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. dandmb50

    @dandmb50 – Joe had a wonderful career, up until 2002 when he was told that Sandusky had been seen with a young boy in the shower at the school. Not only should he retire now, the whole football program at Penn State is responsible for any assaults that occurred after 2002 and should do the right thing and close the program down, at least for this season. Why can people not, do the right thing? Sandusky will probably bring character witnesses to his trial(s) but the sad part is none of the people from Penn State football program have any character.
    This is shameful, close down the whole program, this is a cover-up if I have ever seen one, and worse than the Catholic Church. Joe did nothing wrong, and that's exactly the problem, he did NOTHING, it's time someone does something.

    Daniel .. Toronto, Canada

    November 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Barbara in Harrisburg PA

    I'm from PA, and while I am not a sports fan, I always had respect for JoePa because he held his players to a higher moral ground than other universities. If your grades slipped, or you got in trouble, you were off the field. He is a very decent man.

    Or so it appeared.

    Now I cannot get my head around the fact that he HAD to know a long time before McQueary told him what he saw (with his own eyes no less!!). In 1998 two boys accused Sandusky of molestation (or worse), and a dectective even eavesdropped at one of the boys' homes while the mother confronted Sandusky......the DA of Centre County decided there was "not enough evidence" for a criminal investigation. Now if the DA in your County knows of molestation allegations, how can ANYONE think that the school administrators and the sports department knew nothing?!?!

    McQueary told JoePa, who told Curley.......then McQueary gets promoted. It's really rather sickening, all the way around.

    Money and image trumped the safety of children. And as sad as I am to see JoePa go out like this, it is what he had coming to him for his failure to act.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Wow someone wrote a freaking essay on here. Guess there really are no jobs left in the US...

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

      My thoughts exactly. The grad student called his father for advice. Dad told his son to call JoePa. Imagine you are 22 or 23 years old and see a school legend, icon engaging in a horrendous, unthinkable act in the campus showers. No doubt the grad student (a former Penn State quarterback) had his sights set on a coaching position. However, he sought the wisdom of his father who advised him to call JoePa and not the police. That shows the culture, climate, and where the power rested....squarely on the shoulders of the head coach.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pipi

    NOT GOOD ENOUGH! He needs to go NOW! It doesn't matter that he has 61 years as a "coach". He did not protect those young boys! What if that was your son who got molested????

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


      November 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GUEST

    I think that Joe not taking the extra step to report the situation to the police was wrong but with that being said when you report to the people over you telling them that you had a report of a situation those people should have called the police and had that invesigation started then. As a head coach there are things that sometimes are out of your hands but he was thinking that his leaders over him were doing what they were suppose to. I do not agree that him as a head coach was completley wrong he just should have followed up and made sure that the police were aware of the act that did take place.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tania Alerica

    I tihnk that Paterno should remain. Certain places have a protocol to follow and he went to his boss. Boo on these people for making Paterno resign/ retire. Penn State will NEVER be the same. Boo on them!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chaos

      You have depraved priorities.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      hey at least he's got priorities, gotta give him something for that! ha!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jay

    midwestrail – precisely my point from earlier. I'm sure he would have just reported it up the chain and then waited for know, b/c of all the other slanderous things he hears each week. I've never seen so much freaking rationalization.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Guest

    I would never, in a million years, let my child attend PSU. The fact that Paterno will be on the sidelines against Neb makes me ill. The sicko that he enabled was on the campus LAST WEEK!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 0704American

    "I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the young men at the university." I am sure he did

    November 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lori Y.

    Joe Paterno's loyalty is to Penn State and his job responsibility is to the football team. Of course he would contemplate how this entire Sandusky nightmare would play out and negatively affect Penn State. THAT'S HIS JOB! He reported it as he should have! Shall I say that again? He reported it as was appropriate. He is not the police. He is not the child welfare agency (both of which, I understand, were aware of Sandusky's inappropriate behavior LONG before the 2002 incident at Penn State). The focus needs to be on Sandusky .... the child welfare agency ... the police ... and the head of Penn State ... for these are the individuals directly involved ... either by committing the crime (Sandusky) or being aware of what was suspected of occurring ! Our prayers need to go out to the victims. Lay off of Paterno already! Get your priorities in order and place the blame where it should be placed. WITH SANDUSKY !!!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jb

    Retire? Absolutely. Is it fair however to have him on the sidelines for the rest of the regular season and potential Bowl games to have his team subjected to the ridiculous amount of media attention that will be drawn to Paterno? Is it fair to all these young men who look up to him when he will be relentlessly questioned and hounded about this horrible scandal? What if the media starts badgering the players about it? What will St. Joe do then? He should do the right thing and let his assistants take over for the remainder of the season. Paterno's legacy is forever damaged by the abdication of his moral responsibility and his position of authority in not personally pursuing this directly to the President of Penn. State and right to the State Police if the School did not act. Whatever he may have done in accordance with the law he most certainly should have asserted his authority and reputation in defense of the children involved.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chip

      Is it fair for the media to hound Joe and his players? Of course not. But they do it anyway. Sad that the media has driven Joe into retirement because he got caught in the middle of all of this. Good luck to Penn State finding a coach with more integrity than JoePa.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. davetharave

    He needs to leave NOW.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rene

    Why are we waiting till season's end? He should be in jail tonight!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom

    If your comment was meant to be funny, it's not. Shame on you for making such a crass comment.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ferglpa

    Can't wait to see what kind of a reception this guy gets the first time he goes on the field away from Penn State.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheSonnyBoy

    Why didn't Joe do the obvious and responsible thing all those years ago? Why didn't he act like any protective parent and adult in that situation? Why didn't he do what any sane and caring person would do when trusted with the lives and minds of the young men of Penn State? Were any of the young men on his teams also assaulted too? Why didn't he protect them too?

    There are a lot of questions that need to be asked and answered now that the grievous sins of Jerry Sandusky have shocked and repulsed us. There can't be any sacred stone left unturned, if any confidence in the administration of Penn State University is ever regained. What a shameful disgrace this has to be for that once highly respected university.

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