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. Here We Go

    I feel bad for Paterno because legally he followed normal protocol. I just don't have faith in our legal system because what happened to a friend of mind when he coached in Buffalo, NY. His career was ruined and his life destroyed because of a power struggle between two egotistical administrators who were at war. The superintendent, with his cast, used the press and politicians to divert attention from a female volunteer coach who was having inappropriate relations with her female players. When the male coach refused to lie on the principal, the superintendent launched the media toward the male coach who had nothing to do with the situation. Ironically, the superintendent, the athletic director, a college coach and a high school coached testified in an investigation that they knew the volunteer had been inappropriate with her female students for years but NO ONE REPORTED A THING. To this day, no investigation has been done on the female volunteer coach, but my friends and I worry if the falsely, accused, successful male coach will ever be able to recover from losing his career, his family and his life.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scott

    Yet another causality of the media misinforming the public for ratings. Good work media. Way to focus on a guy that did what he was suppose to do rather then the actual person that did the molestation, nevermind the guy that actually watched it happen.

    The uncontrolled filth that seeps out of the media is the reason this country has turned to crap. Do everyone a favor and find a news source that isn't out for ratings but rather the truth.

    November 10, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kiki

    He never followed up he just passed the buck and even after keys were taken and rules set down he continued to see this monster with 5 other little boys from the charity and turned a blind eye to that as well...Innocent my behind.

    November 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve Rogers

    Is God Still A Penn State Fan?

    The last time I checked the sky was still blue and white, and for as far back as I care to remember it has been the battle cry of Penn State. Well if God truly did make the sky blue and white, because he was a Penn State Fan; he might thinking of changing those colors to purple and yellow. That is if he is looking to jump on this year’s band wagon. I personally would have made the sky gold and green, plus it is a catholic university. Although that just means there are catholic priests on that campus as well. So, who knows what the future holds for that school.
    If God was a true fan, he is certainly a little tainted. However, I feel he might still be a Joe Paterno fan. Yes as more news over this tradjedy continues to flow, we see there are many other people to blame during this travesty. I think however, God may still have some reservations about being a Paterno fan, since both names have been used in the same sentence more often than not. But I digress, if Paterno is half the man the world has come to know and love then God is a big fan of Joe Paterno. There has been a lot said about Paterno doing the minimum, and he has admitted that he could have done more. However, I personally feel Paterno’s biggest mistake is that he assumed the man he told would be a man of his word, and act like a man of character, as Joe Paterno has emulated his entire life. So, the truth is he is really only guilty of having faith in his fellow man, which in hind sight was the wrong thing. However a man like Paterno thinks everyone will react the way he would, which sadly was not the case.
    I am saddened by the firing of man who gave the better of his life to a game and a school he so deeply loved. I understand the University’s position, however for a man who gave so much; to allow him to resign would have in my opinion would have been the decent thing to do. It also appears very unfortunate to me that the media attention surrounding this incident played a huge factor in the decision of firing one the greatest college football coaches ever, if not the greatest. However, the constant media attention would have been detrimental to the school. However, if given the opportunity to resign, I believe Paterno would have felt more like he left on his own terms. Also, the public would have understood he did so under pressure, and the University would have accomplished the same result. Just one humble non Penn State fan’s opinion. Let the criticism begin.

    By Steve Rogers.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
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