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. Dave

    JoPa needs to be gone...yesterday. Not at the end of the year. Not at the end of the week. Yesterday! If not yesterday then ASAP! He could have stopped this from happening but made the choice to ignore it and do as minimal as possible of his legal responsibility and completely ignored his moral responsibility.

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

    Come on people, I won some football games! I think you should let this slide. Come on, I'm a good old boy. Be nice.

    So at least 20 kids got cornholed and I helped cover it up, big whoop. I beat Iowa! YEE HAWWWW PENN STATE

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

    The eventual result of hubris.

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

      He is responsible and should go.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rick

    Trying to blame Paterno for this abuse is about the same as trying to blame Obama because the Republicans are obstructionists.

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

      Or blaming your mother for you being stupid.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stewie

      Go back to your OCCUPY Rally in College Park.

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

      Hey Jay, don't you have some bagging or some birthing you should be doing somewhere?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Blow

      Not exactly. He personally knew about what happened yet chose to do nothing.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Amen Rick. What a bunch of lunatic hicks on this website today.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • horseyak

      Or blaming Obama for being a bad leader. No, wait a minute, he is.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • JAYJAY

      He did not fullfill his moral obligation. More leaders need to go down because of this but the coach, by not forcing the issue, is as guilty of the criminal due to doing nothing as it would risk his self interests

      November 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ol cranky

      He's not being blamed for the abuse, he's being held accountable for not taking action as required by the law and terms of his contract with PSU.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. His Boy Elroy

    The school should be held accountable for the cover up perpetrated by its faculty and staff. Close it down.

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

      They're all fools. You should eat them!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blame the Faculty...???!!!

      "The school should be held accountable for the cover up perpetrated by its faculty and staff. Close it down."

      Where in all of this has there been any suggestion that the faculty knew anything at all about this? It sounds like the information was flowing through the Athletic Department and the administration.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cindy

    Has anyone given thought to the fact that Sandusky had 6 ADOPTED children?? Did you know that he also took in foster children? I believe there are many, many more victims out there....very sad. JoePa needs to be fired. He didn't live up to what he preached to his players. What is wrong with you Penn State people that are sticking up for him? Where is your sense of right and wrong? Oh yeah, on the football field! Pathetic!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jangee10

      Cindy,

      I just discussed the very same points with my husband last night!! He was also concerned that some of these children may have been harmed. I pray that that is not the case.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • EmeraldCity

      I hadn't heard that. And it's horrifying to learn.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. meme

    Paterno should be fired immediately and not be allowed to resign at the end of the season. He's a disgrace. They all need to go to jail.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jon Davison of Dallas

    "Under Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services Law, certain individuals, including teachers and school administrators, have a legal obligation to immediately report suspected child abuse to child protective services or law enforcement, or to a "person in charge" (supervisor), who must then report the alleged abuse to the authorities. The reporting must be honest. When in writing, the reporting must also include known information about the nature and extent of the suspected abuse, along with other material details...Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/michael_mccann/11/09/joe.paterno/index.html#ixzz1dEJJ9aOu"

    What?! Who wrote this law in Pennsylvania? NAMBLA? Did Sandusky write it? So Pennsylvania's child "protection" laws only require school officials to report the crime to their supervisors? Wow, that works out well when you're reporting to people who have an obvious conflict of interest when it comes to what's best for the school! Citizens of PA should be outraged by this big loophole and hold elected officials accountable on election day for allowing this stupid out clause in the law. Clearly the law should require school officials at ALL levels to report crimes against children to the police first and foremost! I wonder how many other schools across the country have this stupid out clause???

    November 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon Davison of Dallas

      Clarification: I meant "So Pennsylvania's child "protection" laws gives school officials the option to report the crime to their supervisors first?"

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

    Let me ask you Paterno defenders this: You're 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 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Yup, then I immediately go to the comment board on CNN and spew my worthless thoughts for all to see.

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

    He must GO NOW. We have zero tolerance for this type of crime. Shame on Joe and those who know and DO NOTHING

    November 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hugh

    Paterno is a disgrace and should never be allowed to step foot on campus, let alone on a football field again.

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

      I agree.

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

    I don't blame Paterno for the abuse. However, the man stated that when he learned of the incident in a locker room more than a decade ago, he reported it to the school administration. If the administration was just sweeping it under the rug, a moral man would have made the report to law enforcement.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jpalger

    Penn State should reuire Joe Paterno to resign immediately. I guess this makes the Catholic Church look good; now Penn State can be the pedophile organization.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jmont

    Joe needs to leave, and leave now!! This guy has some balls to say he is going to retire after this season....he needs to simply leave now. If Penn State keeps him as a coach til the end of the season they are about as stupid as those who covered up the abuse. I don't care that he is a staple with the school, he didn't perform due dilligence with reporting the abuse, and now he wants to collect more money to keep coaching? If I were on the board of trustees at Penn State, I would vote no-confidence in Joe and get rid of him now. Letting him stay is a tragedy to those children who were abused. He should be ashamed of himself.

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

    So disappointed in him; because he fulfilled his legal obligation doesn't let him off the hook morally. After such a career, it's a shame he will be remembered as someone who wasn't man enough to do the right thing.

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