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. 1234

    Why is no one blaming PA state police, PA DPW, and the DA for not doing anything in 1998 when they had a chance to press charges??!! Or the Second Mile who knew of the allegations then, WAY before the incident involving Joe Paterno? I guess Joe Pa was just the easiest target for everyone to blame!!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • c230moeb

      November 9, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Just My Opinion

      It's hard to blame the police when the abuse was hidden from them. That's why Paterno is retiring, because he didn't have the balls to turn this pedophile in to the police. You might want to actually read the article.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • PSU in VA

      Absolutely correct!

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

      CNN commentary is off the mark. Joe Paterno's comments on telling the board to focus on more important issues than him does not mean 'leave me alone'. It means, please focus on the issues with the victims and their families. It means, don't make special arrangements for my resignation, unselfishly as Joe and his family have always been toward Penn State. Get it right – your conjecture is way off base, you are an embarrassment to all media.

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

      You are absolutely correct.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay


      While I don't disagree in all cases (especially the police who did receive a report in '98), the fact that others acted irresponsibly does not excuse Paterno for doing the same.

      November 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CHeryl

    Why is he allowed to stay until the end of this season. He should be booted immediately! Disgusting!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • V. P.


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

      Why should you be fired for committing no crime? JoPa has earned the right to leave on his terms. He built that University and football has paid a lot of the university's bills for a long time. Sandusky will pay for his crime. No need for the witch-hunt.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Tony Hopp

      Actually, Matt, failure to report a crime IS a crime.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Rosie

      Before you reach silly conclusions, read the FACTS of the case. You obviosly are as misguided as the other "sheep" that are holding this man up for damnation because there are no other scape goats. Amazingly, I read more venom against Joe Pa than against the perpetrator of the bad acts. This man reported the information IMMEDIATLY to the appropriate authorites. He did not hide, nor shun his obligation, he did that what he was requred. 10 years later, it got reported, 10 years. You blame this on Joe? For doing his duty? Please.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry King (PSU GRAD AND PROUD OF IT)

      Hey CHeryl,
      First learn to spell your own damn name! Second, read 1234';s comments on who is ultimately responsible. You, and those like you, are PSU haters and SUCK! You couldn't get into Penn State if you tried because you don't have two brain cells to rub together. Get a life. Joe Paterno is innocent and did nothing wrong other than to be the most outspoken of all against the poor character that is displayed in sports today. Look at yourself. Where did you graduate from? LSU, USC, or FSU?

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

      Judge Jury and Executioner much?

      November 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Other Football coaches get pushed to resign (Like Ohio State's Jim Tressel) if they know players are trading a team jersey for a $50 tattoo. Maybe legally JoePa did what he was legally responsible to do... But a Big 10 coach has a higher code he must be prepared to meet or go find another line of work.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Dave, Joe Paterno knew third hand information about an incident which may or may not have been fully expressed to him. Jim Tressel knowingly covered up for student athletes that were breaking the rules of the NCAA to win football games and lied about knowing. Two completely different things.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whome

      Another idiots perspective I see.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MEP

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

    November 9, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bellabiv Devot

    With what happened, that's not good enough.

    He needs to go ASAP.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. American7456

    The media has killed this great American hero. Remember Bear Bryant, JoePa's lifelong friend and legendary coach at Alabama? Dead within a year of retirement. I hope every PSU alumnus will be in State College for JoePa's last home game this coming Saturday versus Nebraska – even if they don't have a ticket for the game. Penn State wouldn't be Penn State without JoePa, and We Are – Penn State!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      JoPa retiring, fired - whatever else... You are Child Abuse U now. Sorry.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Just My Opinion

      Great American Hero? He's a football coach and he didn't have the balls to call the police to turn Sandusky in. That's not a hero in my book.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • PSU in VA

      It's sad to blame the entire university on the actions of one man – Sandusky. He is the guilty one...and this should have stopped in 1998 when the police failend to act properly then. YES people – read the timeline!!! JoePA is innocent and has built a great educational university as well as an excellent football program. The man has every right to retire at the end of the season.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Karen

    Football is really stupid anyway.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Because you're so smart? You're a chick, so that explains your comment.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. V. P.

    That would be funny if the subject didn't involve children!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. Red Eagle

    Not enough.

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

    All you people hatting on Jo need to STFU!!! Moral this Moral that bla bla bla just STFU!!! Really Jo didnt touched anybody he did what he neded to do and report the incident, period. So just STFU!!!!! How does that quote go "That without a sin throw the first rock"??? Alright bring it on, who will throw this first rock............SMF just STFU!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • schmoe05

      What an Idiot! Any decent human being would tell as many people as possible about what they knew when it comes to this kind of crime. AFTER the beat the hell out of Sandusky

      November 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. nina

    This is a typical Bunch of sick ....old white men............dont ever trust one...never will....never did....

    You will seee your good times in prison....LOL<LOL

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


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

      ...and prosecuted.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. falcon66

    Joe is still trying to cover his butt. He should quit this minute if he cared at all about the victims in this atrocity (children victims), but he does not. He wants to go out on his own terms and he is hoping all the furor will die down by the end of the season. Asking the Trustees not to spend any time on him is an egregious statement. Joe wants his ticker tape parade and to preserve his legacy so he is putting off leaving for a couple months. He obviously cares nothing about the vicitims and only in preserving the legacy of his 40+ year tenure. Shame on you JoePA

    November 9, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Wouldn't you want all that stuff if you worked your entire life for it? Should it all be thrown out for one incident that was not a crime? JoPa has earned the right to leave on his own time.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. Guest

    McQueary (receivers coach who in 2002 witnessed), Univ. president (name?) both especially need to go (be removed) as well. Ridiculous.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Original Guy

    I honestly feel bad for Joe Paterno he is getting screwed over big time here.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Just My Opinion

      I wouldn't waste any sympathy on him. I'd like to know how he's lived with himself all these years knowing he was letting a child molester walk around free and caused who knows how many children's lives to be ruined. I blame all of the spineless men who didn't have the guts to turn Sandusky in to the police. Great examples for our children.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    Not good enough. He should be fired. What a whiner. They should not spend one minute looking at me. Seriously? Don't spend on minute thinking about what a horrible person I turned out to be. The abuser we all know is a sick diseased freak. Understand that. Cannot understand standing by and doing nothing and letting it continue.

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