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. PSU Mike

    I'm a PSU alumn and I like many others are devestated by what happened. I'm beyond mad. Most of all I'm hurt. As with many Penn Staters my main concern is for the children affected. As a member of student government and as a student at large we were constantly reminded that "we were Penn State " and always held to a hire standard. So when I see how the same people who preached this to me are the ones to blame, I can only hope that they get what they deserve.

    That said, I think those who are not Penn State should hold their opinions about Joe. I agree he should have done more but he has admitted so and is going to retire. However what he has done for PSU and it's students can never be surpassed. It was never about only football with him. More than anything he wanted students to be the best they could be. In fairness to his players and those connected with PSU everywhere he should be aloud to finish the season. His finishing the season is not going to change anything that has already happened.

    The real criminals here are Sandusky (should not even be considered a human being), Curley, and Spanier. Curley has been all about $ signs since he arrived at PSU and to hell with the well being of anyone who gets in the way of the almighty dollar. My hope is that we can "clean house" and start anew. This goes beyond restoring PSU football. It's about restoring faith in the univiersity and its' leaders.

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

      I agree completely. JoePa absolutely could have done more, but hindsight is 20/20. Spanier and Curley were much more informed of the allegations and did much less, i.e. nothing. Those 2 should absolutely be held accountable. However, JoePa is merely guilty of a mistake that had terrible consequences.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GMan

    Mr. Paterno has done the right thing by announcing his retirement. I truly believe that he means what he says that in hindsight he wishes he would have done more. He however is not the victim here, the victims are all the innocent little boys that were injured at Sandusky's hands. All of those little boys who trusted in the "coach" and who were thrilled to have the opportunities that he was all so willing to shower them with. We as a society need to trust our instincts and do the right thing no matter what relationship we have with the wrongdoer - Sandusky should have been reported. The reputation of the college would have survived. He should not have been allowed onto the Penn State campus after the 1st incident was reported. It is so sad for all but the worst tragedy in all of this lies with those little boys. My thoughts & prayers to all of those effected and their families. I hope that this coming to light will bring them the amount of closure they need.

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

    Paterno should resign immediately and the team should be suspended from playing following the end of the season for a 3 year period.

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

      And you should dig a hole, crawl in and wait for the dirt to fly in behind you.

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

      WINNING!!!!!..........isn't everything.

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

      @JinChi

      Are the drugs you are on available over the counter,by prescription or is this something you bought on the street?

      thanks

      November 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • PATERNO AND SPANIER MUST GO

      JinChi: You are correct.
      John: Check your own moral compass.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sibmnyc

      This has nothing to do with the team. I agree with the moral culpability of Joe Pa, but at the end of the day, the students and the team have nothing to do with this.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • RTfromIL

      Why would you punish the current players by not allowing them to play for the next three years?

      Their entire football program might need to be closed down AFTER they successfully transferred out all the students dependent on that program.

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

      Why should the current players be punished for this? They have absolutely nothing to do with this man and have worked hard to be where they are now.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • med06

      this has nothing to do with the actual team, they should not be penalized

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

      Why's that Jinchi?

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

      Why would a football team not play for 3 years that had nothing to do with this and most were in high school when this went down?? What are you talking about Jin. You have brain problems?

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

      Jinchi – really? A bunch of players who were about 8 when this all went down should have to lose the next three years of playing football? Why are the current players culpable in any way? Joe Pa has done the honorable thing and stepped down. Why isn't your scorn and abuse directed at the perpetrator – you know, the sick piece of s**t that molested the kids?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Ridiculous. What did the team do to deserve punishment? The blame falls on those involved, not the rest of the team or students of the University.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Why should the football team be punished? They did nothing. These kids were still in grade school when this took place. Maybe you should be punished too. After all, you're a human, and according to you, everyone should be punished. RIGHT???

      November 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob C

      throw out the coaches and anyone else involved.....but the students don't deserve to be punished.

      I'd agree to lock them out if they don't throw Paterno out immediatly.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony V

      While I agree that Paterno should resign immediately, I see no reason to punish the young men on the PSU football team. Those players had absolutely nothing to do with anything that happened and should not be made to pay for the sins of others. Come to think of it, they probably already will pay, seeing how PSU's reputation has been utterly destroyed. What a shame this whole thing is.

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

      Pat,
      That's correct, it's the only thing!!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Molly Brown

    Today JoePa is 84 years old and Jerry Sandusky is 67. At the time of his retirement in 1999, Sandusky was 55, at the typical age to become head coach of a Division 1 team. Yet, he was not chosen and retired under the guise of wanting to do more charity work for his Second Mile program. His "retirement" happened within a year of the 1998 shower incident. In the Grand Jury Indictment, Sandusky confessed to taking a shower with her son, lathering him up, and pressing against his naked buttocks. All of which Sandusky apologized to the mother and wished himself dead. These facts were known by the real police department and Penn State officials. Therefore, It makes logically thinking people believe a coverup occurred as not to tarnish Penn State's football reputation. Horrifically sad and cruel to place a sports program above the lives of innocent children. Disgusting pigs, all of them involved in the coverup!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • fubar2011

      Paterno knew in 1998 what was going on and never did anything. He needs to be FIRED NOW.

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

      The thing is no one knows but the ones involved directly and maybe the guy who whitnessed it but it could all be lies. How come you think you know more then the rest of us?? Did you see it happen were you there do you know something we dont?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rich

    I am an alumnus, grad 1989. Joe has been the most powerful man at the college, and one of the most powerful in the state. Anything he orders from on high will happen. Joe has done wonderful things for PSU, and not just for the football team. He was one of the few men I saw as beyond reproach. My opinion has been shattered. He did all that was legally require and washed his hands of the whole thing. All he had to go was go to the police with McQueary, and McQueary would have if Joe Paterno said to (he should've done that anyway). This was a failure that went from a grad student all the way up through the president. Evil flourishes when good men do nothing, and many of them did. As an alumnus, I am embarrassed, humiliated, and disgusted. Paterno needs to be removed, and he needs to go yesterday. Same with McQueary and the president. They did not committ these heinous crimes, but they set the stage for them to continue. It will be a long time before I'll be proud to be from PSU again.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • jayjay0

      He was covering for his long time friend of 31 years.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • PATERNO AND SPANIER MUST GO

      Matt...you are the one that sounds uneducated. Check your own moral compass. It must be way off.

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

      The thing that bothers me the most..JoePa has stated he never talked to Sandusky about the incident..Here's a man he decades on the sideline with and upon hearing of this never mentions it???? I dont believe him and as one of his biggest fans (or used to be) he seems to put himself first and the victims last!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. matt

    NEWFLASH idiots...in the U.S., you can't be sent to jail if you didn't commit a crime!! All of this "JoPa should go to jail" or "JoPa is guilty also" makes all of you sound uneducated. Learn the law before commenting! Go PSU, beat Nebraska!!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • It is sad

      Newsflash! It is illegal to cover up a crime and protect those who commit crimes. You are sounding ignorant now. Go Big Red beat PSU

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

      Typical. Football is what's most important here, right? Certainly more important than shattered lives of boys....

      November 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • med06

      we are not saying that JOPA should go to jail...but he along with the others need to know that if they acted differently a lot of other boys would not have been molested

      November 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jmont

      You are a tool. Who is writing about these guys committing crimes? They covered up for the sake of the school's reputation. It's people like you who I am ashamed of to be with in this society.....you care about the sports program more than the innocent children that were abused. Get a life.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob C

      Matt....are you a friend of Joes? or perhaps a member of NAMBLA? Are you intelligent to look up 'aiding and abetting'?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Bob C,
      He reported it to his superiors. He was not part of the crime. His superiors dropped the ball, not Joe.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      JMont,
      Who says I don't care about the kids? Sandusky will pay for his crime, as he should. End of story. The kids will get justice in the end. Why should this take down an entire university? One man acted.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred

    Campus police are rent a cops that work for the school. THere is a conflict of interest to keep crimes quiet for the reputation of the school Which is what happened. They are not state or county police.

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

      PSU police have official police powers as granted by the state just like any other municipal law enforcement official. They are not rent a cops. One would hope that had this issue been taken to them they would have investigated it aggressively. All of this damage because no one took ownership of the issue. There is no doubt that the internal pressure to hide this was significant but to allow this to go unchecked is morally corrupt. These people failed to protect the children and to some extent, PSU.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark Parfrey

    Yea I wonder if the media will even follow the story anymore now that they got their man (Joe Paterno)? Funny all the stories and coverage I listened to over the last 3 or 4 days and the foot note to it all ends up being Jerry Sandusky which ESPN didn't even have the diligence to spell right on their broadcast last night (Sandsuky??). You would think Sandusky would be the story front and center but the media decides what the story is I guess and then they attack.

    Joe Paterno is a good man and will always be an invaluable asset to the Penn State University forever more!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • med06

      joe paterno is a good man?....not good enough in my book

      November 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tony

    Joe MUST GO!
    Not after the season, NOW!
    Throw the whole bunch of them in jail!

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

      Your such an idiot! I can't believe you walk and breath on this Planet!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Terry

    By not resigning immediately, Paterno shows that football is more important to him than the abused and victimized children. And that explains why he did not make sure that police were informed about a 10-year old child was being sodomized by his good friend. He had his priorities then and he still has them. Football and the image of the PSU football team is more important. Sad and tragic.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jimmy Ray

    He's got to go. Now. He's a cranky, egotistical, insensitive old man. He hasn't really coached the team in years, but he's so in love with himself and his puffed-up phony legacy that he's been blind to a lot of things. Now, it turns out, he was blind to what was going on to these poor kids. This is simply unforgivable. He does not deserve to finish out the season and pretend like nothing happened, that he did no wrong. Everyone knows that in reality there's been no one above him for years, even the president of the university, so for him to suggest he did what he was supposed to by notifying someone else and not the police is ridiculous.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. It is sad

    Good news today! Auburn officals have set a date to prosecute the tree poisoner! We are so lucky that the NCAA and the schools have set their priorities. Forget the children but protect the trees!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Guest

    If you report something and you see that no action has been taken it is your duty to pursue it until there is some sort of action taken. This was abuse of a child! Where are your morals people. What does that say about this PIG? I'm angry that people are actually trying to justify his actions or in this case in inaction.

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

      I do not believe that the 2002 issue was the only time this seen. There may be others that saw something before 2002. These people did not say anything. If they are found out, are they without blame?

      If you saw something like that, would you report it? Most of you say yes now, but if it actually happened, the majority of us would clam up and say nothing.

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

      The key that everyone seems to be missing is that he didn't SEE it, someone told him 2nd hand that they had seen something. No one knows what the reputation of the reporting student was like. If Joe had seen it first hand and done nothing then I would hold him more accountable... but someone came to him, made an accusation against his friend and colleague and he passed it on. He did not know for sure what had happened and most likely assumed that the issue was either taken care of or it was found that it did not actually occur. I have a hard time holding him accountable for something he neither took part in nor actually witnessed himself.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Arklite

    Good to know we were all there the day this happened. Seems like all the people commenting have more knowledge of the subject than the accused. /end sarcasm.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Laff

    I just came here to read the comments, I wasn't let down in the least. I'm assuming almost everyone who wants this guy thrown in jail also wanted Troy Davis to be exonerated from his murder conviction. You guys remember Troy Davis, right?

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