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. NTSA

    Paterno should be sued by the boys' families. His severance package should be given their families. Another case of the cult of sports figures being worshipped in America. If Paterno was Joe Average, they'd have fired him and pressed charges already.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Whome

    If the Lord were alive here on earth today most of these fools that were calling for Joe to step down would be shouting out, "crucify him crucify him". If you have never met the man or talked to him don't judge him. What holier then thou idiots.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • CeeDub

      Paterno knew what happened and let it go. SINCE 2002. That sandusky animal was on campus last week in the weight room. ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CeeDub

    The arrogance and hubris of PSU and Paterno are incomprehensible. The entire football staff and top admin. officials need to go now!!!.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      I guess you never lived in/around State College, PA. Paterno is the highest authority. There is no one higher to report to, including police. So, in essence, JoPa did report to the highest authority...himself!!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      So, the entire football staff should go? Even the ones who have only been hired recently? What about their jobs and putting food on their families' tables? That comment is ridiculous. Punish other families for a few. What about the children of the assistant coaches who had no knowledge? I though it was about the kids?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. matt

    Actually it's God's fault. He allowed JoPa to lack the character it took to report to police. God is to blame. I bet God told Matthew, Mark, Luke and John about JoPa's poor decision. They should burn in hell also. I sure hope I am sounding ridiculous...just like many of you fools.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Grad Assistant?

    No one's asking why the Grad Assistant didn't go to the police? He was an adult, right?

    November 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JD

    I am incensed over this whole circus. I am a huge fan of Joe Paterno. I like the Penn St football program, but this whole thing is unconscionable on several levels. The biggest of which is the deal about child molestation, but when last I looked, the precedence has already been established by the Catholic Church, and unfortunately, Child Molestation is not a crime. Ask the Pope...

    November 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 綱手-Tsunades Twin

    I think he made the right choice to step down/retire. It would be better if it was now as I think his ability to lead has been put to the ultimate test. He may have fulfilled his "legal" obligation in the automatic reporting of this mess but his MORAL duty, to protect the children from further abuse he failed – period.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • MDDon

      Well said, although unfortunately the students at Penn State seem to be sending out signals that winning football games is more important.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Marg

    Like it or not, willfull blindness also carries a measure of guilt.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill Graham

    You are ignorant

    November 9, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe D.

    This is very simple. What would Paterno have done if he had heard that Sandusky was with one of his 17 grandchildren? My guess is that he would have elevated the accusation to the highest authority possible – immediately. EVERY child needs a voice. For shame. Joe and everyone that knew of this crime is morally guilty.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • my opinion

      I was thinking this exact same thought. Very true.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      No, he wouldn't have done anything than other. Given his statement today, its obvious that PSU and the football team are much higher priorities than ANY kid in his mind. Fire him NOW.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • CB

      Very much agree JoeD !

      November 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • MDDon

      ditto.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. david gsell

    end of season!!!!! he needs to go now! this is why he's in the situation he's in. he waited. GO NOW!!

    November 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • rayge

      Totally agree.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SDW

    Benny, you are a complete moron

    November 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. my opinion

    My comment is...why, if there is a person who witnessed this pedophile assaulting a 10 yr old boy, didn't he run & grab the S O B by the hair & throw him across the room, grab the child, wrap him in a blanket & run to the police station???? WHY???? I am a woman and I would have physically done this & more to that vile creature to save that poor child. Where are the MEN???

    November 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • tville_dad

      exactly

      November 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karla

      Dear there haven't been real men for a long time ony power hungry human beings who care nothing about one and other..

      November 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • rayge

      None of these so called "men" were man enough to do what is right!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • CB

      Exactly right ! There appear to be NO MEN involved in this entire tragedy....
      I would have stepped in for sure....but then I don't have a money generating corporate football machine ...ooops , i meant university .....to worry about...and i am not self promoting and all that concerned about what would have been the fallout of me BASHING that pervs skull in.....leaving him laying on the floor in a pool of his own blood with his willy hanging out...

      November 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • my opinion

      Now, we're hearing this pedophile adopted several children, and foster-parented many...OMG, this is just the tip of the iceberg...and everyone who knew about this & other accusations, IS RESPONSIBLE!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leelanau

    He was going to retire at the end of the year anyway. He needs to be forced out immediately, and his legacy eternally tarnished.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • rayge

      the sad part is the students defending him-don't they see, wrong is wrong.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. VMG

    If Penn State wants to retain any credibility Joe Paterno should be fired immediately along with anyone else involved in this cover up. It's shamefull that a football program or college, no matter how prestigiuos, would take precidence over the welfare of a minor. Allowing Paterno to retire at the end of the season just shows that Penn State just doesn't get it. It's time the legal system steps in and sees that they do.

    November 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • rayge

      Exactly! Penn St. does not get it!

      November 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
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