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. Bob C are sick if you can overlook what Paterno did..........

    That jerk should be thrown out immediatly to preserve the dignity of that school......and you should reeaxamine those you stand behind or idolize.......

    November 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    Ellen- would you remain friends with someone who is a pedophile? Joe Paterno did. Every person who had knowledge or even second-hand knowledge of Sandusky's acts should be fired. After listening to Joe Paterno's comments from the rally outside his house...he does not understand the severity of his actions.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • med06

      chris – I agree completely that everyone involved should be fired....but they won't. they will let them have there dignity and they will say they will go into early retirement, or resign..which means they get there pensions...which is a further joke...

      November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Norma

    As a mother of a victim of a pedophile, I am disgusted at Joe Paterno and Penn State. Yes, Paterno may have done the bare minimum under the law but he AND Penn State had a MORAL obligation to do right by the victims and go straight to the police and nip it in the bud then, not now. Think of how many boys would've been saved if he had. Goes to show that all Paterno thought about was Penn State, its football program and his inflated legacy, his false image of a legend.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matty13

      This article states, "Two other Penn State officials have also been arrested and accused of failing to report the abuse." Well, isn't that exactly what can be described as what Joe did/didn/t do.

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

      Very sorry for your story, Norma. I agree completely. This man is revered because of football, and now they're trying to protect him even though he turned a blind eye to what was going on, just to save his precious football program. His 61 year 400 win career is dogs**t. THIS is what he'll be remembered for as far as I'm concerned – protecting and enabling a serial pedophile. Nice legacy.

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

      Precisely. That he hasn't been told to hand in his keys and leave the campus immediately just shows how the powerful are too often treated. Perhaps the saddest part is that all these men did what they did (or, in this case, did nothing) because they were afraid of losing money and prestige... I am not a religious person, but this defines the sin of pride.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oren

      I'm sure he also thought about the fact that he didn't have any evidence and didn't witness anything, all he had was a statement from another employee. And he could have called the police, sure, but he did just as good and told not 1 but 2 administrators so that they could get the employee in and get a statement and contact the police with facts. If you work at a store and you see someone stealing so you tell your manager and he doesn't call the police, should you go to jail as an accessory to theft? Give me a break. This is an awful case, but this poor old man thought he reported it to the right people.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gus

    Big whoop. Staying on til the end of the season is like equating the assault on a child with some kind of NCAA violation. How pathetic.

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

      You're right. If Penn State allows Paterno to spend one more minute on campus it's further evidence of their lack of judgement, moral values and character.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. It'stheculture

    Where Joe Paterno is culpable is in establishing a culture of- call it fear, dictatorial, singlemindedness focus on "the program", whatever- that caused the janitorial staff to fear losing their jobs if they reported. To cause the GA to fear his future enough to necessitate bringing daddy along, and then remaining silent thereafter. To cause his so-called "bosses" (right, like he really ever considered them his bosses) to fear bringing this out into the open... you better believe that the culture that developed in that football program was due to hiim. Furthermore- think about it- you have heard some kind of disturbing information from an eyewitness, however watered down it may or may not have been, about someone you know well, and continue to never question his presence in your facilities thereafter, even though you know "he was told not to come into that facility"? Joe, the GA, the janitors, see this guy around for the next 10 years and not one of them thinks anything of it? Leaders set the culture, set the tone, set a code of conduct, and no one may consider him a leader if they don't acknowledge that basic premise.

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

      10/4 there good buddy...Another issue that boils me is that Paterno's comments on the incident as "surprising"...What a cover up...WHY Joe ??? The incident was brought to your attention years ago....

      November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JOE

    Paterno is a selfish greedy hypocrite for crying out loud. When his assistant coach told him about the incident, he also told Mr. Paterno that the victim was a MINOR CHILD ten years old. That child could have been anybody's child. And what did coach Paterno do? He shrugged it off because football was more important than this innocent child's welfare. Shame on you Mr. Paterno! Shame! Shame! Shame! Worst football program in the country.

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

      Joe, you are the most ignorant, simple minded person that I've ever come in contact with. I hope your 50 point IQ can follow this explaination. It's been explained 1,000's of times aready, yet you can't seem to grasp an understanding. Paterno was informed of the incident by a graduate assistant coach. He did not witness the actual events happen, so he turned sandusky in to PSU authorities who would investigate the issue. Paterno is not a detective, and he can't go to the police with acts that he heard happened. Which is evidence from a grad student who is incriminating someone that Joe had known/coached with for over thirty years. Shultz and Curley did not do their job in the investigation. The investigation should have gotten the police involved, which is why Shultz and Curley have been indicted. Since Joe heard the investigation didn't turn up anything, he didn't act anyfurther. Who was he to disagree with the formal investigation that took place? Would any of you disagree with a formal investigation, and act on things you heard happened? Hind sight is 20/20. You all should become a little more informed before you start calling for people to be fired/arrested. It's people like you, who don't hear the other half of things, that are the most vocal. Why are the most uneducated people in this country the most vocal? Why don't you attack the people who should be canned, such as Curley, Shultz, and Spanier, instead of crucifing the only man that did what he was required to do in this case. You aren't worth the chair your sitting in. We are.....PENN STATE!

      November 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Stewie

    One thing's for sure....this will be the worst season ever for Penn State.

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

      #12 in the nation, hardly the worst! HAAAAA dope

      November 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. johnson

    College, including college football is about the education and maturation of students in an environment which prizes good judgement, integrity, and leadership. Any professor or coach who can not live his life in this way should not stand before students.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. OBG

    Paterno should be fired immediately and the football program suspended immediately and indefinitely. The crime committed was horrendous, and the cover up was far worse.

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

      Don't blame or punish the players.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. smass

    Say it ain't so, Joe.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mytabloids

    There is no way that Paterno should leave on his own terms. He should be given his walking papers today and sent packing. No more prowling the sidelines like a puffed-up little general. No more adulation from these 100-thousand fans in the stadium. No more glory. Someone at this university must do the right thing, but thus far common sense and dignity seem to be in short supply.

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

    Let me ask you Paterno defenders this: Your Paterno, a graduate assistant pops in your office and tells you that he witnessed Sandusky fondling YOUR child in the shower. Do you just tell the administration and hope they do the right thing?

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

      "Your Paterno" obviously means "You're Paterno" in my hypo.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Asklepios

    Joe Paterno is a good man. He was guilty only of an error of judgment.

    You wouldn't dismiss Ted Kennedy's whole career because of one unfortunate incident at Chappaquiddick, would you ?

    Show Joe Paterno the same consideration.

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

      Ummm, yes, and the fact that Ted Kennedy is a complete jackal.

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

      Had Ted Kennedy been involved in a scandal that involved the molestation of children things may have been different.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. palintwit

    Well, at least he's not boinking his cousins like the teabaggers do.

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

      Good one 🙂

      November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dj

    Just another example of where football is more important at PSU

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