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. newmoon2

    I'm sorry, but Paterno should not be allowed to finish the season. He should be immediately dismissed. Actions (and inaction) have consequences and college is about learning lessons. What a powerful life lesson on what it truly means to stand up and do what's right, vs. just giving it lip service. How many children fell victim while Paterno shrugged off his responsibilities?!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dwight K. Shrute

    What about the coach who actually witnessed the assault? Is he not at even more fault than Paterno?

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

    I can't believe how everyone is attacking this man (who has done nothing wrong or illegal) and totally forgetting the REAL perp here.

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

      He did nothing wrong? He didn't call the police! What if the administrators at the Central Mountain High School hadn't called the police? Paterno's buddy would still be roaming around freely, looking for another child to molest! Paterno knew. He knew it back in 1998. He cost many boys their innocence. I don't know how he sleeps at night.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      He reported it to the man in charge of the university police.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • soupeater

      The REAL police. One phone call would have put an end to it. Had it been his grandson, do you think he would have stopped at calling the AD? He took the path of least resistance. Now it's time to pay the piper.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Nile Kinnick

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." -Edmund Burke

    Fade away silently into the night Joe Paterno, you are no longer a good man.

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

    This is indeed a tragic situation. However, it seems to me that the person with the highest obligation to call the police was the person who actually witnessed the abuse. How could a person witness such a heinous act and not call 911?

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

    meet the new coach, the same as the old one.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve Gastin

    JoePa need to be fired NOW!

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

    Lets see the people that wanted Paterno's head got it. He went to the higher ups and they sat on there hands. Everyone who did nothing should go with him. Especially who ever the hell it was that allowed the suspect to still have a bloody office on campus. So if JoPa goes they should all go too. Right now not latter.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Winston5

    End of the season?? Glacial pace this guy has...then again, how many YEARS ago was he told his Off. Cood. was r@ping a kid in the shower?

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

      Actually, it was *after* Sandusky retired from coaching.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. Parent 49

    what words did the GA/now coach use with Paterno to describe the attck on the little boy? what words did Paterno use when he descibed it to Curley , Schultz and Univ. President? they all need to resign in disgrace for doing NOTHING to stop the abuse...very sad...Paterno is disgraced too!

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

      Good questions! Do you actually know what was said? How it was presented? What words were used? I think not, . . .so unless you know all the facts I don't think you should be sitting in judgment of anyone else.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Steve

    Not good enough. Fire Mr. Paterno immediately. He should be thankful he isn't being held liable by the police. Also fire the President of the University for not doing his job as well as any other staff who knew about this. Furthermore, to all the Paterno zombies out there supporting him, you should be utterly ashamed of yourselves for taking the side of a creep. Where is your sensitvity to the abused?

    November 9, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    I love how this article states that "critics say Paterno should of went to the police". The guy Schultz, who is the one charged with perjury, oversaw the university police department. I would qualify going to the head of the university police department as going to the police. It is ashame how much of the facts aren't being reported on and how much of people's opions are.

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

      University Police are about as impotent as mall cops. You can't tell me that after all the time he spent at Penn State Paterno didn't know someone in real law enforcement? I believe we're going to find out a lot of things that were going on in this program that probably violated NCAA rules and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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

      Ok so just so I am clear it is now Joe's responsibility to not only tell the police but the "real police". You mean the ones that looked into the incident in 1998 and found no wrong doing. Or maybe since Joe is a staunch republican he should of just called the governer or president. I mean it is amazing how many people are the moral police and can see so clearly now that it is 9 years later.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Dew

      Refreshing to read a comment with over an ounce of intelligence.

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

      University Police had jurisdiction. Paterno reported this to them.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      If the campus cops are mall cops, they're damned well-armed ones. It may not be true at other universities, but at PSU, the campus cops *are* "real police"; actually, they're more professional and more real than the town cops.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. soupeater

    Not good enough. Why should he get to retire on HIS terms? FIRE HIM...NOW!

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

      I agree...................

      November 9, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. sickofit

    This is disgusting. As usual Paterno is only thinking of himself. Retire!!! He should be fired. He will probably be sued. What a sick person he must be.

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

      Trust me, there will lawsuits in the billions over this one..........................................

      November 9, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. Nile Kinnick

    Hayden Fry > Joe Paterno

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