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. fubar2011

    God bless these children (now young adults) and please help us find a way to help them through this.

    November 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Recovering Republican

    This should not be Joe Pa's legacy. Joe Pa is an amazing coach, who has been instrumental in the positive development of NCAA football, and many of its players. His error may a grevious one, although we do not have all the facts. God will judge him, as God shall judge all of us. Allow him to retire, which for a lifelong coach, is the ultimate punishment.

    November 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Donnie Darko

    So let's count who knew about Sandusky and his activities. There was McQueary, his father, Joe Paterno, the Athletic Director, the VP of Finance, the President of the University, a DA, Chief of Police, investigators, a janitor, the janitor's supervisor and Child Welfare. The question is why would these people risk the reputation of the University, their legacy in life, their freedom, their morals and their dignity for this alleged degenerate? Something smells very fishy in Happy Valley. There is more to this story.

    November 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bob

    Joe should not be allow on the sideline anymore. He knew and did not follow up after he reported it.

    November 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tim

    If he's allowed to retire.......he gets NOTHING for failing in his moral responsibility!!!!!!!! FIRE HIM NOW!

    November 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Prudent

    The link that appears after the date and time is what should have been done in this case . . .

    November 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. One of Joe's State College Neighbors

    The crime's Sandusky's committed are horrific, tragic, and inexcusable. Period.

    Joe Paterno is one of the most humble and giving persons that I have ever met. Period.

    Joe did what he though was right to handle the Sandusky affairs, and maybe could have done more. But how many of the arm chair critics would have really done any different in the same situation? Hindsight is impossible to obtain ahead of time, by definition. This does not make it any better, but there were many failures here - in the child welfare system, the local police department, the Penn State administration, ... ?

    Joe has always been giving on many fronts. Ask Joe's former players, or just the 98% of them that Joe has told would not make it to an NFL career and that they had better work as hard on the field to be part of the team as they need to work in the class room and their personal lives if they really want to be successful. What is Penn State's football program graduation rate anyway?

    Joe has always taught players to use their brain and muscles to work hard to obtain their personal best, to work hard to be an integral part of the team, and that the World does not revolve around an individuals wants and that they had better give something to society if they expected to get something back. There are not to many people teaching that today, in politics or in our own homes.

    Joe and Sue have been stellar citizens in out community, and still would be despite Joe's notoriety. He has only given 4 million dollars back to Penn State and all of his personal life to the sports programs. Is that all worthless now? He has contributed to society in a way most people could not have, because of his personal success.

    Don't fry him yet, he's just an old man that has really worked hard all of his life, been very successful, and given way more directly back to society than others with his same means do.

    Let's not have another failure in the system and cast the first stones when we do not totally know the whole story.

    Sorry this was not just a short one liner like most of the other messages. I though this deserved more given the horrific impact on the many fronts.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      So essentially you are saying that the 8 children and their families, who have suffered greatly due to Joe's passive response is worth less than all the football heros he's produced. As a counselor who works with adult survivors of child abuse, and knowing the long lasting effects and suffering this will cause, your comment makes me sick.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. andy

    The man who abused the kids should be shot in the head and executed; period. But Paterno didn't do it. He told his boss about it when got informed about it. Paterno didn't abuse anybody! He's only done good at Penn State for 61 years. He didn't abuse anybody.
    But he's getting lynched up like he did. That's WAY over the top and the ones who are trying to make it look like HE did it suck!

    November 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kevin Schmidt

    Why are soooo many idiots trying to make a scapegoat out of the one of the best football coaches of all time who is also one of the most moral coaches of all time?

    Paterno reported to his superiors what the student told him about his asst coach. So why didn't his boss report it to the police? Why didn't the student who saw the incident report it to the police instead of to Paterno? And why didn't the victim himself report it to the police? It seems like the the only person who did the right thing was Paterno himself!

    By the way all of you arm chair moralists, why aren't you condemning the Catholic Church and demanding they pack up and go back to the Vatican? And why haven't you condemned both Bush and Obama for starting three imperialist wars OF terror that have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent children? Why haven't you condemned the big banks for stealing trillions of dollars and throwing the planet into a depression, which caused thousands of children to become impoverished as well as homeless?

    You can't blame Paterno for any of that, you bunch of ignorant hypocrites!

    PSU 78


    November 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kevin Schmidt

    This is the fault of the MSM for making the story about Paterno and not about his superiors who are the ones that should be resigning. This is just another reason why more people get their news from independent internet news sources instead of from propaganda parrots like CNN.

    November 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Connie

      I suspect, that Paterno's reaction would have been quite different had that been one of his 16 grandchildren being violated by Sandusky!!

      November 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Marshal

      I get my hair cut where Joe Paterno goes. 315 Allen street, The Allenway Barber Shop. A cheap hair cut (though he has millions). They tell me Joe is a very simple man who doesn't even own a cell phone. Joe does not realize how important he even is. Please check out this barber shop and interview. Joe was just following what he thought was protocol. He didn't know any better!

      November 10, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  11. isabel

    Paterno should quit NOW. He saw a crime was being commited and did not reported to police, child protection agencies nor the parents. To me his actions make him an accomplice or a part in a conspiracy to perform child abuse.
    The fact that he is "legendary" should not absolve him of this. Having the biggest influence in the university he could and SHOULD HAVE PREVENTED IT INSTEAD OF ALLOWING IT TO CONTINUE FOR YEARS. Charges should be brought against him. HE IS A DISGRACE!!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • we love joe

      he didnt see it he was told about it so stop hating on joe and hate on the guy that saw it. why didnt he report it to the police and sandusky are the ones at fault no one eles saw it they should both be in jail not joe

      November 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Joe Paterno should be fired!!! He is a DISGRACE to Penn State, to Football, to atheltic departments all over the world. He should have done more to protect the innocent children. How could he not have followed up on the case called the police and used his power to put an end to this is beyond my comprehension!

      November 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric Tipton

    Paterno says he wishes he had done more. Now he has a chance to do more(resign) but chooses to do less. Actions speak louder than words.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pablo

      Eric I did hear just today that Joe is resigning after all so he does have a good heart thank goodness

      November 9, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. we love joe

    Joe i support you.. you did everything you could leagly. you are not at fault on this. at school today me as a class officer and the rest of uss class officers stood in the hallway and said we lover joes and repeated it over and over agai =n and students came out of the homerooms and cheered and teachers cheered. joe you are an amazing guy and did nothing wrong. dont listen to other people we love you and what you said to sll those students that came to you house last niught just shows how much you love the kids and how many people love you. penn state will never be the same. we love you joe and we support you and we will continue to stan din the hallways over and over again to show our suppport. we love you joe

    November 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kiki

      Well comsidering he may be charged with perjury and obstruction of justice it might turn out he DIDNT do everything he could legally which goes with the fact he did notmdomall he should have morally.

      November 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NN

    This is just the beginning of the leak as to what has been going on with this Penn state Joe Paterno creep. Just watch as the story unfolds and we find out the real reason he did nothing to stop what he knew was going on in his locker room. Think about it.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    Guest you are missing the point. You want to fry Joe's bosses because they did not do their jobs. How far up the chain do you have to go before you reach the person who should be the one who reports a potential CRIMINAL act? Everyone who had information about it was responsible to report it, and Joe falls into that group. Joe can't be given a free pass because he told his boss. His moral responsibility was to report it to the authorities who deal with crimes – the police. Joe should step down today not at the end of the season it is unfortunate that his lapse of judgement so negatively impacts his career, but it does because of the disgusting nature of the crime.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
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