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. Dee

    He should quit NOW along with EVERYBODY else who knew and did nothing. IF PENN ACCEPTS THIS THEY SHOULD ALL BE FIRED......PENN STATE SHOULD FIRE HIM NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT FRIDAY!! NOW


    November 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Penn State has to prepare for Nebraska, he can't be fired now.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      It's only a stupid football game. All College football should be removed from all schools. This is why America is lagging behind. We focus on football and not Education.


      November 9, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sunshine

      You are nothing but a pathetic human. You have no knowledge of what went on. Joe reported what he knew and that is all ANYONE can do.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Football is what pays the bills my friend. Football also got me a free college education. Football pays for all of the women's athletic programs at PSU to exist. JoPa has earned the right, over a long and illustrious career, to exit on his terms. He committed no crime.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • CaptainRIGHT

      to: matt
      Penn State has to prepare for Nebraska, he can't be fired now.

      losing ones virginity is a lot more serious than losing some game don't you agree?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      You people need to give it a rest...don't you read the news? The majority of the students and alumni are standing behind Paterno. He has done more for the university and more for athletes than you will ever do in your life. He has earned our support and the benefit of the doubt. Thousands of students gathered in support of him at this home. Unless you are an alumni or live in this town keep your opinons to yourself. I am proud of my university and proud of paterno. In the end it will be very clear that he did what he had to do, with the limited knowledge he had. Whatever happened until innocent until proven guilty. I am so sick of everyone blaming Paterno for this....he was not the one who stuck his co*@ in little boys! You are hardly hearing anything about Sandusky in all of this. The headlines should be about him not Paterno. He is a figurehead for this town and is taking all the blame. Let the man be!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Capt Right,
      Yes, I agree. Jerry Sandusky will pay for his actions. Now let's focus on winning the Big 10.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob Camp

      What did Paterno know? He knew a complete stranger thought he saw his former assistant (and friend) commit a single crime. If it were your former assistant and friend, you'd either not care or not believe it. The cops won't care because it's hearsay. You can't tell anyone except maybe your boss or you could be sued for defamation. If you confronted your friend about it, I'm sure he'd deny it. What would you do then?

      Now the athletic director and president knew of several instances of it, and clearly covered it up. People argue that Paterno was the "real" athletic director - I don't buy it. That's now how any college works, even Penn State. No one knows if Paterno knew of the other allegations, but the athletic director would have to tell him first. I think the president and athletic director kept Paterno in the dark, figuring the less he knew the better.

      The main question is did Paterno know more than what was in the indictment. Were their other incidents while Sandusky was actually working for Paterno? How much does Paterno know? If he only knows what's in the indictment, he did nothing wrong morally. If he DID know more (which everyone is assuming yet there's no evidence of it), then Paterno should be fired.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • med06

      to matt – your an idiot

      November 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. EastCoastMike

    Not good enough. Paterno and everyone else who knew and said nothing shouldn't be allowed to step foot on campus. This is a disgrace. PSU is doing irreparable damage to itself by backing this man.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sunshine

      He did report what he knew fool. He can;t do the cops job for them, loser.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      Well, "who knew and said nothing" leaves out Joe Paterno, because he DID report the incident he knew about. Specifically, he reported it to the man in charge of the university police. That's exactly who one would expect him to report it to: another executive, not some beat cop. He reported it, and if you read the grand jury report, there was an investigation and several meetings with involved parties. He reported it through the proper channels, and it was supposedly handled. The fact that the people who "handled" it have been arrested tells me that they didn't handle it very well (to say the least!) but it wasn't legally Paterno's issue anymore. Morally ... well, if we fired or arrested people for their moral failings, there would be few of us with jobs, and a lot of us in jail.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. matt

    Can you say...Urban Meyer!!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I've also heard Tony Dungy's name getting thrown around. He would be a great replacement in my mind.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. Paula

    Retire??? Yeah – ok.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ha

    Good riddance to that old bag! They will all get what they deserve you freaks!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. ajgorm

    Gives new meaning to hike the ball.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Football First in PA

    He should be fired and not receive pension – he may have followed school policy in his reporting but that does not come before what is legal. He's still getting every.single.thing. in his favor. The school is putting football before those boys.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Sunshine


      November 9, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Unbelievable

      I don't get that either. How are people involved in this crime able to retire and recieve a pension? They should be fired.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellen

      He did everything legal. He reported this to the police force with jurisdiction...the University Police. And don't forget, he was going on SECOND-HAND information. The actual witness didn't do anything to stop the abuse he saw with his own eyes or go to the police himself.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      He DID do what was legal. He reported the incident he heard about second-hand to the university police. That was what the law required.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. CaptainRIGHT

    hes trying to get his last licks in

    November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. LK

    Disgusting...makes me wonder who is in charge at PSU...obviously they are still NOT doing their job, otherwise Paterno would be gone asap. Just when I think this story cannot get any worse, it does...ugh!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Laura

    What a joke and a disgrace. I hope he is booed off the field at every single game.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. JDCarnevale

    Football program is just too big to fail.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dave Wiggins

    It is a shame that Joe Pa will be remembered more for what he didn't do on that regretful day in 2002 than what he did do and accomplish over a lifetime of teaching, giving and caring.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • JKARD

      It is a shame, Dave. Sadly, it is his own doing. Paterno's moral compass failed him. It proves that doing nothing can be worse than doing something. Paterno IS Penn State, so letting him off the hook because he met his legal obligation is crap. He wields more power on campus than the university president. If it was one of his grandchildren in that shower with Sandusky, would he have waited 24 hours, followed legal protocol only and not followed up when nothing was done about it?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |

    sad to see such a legend go out in this manner!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  14. dont ask

    I'm not going to pretend that I'm not happy to see Joe Pa go. I think he should have retired long ago. However, as an OSU alumni that had to experience the loss of a great coach after a stupid scandal this past year, I feel for the Penn State fans and hope that they can move on from this tragedy.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |

      I agree with you...

      November 9, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. DCE

    He should not be allowed to resign. He should be fired.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • ndp

      Sure, because HE is the one who commited these crimes, right? Lets take the focus off the REAL criminals!

      November 9, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
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