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. PSUcourtney

    This is a very sad day for Penn State and Joe Paterno. The entire situation makes me sick. But I, like many others in the PSU community, feel very protective of Joe. I cant help but think that Joe was intentionally left out of critical information to "protect" his reputation and the accolades he brought to the school.
    We should not forget the victims in this case. We should not forget the real villain.
    This is a witch hunt for all the people that do not like Joe and have been calling for his retirement for 10 years.

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

      As an alum from another Big 10 school, I would argue for his coaching position any time before this incident came to light. Now I'm thoroughly disgusted by his lack of personal responsibility and I think he should be fired with shame for so significantly failing as a role model and leader. I don't appreciate you marginalizing this position by claiming that, "this is a witch hunt for all the people that do not like Joe."

      No, this is a witch hunt for someone who let a child molester stay active in his program.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. edvhou812

    Dude needs to step down now. I thought about this for three days before making up my mind, and it is clear that Paterno messed up in a bad way. There are also lots of questions why that grad assistant never went to the police, and is currently a member of the staff. It's very possible that he was scared into either choosing between doing the right thing or having a career in football.

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

    Why should a good man lose his job because he heard a nasty rumor about someone?

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

      Finally some common sense. how many people would be in jail for life if they didn't repot every piece of gossip ever to the cops?

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

      You are freaking nuts....nice oversimplification. He is losing his job because he was told by a graduate assistant, who was putting his assistant's position at risk in doing so, that an assistant was seen fondiling / touching a young boy in an inappropriate manner in the locker room, and then didn't do jack about it.

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

      Stop worshipping a man just because he won football games.

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

      heard a nasty rumor? First off, as it turns out, it's not a rumor. And second, to prove the point, let's do it in question form...someone comes to you and says, hey listen, I don't know what's going on, but I think someone that works for you may have just been raping a young boy, oh and on company grounds, oh and it just happened a few moments ago. Now I am not sure if anything went on, but I think you should look into this." And so in response to something like this, you wouldn't inquire into this? You would just say hey, boss, someone told me something about someone that works with us. Rumor? Really? You're a disgrace if you wouldn't follow up thoroughly with this. I hope you have no kids (for their sake) and I hope you do not surround yourself with any (again for their sake, you obviously won't look out for them, just as this old man didn't do).

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

      Hey Jay why didn't the graduate assistant do anything to stop it in action??? Hard to believe him if he himself didn't do anything to prevent it

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

      Way to bait. But I'll bite. It wasn't a rumor. It was reported to him as a serious eye witness claim. Anyone who knew should be fired.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • policedad

      In other words, football is so important to you that you're willing to overlook some child molestation.

      I think you took a few too many hits tot he head.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Sarah:

      First, I have no clue whether he did or did not. If he didn't, he absolutely should have. Now, a question for you, what in the heck does that have to do with Joe Paterno's inaction? Surely you are not suggesting that a graduate assistant and the head coach have the same level of administrative responsibility?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • PeteMD

      Did the grad assistant report the incident to police? NO! So, by same reasoning as most, grad assistant should be held as accountable, if not more, to report incident to the police, since he witnessed the act. The media has latched on to Paterno because of his name and status, that is all. Paterno reported the allegations to his superiors. Don't take this man out at the twilight of his career, just to sensationalize this story!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny-B-Good

      Did someone just really say WHY SHOULD HE LOSE HIS JOB? He witnessed at 10 year old being abused in the Pen State locker room and did nothing! He should be charged as well for not reporting it! This is the Catholic church all over again by turning a blind eye. Wake the F-up!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • concerned108

      He's not losing his job. He's choosing not to return. He reported it, then did nothing when his superiors didn't act on it quickly and potentially saw the suspected abuser in his facilities. It's an ethical issue that causes bad PR for the university. The President will be out next.

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

      And the head coach does not have the same responsibility as the athletic director.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adrian

      It is this type of thinking that is wrong with America. Rumors or not, the allegations are sooo hideous that he should have done more. I could care less whether or not he broke the law... he did not do what was right. And if you are okay with just doing the minimum amount to not get in trouble instead of doing what was RIGHT, you better check your moral compass. The reaction of the student body and dragging of the feet of the administration says alot about the moral grounds Penn State and its students stand on.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hmmm

      Right on Jay.

      I love how people who weren't even there talk about the whole ordeal like they know all of the details as though they were there. It truly exemplifies people's stupidity to take the bait of a news outlet when only one piece of the big picture is given to them.

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

      Hello people, sarcasm! I got it. And yes Paterno, McQueary, and all others involved need to be removed immediately.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Sarah:

      What on earth is your point? The athletic director should lose his job as well. What do you have now?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • ?

      Joe Paterno witnessed nothing. The grad student came to him with gossip. The grad student, who was supposed to go to the cops, should be strung up and sent to jail to rot, right? Right??!?
      It's not illegal to not report a crime.
      Cover up? The mad rantings of conspiracy theorists.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LNT

    This must have taken a toll on the entire Penn State community,for one person to have done this unholy act many will pay the price.

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

      LNT, The lack of action by the administration and the utterly ridiculous showing by the student body has also contributed to Penn State's suffering.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. rita raymond

    paterno should not be given hte option to resign-he should face the same forced "choice" that the ten year old had in the shower with his abuser-
    Paterno should go NOW and he should be punished for his complete moral bankruptcy ; I hope that Penn State is sued for the entire amount of its existing endowment.

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

      Agreed. The worshipping of this man is pitiful. For someone who claimed to live a life of integrity and honor he sure proved otherwise. He put his football program and the money ahead of the safety of children. What a sick egoist.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alex

    ironic that the story comes out the week after he breals the all time win record for a coach. Hmmmmm

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

      How is that ironic? It would be ironic if he had just won an award for reporting it to the police when he found out an assistant coach was molesting children.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      +1 on that. Shame on PSU.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SB

    I am tired of this retarded world. Female teacher abuses male kids, Male teachers abuse female kids, Male teachers abuse Male kids... what the ... is going on with people. When is this ....ng world going to end. It is right time to end. Over due. Great clean up is required. Not worth to live

    November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nellykhov

    Retire? He should be charged and thrown in jail.

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

      You're an idiot.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • chad

      What's it like to retarded?

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

    Can someone explain to me how the graduate assistant witnessed this in action and never took action against the abuser to stop it at that moment?!?

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

      He absolutely should have. However, if you're suggesting a failure by the graduate assistant somehow excuses Joe Paterno's inaction, you're nuts.

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

      Excellent observation...the coach only "heard" about it and did report it but the graduate student actually saw it and did nothing - maybe the grad student should be charged.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 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 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbob

      Nope. They are blind with idolatry and worship.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Catholic Priest

    What's the big deal?

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

      Sick perverts. All of you.

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

      I think your funny 🙂

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

    Pope Benedict covered up 100s of Pedophile Priests (per court records). Yet Bush and Condi Rice gave him Head of State IMMUNITY! Where was all the Corporate WALL STREET Media outrage then?

    If Pope Benedict can keep his job while doing a million times worse, why can't Paterno keep his job? Please answer this question Corporate Media!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Stepdown Now

    He MUST leave now! There are NO reasons for him to stay until the end of the year. NONE. Shame on everyone involved!!! What little dignity the victims have left has now been thrown out the window – for the Univ to allow anyone to stay around after this news broke. Such a disgrace!!!!!

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

      Let me guess. You were fingered as a child. Only that could explain blind and ignorant rage.

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

    Finally some good judgement by Joey.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joann

    Retire? Fire this sick b@stard, NOW! Give Penn State the NCAA Death Penalty. This football program should never play another game AGAIN!

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

      That makes a lot of sense. For ignorant commenting you should never be allowed on the internet again. Sound like a fair deal?

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