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. PedsJustice

    How can people even think that doing only what was morally obligated is enough? It's different if the crime were embezzling money from the school–he was accused of raping a 10 year old in a school shower. Whether it was reported as horseplay in the what planet is it okay for a grown man of such stature to "horseplay" with anyone, let alone, a helpless 10 year old boy in the shower. Paterno knew Sandusky for years which put him in the position to deal with his "friend" directly in addition to ensuring the issue was properly investigated. To those passionately defending Paterno on grounds of "he followed the letter of the law," just know that some situations ask you to rise above and beyond. Paterno was not a man of mediocrity in football and other aspects of life, he should not have accepted a mediocre performance on his part and the part of his school when it came to this particular issue.

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

    Like Michael Mcann said "hear no evil, see no evil" approach to what appears to be the actions of a sadistic man.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Molly Brown you really think that JoePa and President Spanier were "unaware" what happened to Victim 1 in the Penn State shower in 1998? The real police department was involved in this case because Victim 1's mother called them after her son came home with wet hair and told her about the shower incident. It seems very coincidental that Sandusky retired after this incident occurred. He was not chosen as head coach and quietly shown the door. Get realistic man.

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

    I'd guess Paterno and his crew were also molesting children in the facilities, that's why nothing was done about it.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • samlowry


      November 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mr smith


    November 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ryan


    November 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dee

    shame on you....

    November 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Edge327

    I'm wondering if anyone at PSU knew about Sandusky being accused of molestation in 1998, and why prosecutors decided not to charge him at that time.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PSU77

    As an alumni I am saddened by the recent breaking news.
    I agree that they all must go, but Paterno is taking the brunt of abuse for his inactions.
    What about McQueary?
    He just walked away after what he saw?
    Did he attempt to break it up?
    Did he dial 911?
    He observed a crime taking place and just kept going.........

    November 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stewie

      I agree all should be accountable...but between the Private and the General....I hold the Genral more accountable.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bachmanntwit

    He likes to play with Marcus Bachmann's tallywacker.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Juan Carlos Queipo

    Let hi retire with dignity, he did NOTHING wrong !!!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Oh yeah? Oh no...

    Want to talk about moral obligations? Where's the outcry of hate on McQuery.. the man who witnessed the crime happen with his own two eyes and didn't even try to save the child or call the police himself? Not only that now.. but McQuery still continues to let JoePa take all the bullets for his lack of action...

    November 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sues

    @Frank.....the Attorney General said it appreared tha Joe Pa met his obligations under state law but you think he should be fired immediately. Idiot!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe in Seattle

    At a minimum Penn State Trustees should decide to give all proceeds from this weekends game to a victim's fund. They can announce this after all victims have come forward.

    If it's not enough money, use proceeds from future games.

    Money can not compensate these guys properly but there should be plenty to go around and at least it's a starting point to help the victims who richly deserve all assistance possible from Penn State University – on victim's terms.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. samlowry

    Congrats media, you forced him out! This was driven by bored "journalists". Hindsight is 20/20, right?

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