno a little too hard.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • A different Chris

      Yea right, Paterno should face charges in my opinion. He had knowledge of who the culprit was, and what he was doing... and he did nothing when the people above him covered the issue up. NOTHING. Penn State alumn should be calling for his head immediately.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      Why should he face charges?

      If you see something and report it to the chief of police, are you then legally liable for the police department's subsequent actions?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. IndyJim

    Board of Trustees needs to fire him now, not at the end of the season. Send a message. Do what is right.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. The Dude

    It is not over until Penn State is sued into Bankruptcy.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
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