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. BinVA

    This is what CAN happen if activities unrelated to the mission of a university (teaching, research, public service) are allowed to become more important than the mission itself. All universities should become Division III (or whatever they're called now) schools; no athletic scholarships, just real student-athletes. If cities or states want to have semi-pro sports then should set them up independent of the universities, much like the minor baseball leagues in this country or the junior hockey system in Canada. Then the athletes could get focus on what they want to do and get paid (over the table) for their efforts.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. C

    The university should require Paterno's immediate resignation or fire him. The "King" should not be allowed to still live by his own rules. If they let him just "retire", he has still won. He needs to feel some responsibility for his disregard for this grave moral failure.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. a disgrace

    why did he just look the other way?he can take his ridiculous statue with him for his retirement gift..

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

      He didn't look the other way...........Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said it appeared Paterno had met his obligations under state law

      November 9, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • LL

      Yes JP, by the skin of his teeth, he followed the law....but morally he's corrupt. He KNEW and did NOTHING! Shame on him. Lives have been destroyed, and he was in a position to stop it, and didn't. Glad he 'obeyed the law.'

      November 9, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Connie

    I'm disappointed. Since when do we put a college team ahead of a horrible crime. Retire at the end of the season????
    He needs to go now, along with anyone else involved. He obviously chose to put the whole thing in the back of his mind. So we know where HIS priorities are.

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

      He was NOT INVOLVED in any cover up! Paterno reported the abuse to George Schultz, the head of the University Police. The University Police had jurisdiction over this situation. Once it was in the hands of the police, anything that happened during their investigation (including perjury by Penn State administration) was out of Paterno's control.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    The Penn State Pedophile's

    Has a ring doesnt it?

    November 9, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. Geoffrey

    Let's clarify a few things here since CNN seems to care not to provide the whole story.
    1. Penn State University is on University Park Campus, which has a full police force.
    2. Joe Paterno reported the incident to his boss Tim Curley and Senior Vice President for Finanace and Business Gary Schultz, who was in charge of the University Park police
    3. If the University Park police does not have the capacity to control an event or fulfill an investigation, it is their responsibility to seek support from State College, Centre County, or Commmonwealth police.

    We do not know if Paterno followed up with Schultz. If he did, we do not know what Paterno was led to believe. What is known now is that Schultz did not commence an investigation. Also, the Grand Jury report states that Paterno was given minimal information from Mike McQueary who witnessed the alleged abuse. Now if Paterno knew more or did not follow up, he is morally culpable. Until we know more though, I am not going to crucify a man for inaction with what we know or think he may have known in hindsight after he has done so much good for a University.

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

      THANK YOU! People are so quick to judge Paterno that they're making up blatant lies about what he did and didn't do. Fact is, he went to the police who had jurisdiction over the campus.

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

      I totally disagree that JoePa's knowledge (i.e., lack thereof of all the gory details) should excuse him from being more proactive in this situation. Any mention of possible abuse at any level should have set off a red flag in his mind then and there.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      I thank you also. I am amazed how this fact has not been reported by anyone and I agree if we find out Paterno knew more and didn't do anything than he should be crucified. It is ridiculous that the media is crucifying him without any of the facts.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • DL PSU 05

      you are correct, I have read all the reports and the way the media is reporting this is garbage. I support Joe Paw! Fight on State! WE ARE.... PENN STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Lewis

      Thank you for trying to provide a balanced view of the situation vs others who want to start judging someone without having all the facts. Watching the pile on affect is both disturbing and disappointing. Let's try to hold off on all the inflammatory comments until more facts come out. My thoughts and prayers are with the affected children and their families. Joe Paterno has done a great deal for Penn State and believed he was doing the right thing at the time and following university procedures - "kicking him to the curb" here is clearly unwarranted.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Plug1

    Good by Joe...TODAY!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. schmoe05

    Are you kidding me?

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

    Paterno's apology rings hollow in that he did not clearly accept responsibility for his inaction.

    "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."

    What pap. His inaction, as well as the inaction of others, condemned an unknown number of innocent young boys to cycles of unspeakable abuse.

    In particular, the DA who declined to act in the face of the politically powerful Penn State football program (even though there was credible evidence of horrid wrongdoing on the part of a member of the coaching staff), investigating officers who did not push the issue up the ladder and university officials that valued a winning football program above decent and moral behavior all contributed to this tragedy.

    No, Paterno is not the only culpable person in this cesspool of depravity, but as the captain of the ship must bear the responsibility of the loss of his ship through no direct fault of his own, so must Joe Paterno "go down with his ship."

    And to the cadre of mush-brained Penn State students that are shouting their support for Paterno, I say "Imagine that you were the frightened, tormented 10-year old being assaulted by a large and physically powerful man. Now consider the fact that this man was free to have his way with you because Joe Paterno failed in his duty. Will you still support him?"

    November 9, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      The DA was Ray Gricar. Just before he was due to retire, Gricar "disappeared" and his disappearance may have been voluntary. If it was, that raises the question of who paid for it? And the answer is starting to look disturbingly like Jerry Sandusky.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chase

    Hasn't Paterno been essentially "retired" as PSU's football coach for the past 15 years or so? I mean, he doesn't really do any "coaching." I've watched Penn State games on TV where the cameras find him talking to the security guards in the tunnel while the game is actually being played! Half the time, he's nowhere to be found!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. who gives a hoot

    wow, an old coot millionaire takes the easy way out to protect his pension.... what a shock!?!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. ME

    Joe could have done more. But, the reality is that he did NOT actually see anything. Why isn't anyone calling for the graduate assistant's head? If he saw this happen, first he should have stepped in immediately and stopped the abuse. Then he should have called the police. Why does the blame shift to Joe? That GA was right there on the spot. He is to blame!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • TAd

      I bet that unnamed GA has a nice job now with references from high ranking officials at Penn but i bet he wont be quitting his job. But i have to ask as a grad assistant arent you held up to the same standards as an employee at the college? So technically why are we not asking for this guy to come forward?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • med06

      They all need to go, paterno, the grad student, curly and schultz...and the president. this is a huge cover up, and it wouldn't surprise me if more people at penn knew about it

      November 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dont ask

    Let him stay the rest of the season...more fuel for Nebraska, Ohio State, and Wisconsin to beat them to a pulp.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. FW Habecker

    Having been caught up twice in efforts to report the same type of abuse only to be told that I could ruin the case if I did not follow protocol, I find it sad that this thing has played out in the media rather than the appropriate channels.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    It can take a lifetime to build an excellent reputation and only seconds to destroy it. This situation is not good for the university or anybody associated with it. So sad.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      You are so right, a lifetime of great deeds can be destroyed by one mistake.................or bad judgement. But that is the law of the land.

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