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

    the players should stand up and say this is wrong and that he should quit now!!!!

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

      The players should stand up and tell you to shut up.

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

      They should stand up and say DON'T retire! You are part of a lynch mob...

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

      You dont have a clue about how the players feel about joepa if you think they will stand up and say he needs to quit... dont post ignorant stuff!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • stillnotregistering

      If I'm a Penn State player, I refuse to take the field or play another down for the university as long as Paterno or McQueary are on the payroll.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. Penn Stater for Life

    Too many people are drinking the Haterade out there. Joe had nothing to do with this. Hopefully McQueary will also step down or face criminal prosecution for doing nothing. What Joe was supposed to put his neck on the line because of something a GA told him? Why didn't then GA step forward and contact the police? For all intents and purposes the Athletic Director was head of the University Police, so Joe did what he felt he needed to. WE ARE

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

      you are a joke....if he would of gone to the police he would be a hero he washed his hands and now he must be fired just like the others.

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

      Hopefully this will lead to criminal charges against Paterno.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • P.J.

      Joe dropped the ball. You can't blame him, but you can blame the GA?

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

      The GA witnessed Sandusky raping a boy and told Paterno about it. Paterno didn't bother to call the cops but did tell his boss. No one involved bothered to find out who the kid was. This was clearly a coverup. Paterno had years to do the right thing and essentially did nothing.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      For all intents and purposes Joe Paterno was and is head of the athletic dept. They all should have done more.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Say what?

      Haterade? JoePa was complicit in letting his friend's heinous crime get covered up. JoePa admitted it's one of the biggest regrets of his life. How can you defend him? The only thing I hate in this case is the innocent not being protected and more boys being abused as a result of JoePa's inaction.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • stumpy

      Yeah. Joe Pa should have stuck his neck out on the line for this. That's what real men do. I had a lot of respect for Joe Pa and the Penn St. Football Program. I thought he was a guy who did things the right way. But, in the end, he proves he no better than anyone else. He was only interested in protecting himself. He did that at the expence of young boys. It's so sick. Real leader make hard decisions to do the right thing. Joe should have gone to the police if the GA didn't.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. dont ask

    I think Joe Pa 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 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jack from Tennessee

    Joe couldnt leave before he got the record... Do the right thing Penn State... Clean House!!!! Children are more important than football, but that is just me

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

      I'M WITH YOU!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      Shut down ALL college sports programs!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Dster

      Jack, I have to agree. Penn State needs to clean house. Paterno, McQuery, and the President of Penn State GRAHAM SPANIER should be fired. The failure to do the right thing is the acceptance of what happened to those boys (estimated as young as 7). They continued to see Sandusky with children and they did NOTHING!

      Unlike most; however, I feel the FBI should be called in to investigate what happened to the missing DA, all social organizations that allowed Sandusky to adopt 6 kids and to have foster kids, and how Penn State allowed free reign of this beast. More people saw what was going on than this. Trust me....this is just the tip of the iceberg for a 15 plus year freedom card to abuse helpless little boys! I could care less about hurting someone's feelings. Penn State here is a message..."clean house now!" That means anyone that knew and approved of this continuing on for 15 plus years. What a disgrace!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. Concerned Parent

    Why is the school letting him retire at the end of the year? UNBELIEVEABLE. Get him out now. How can anyone support this man? Where are morals and values people? Its time to stand up and protect our children. Children before sports. My thoughts and prayers are wilth the victims and their families.

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


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

      Dee, I agree. I don't think any University that plays Penn State should allow Paterno or McQuery on their field! Nor should any student from any other University. Don't allow those coaches to step on your field! Get them out, even if Penn State makes the choice to do nothing.

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

      He was told "I saw something" by a grad student. He told his boss and the head of the university police. They looked into it, they held meetings, they talked to the grad student who saw the abuse, and said they handled it. Was it Paterno's legal responsibility to reject the findings of the university cops and the top executives of the university and ... well, do what?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. P.J.

    He should be gone yesterday. He asks his players to go the extra mile in every game, but he doesn't do it himself. Sad when football trumps the rights of helpless children.

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

      sorry I hit report abuse by mistake....damn they should move that to another area!

      I'm with you!

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

      What does his retirement have to do with the rights of the children? Joe Paterno has nothing to do with the rights of the children whether he is fired, retires today, or quits in 5 years. The rights of the children were violated when the act occurred. We need to stop this witch hunt mentality going after everyone on earth who is in proximity to someone who did something bad. He did what he was supposed to do. There are plenty of others involved who could have done more and didn't. Why should Joe get thrown under the bus?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Crystal

    As always, football first, par for the course..........................tragic. No wonder why best friend who is a Penn State grad from the 80s sounded almost resigned when the news broke about this scandal. Her statement was and I quote, "It's what goes on up there, it always has, nothing new there. They have been covering up dirt like that for year decades."

    November 9, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. JoeRetiremo

    Herman Cain should be the new head coach.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. JT

    Reminds me of Mubarak saying he will not seek re-election. He has to go now. Its disgusting that the defense of him is that "he's a great coach". The Cardinal Law (or maybe even the Pontius Pilate ). of Penn State needs to leave now.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Take it like a Man

    No, not you Joe. The boys.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    Shameful. Allowing Paterno to coach for even one more minute sends the message that the university doesn't find this to be all that serious. He deserves to be prosecuted, not to be allowed to go out on his own terms. I, for one, look forward to the day that Penn State has to pay through the nose for this.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      so true!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Worldwalker

      Why does he deserve to be prosecuted?

      He was told about an incident, a day later, second-hand. He reported it to the guy in charge of the university police. They investigated (read the grand jury's report). He fulfilled his obligations under the law.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. c230moeb

    How JoPa still has a job is beyond comprehension. JoPa is the FACE of PSU and the buck stops with him – Heavy wears the crown. He was made aware of Sandusky's disgusting behavior yet failed to do anything! He therefore created a conducive environment for these reprehensible actions to continue. IF the child in the shower was JoPa's own son do you think he would have acted differently? PSU should close its doors!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. John Steel

    Penn State is a joke. Paterno should be fired immediately.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Marcy

    Let's just hope no one got any tattoos, they knew and they did nothing, there are no words

    November 9, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dan

    All involved in this case should be forced to resign (losing all retirement, pensions etc.) and face what ever charges result from the investigation! I believe the Ohio State coach was forced to resign and it was over tattoo's!!!!! Good to see we have our priorities in order – what a joke!!!! Shame on Penn State for allowing this to continue and even worse is to not take care of it once your secret is out. I feel sorry for the children most of all, apoparently Penn State does not or they would get rid of Paterno NOW, not let him leave at the end of the season.

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