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. Mr. Me

    Well, at least He'll go out with a bang. (Or rather, over 10 or 12 of them.)

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

      You are stupid. If you actually READ the article, you'd see that Joe Paterno never assaulted anyone. Get your facts right.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Not Happy with Joe Paedophile protector

    Paterno should have insisted the grad student call the police immediately upon hearing the report.

    He must immediately resign, but if unwilling, be fired.

    Will anyone be willing to cheer for him at the next game?

    November 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Me

      I sure as he1l am. You don't live here at PSU. You have no clue what this has done to the community.

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

      I have an idea to what he let happent o a few young boys in the community.....

      November 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pete

    MICHAEL JACKSON MOLESTED HOW MANY KIDS AND NOTHING HAPPENED??????????

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

      Because the boys only complained after MJ dumped them for someone younger. The parents were paid in Rolls Royces and sold their kids to him. It's a different situation.

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

      Then he got his own kids, god only knows what happened.

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

      Paterno knew and did nothing. He deserves jail time.......get him out of sports....and the rest of those spineless bums that allowed kids to be molested....if they knew, they are guilty.

      Paterno really sucks for his behavior. A real loser.....

      November 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • DAVID IN FLORIDA

      Dd you witness Jackson molest a child. No. Then shut up.

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

      pete you are a jerk. MJ & Paterno are both guilty.........

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

      Bob,

      Actually, a REAL WINNER!! The winningest football coach in major college football. He isn't paid to investigate, he's paid to win football games! He's a winner by definition!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Anon Reader

    He should be fired with shame, not allowed to retire. He knew about boys being molested, and he did nothing more than the letter of his job description. Anyone who knows JoPa's influence at Penn State knows he had the power to influence an investigation or even go to authorities. He did neither of those and instead sacrificed justice for the victims for the sake of football. That's disgusting and his supporters should be ashamed.

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

      agree

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

      disagree. JoPa should be allowed to go out on his own terms. He has earned that despite this incident, in which he acted within the law, I might add.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      I agree with you 100%

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

      And you happen to have a prove that he knew for sure? Because otherwise I don't give a flying fk about your opinion.
      In 2002 he addressed the issue after first HINT of trouble – that is only fact involving him directly.

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

      Actually, he admitted to knowing about the shower incident during his testimony, so I don't know what your point is, CommonSense.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob C

      agree..........and charged with aiding and abetting

      November 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I am not a Penn State fan, nor much of a college football fan. So I have no dog in the fight. But I think thet many are expressing a knee jerk reaction prior to knowing all the facts. There is no doubt that this Sandusky fellow is a pedophile. His acts are disgusting. As for Paterno, I think we need to know more:

      1) Paterno did, indeed, have the power to do just about anything he wanted at Penn State. So why not just completely squash the incident?
      2) Universities have a set of protocols in place, especially when it comes to law enforcement. By dismissing such protocols, Paterno may have been opening himself up to get fired. It is well known that the Trustees have wanted to get rid of him for over a decade, but could never quite get it done. Breaking one's contract would certainly do the job.

      If it becomes clear that Paterno did know precisely what kind of abuse occurred, or that he knew of other incidents, or if he overtly tried to sway the investigation, then we are free to criticize and demonize. But knee jerk decisions are rarely prudent decisions.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cam007

    Everyone who knew this was happening and did nothing are just as guilty. "from janitors to the athletic director and the vice president for business and finance, a series of individuals placed their own selfish interests above the interests of helpless children. They enabled a monster." I agree.

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

      Right... Is this a smell of lawsuit to get some money?
      Is that why suddenly everybody guilty?!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Frank

    Just to set the tone, I'm an alum (2 degrees) and have actually had casual conversations with Coach Paterno while walking on campus. (Just once or twice, but I treasure the memory and it has always made a good story). His resignation is the first honorable thing that has come out of this story. Personally, I don't care if PSU has to sell every hard asset they have to provide compensation for the victims and the families. Blow it up. Start it over.

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

      "His resignation is the first honorable thing that has come out of this story." : I agree. Will no one else admit their wrongs?

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

    Can Joe Paterno look the boy (that he saw in the shower) in the eye and explain why he didn't call the police?

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

      Michelle, You got the story all wrong. Read the article.

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

      This is an example of the ignorance I am talking about. Paterno saw NOTHING. A grad student reportedly did, he reported it to Paterno, and Paterno reported it to the University as he is required by law to do. If you don't like the law...then work to change it.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat22323

      JoePa didn't see the boy in the shower – FYI. He heard about it second hand.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Winston846

      Paterno never witnessed any assaults personally. A graduate assistant (reported to be Mike McQueary) did.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justice

      PaJoe did not witness the abuse. He was told that someone eles did and reported what he heard.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • whataworld88

      No, but mostly because he never actually witnessed any of that happening. The grad student must be the one you are talking about.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bella

      Let's get the facts straight.... Paterno never saw a boy being attacked in a shower. A grad student saw it. The grad student and his father weht to Peterno, but didn't tell him the whole story so he didn't realize the seriousness. Yes, he should have done more, but I don't believe for a minute he understood everything that had happened and how bad it really was.

      The grad student should be jailed for not confronting Sadusky immediately and getting the child out of there. Then he should have called 911 from the locker room. I simply can't believe anyone would walk away from something that sick and leave a defenseless kid alone to be attacked.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      I cried a little.
      Well, than I stopped crying and remembered that Joe didn't see any boy himself.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Friend of Jo Pa

      Maybe you should understand the facts first. Jo Pa did not see anything. It was reported to him and he reported it to his boss. If you are going to make statements, then make them accurate!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest_J

      Joe didn't see any little boy in the shower. He was told by someone else that this happened. The irresponsible thing would have been if Joe had said I know this guy and this is a dirty rumor and I am not going to do anything about it. But he did not do that. He went to his superiors and he reported what was alledged by another. The person who actually witnessed it did not even try to stop the abuse from happening. He actually watched it happening right in front of him ( a 29 year old man) and he could have gone to the police, but all he did was report it to Joe... and yet everyone is ready to crusify Joe, who was not a witness, but heard the information second hand.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    No Joe, you want to make it easy on yourself, you deserve to be fired end of story.

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

      "You deserved to be fired" – bold words for somebody sitting on the other side of internet.
      Guy is a legend, who also happen to have NOTHING with this terrible story. Now all his legacy is in question because he was missinformed. Very fair...

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

    Your all a bunch of idiots for putting blame on joe pa. the ones that deserves the blame are the people above joe who hid this and didnt go to authorities, it isnt joes job to take care of such matters. he did what he was suppose to do. joe pa is the scapegoat and its unfair to him to take any blame for any wrongdoing. what is really screwed up is why didnt the guy who WITNESSED the abuse go DIRECTLY TO POLICE. since he was the one who witnessed it he should receive most or all of the blame for not reporting it immediately to authorities. also with one of the victims mother who actually found out it happened days after it occurred and somehow it all got swept under the rug. sounds like a cover up by the president and vp of the university NOT JOE PA!! get your facts right all you numb nuts who throw blame at the wrong people and ask them to take the blame for something they didnt have any involvement in. its the people like you that are going to destroy this world. you should be ashamed to call yourselves americans. go dig yourself a grave and kill yourself in it as the world would be a better place WITHOUT you!

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

      Joe Blo covered it up because all Pedophiles cover up and help each other. perverts!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon Reader

      "it isnt joes job to take care of such matters"

      It's everyone's job to take care of such matters–and doubly so if you happen to be the figurehead for the university. How can you say JoPa shouldn't take it upon himself to end molestation? That's an absolutely sick abandonment of personal responsibility. Paterno was supposed to be a role model for kids, and instead he shows them that he doesn't care if they get screwed by his buddies.

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

      Your blatant stupidity and lack of comprehension are evident in this horrible ungrammatical rant. Maybe you should return to grammar school to learn the rules of writing that you obviously failed to grasp the first time. Only an idiot would defend a creep like Paterno, which you so obviously are.

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

      There was no person with higher authority on campus than Joe Paterno. Common knowledge. He would have looked like a hero had he MADE CERTAIN that this was taken care of the hour he was first informed. Why didn't he follow up the next week, the next month, the next year? Pathetic.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • CommonSense

      I agree with you.
      Most of people who burn Joe now – are simply internet miggets, who never did anything worth remembering in their lifes.
      Joe Pa was NOT informed. And when he got a HINT – he did a right thing.
      All these boys, all these parents... I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THEY DIDN'T KNOW or DIDN'T COMPLAIN. I call bs on this story.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. SoWrong

    Joe followed the University's protocal and reported up what he knew. It wasn't his place or responsibility to go to the police. Shame that this great coach, humanitarian and Penn State itself are subjected to disgrace due to the actions of one very sick man.

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

      "Shame that this great coach, humanitarian and Penn State itself are subjected to disgrace due to the actions of one very sick man."

      One man? It seems like this whole coverup involved a lot more than a single person.

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

      He followed university protocol? Really? The only protocol that needed to be followed here was human dignity.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ADAM

    Nittony Lion – if you have kids, try telling them your story about the "great coach". shamefull and embarrassing parent

    November 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Guest_J

    Joe reported the incident to his superiors. I am sure he had faith that his superiors would investigate and follow through if the situation merited. These are serious allegations and he let his superiors know what was relayed to him (not what he personally witnessed).

    As an HR manager we require that employees report any incident to their manager. We then investigate and ask parties involved to try to understand the situation. If it merits we move forward.

    Joe did what he was supposed to. In hindsight given the extensive charges that have been filed against Sandusky of course he wishes he had done more, but at the time I am sure he thought he was doing the right thing in following the chain of command.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tip

      Hey, Nazis "followed the chain of command" during the Third Reich too . . . and that was THEIR excuse when they were accused.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest_J

      Tip... wow you must be a right wing nut job.... always comparing people to Nazi's and going to extremes... go get your lynch mob ready to hang Joe...

      November 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Badger Fan

    It is a very sad day to see such a great figure be forced out of his job. He did what he was supposed to do, he can't help it if it didn't go anywhere once he had informed his supervisor. I am a diehard Badger Fan but I hope that Penn State wins out this season so Joe can go out on top!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      He did NOT do what he was supposed to do.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anonymous

    I have read a lot of judgement regarding this case, but not a lot of facts. People please consider what you would do before posting a response to an article, especially where the news is probably not accurately reported and the facts have not been clarified for the entire world.

    Joe did what he was supposed to do as far as the laws in this case. He is in a no win situation here and should not be tried in the eyes of people. He had no idea to the merit of the claims against Jerry Sandusky, he did not witness this act himself, and so he followed what he was supposed to do, which is report it. In these types of cases, it is very often hard to know who the real victim is, very hard to tell the difference between a false and accurate claim, which is what the police are here for. The University and its officials overseeing the reports should be held responsible for not following up on this report and making sure it was reported to the proper authorities to be investigated fully.

    The real person everyone should be disgusted with is Jerry Sandusky if all these claims come out to be true, which at this point seems very likely given the number of victims. Please remember he is the person who needs to be tried.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jon

    How can Paterno suddenly be sad and shocked by this? Hasn't he or wasn't he sad and shocked for the past 9 years?
    These people are educators, or so they say. What kind of educators would sweep this under the rug, keep quiet about it all these years, and let it happen to more victims? How can he take the sideline on Saturday vs. Nebraska? He should resign immediately, as well as the president of Penn State – and all who knew about even the possibilities of what this man did or could continue to do. Really, this sadly reminds me of the Catholic church and even our own government.

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