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)

    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.

    Sounds like Paterno did the right thing. It wasn't HIS place to call police. If anyone, it was the VICTIM'S responsibility! More liberal pc strongarm B.S.!

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

      You are actually blaming the victims. It was the 10 year old boys fault. Not the revered coach who claims to want the best for the young men in his care. .

      November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Just My Opinion

      I expect you are one of the "good Christian" rightwingers and so proud of it. You've got a big suprise in store for you when you get to the pearly gates, if this is actually the way you think.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      I'm a conservative and won't be voting for Obama. With that being said, the victim(s) should have called the police??? How g.d. stupid are you?

      November 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    You people need to give it a rest...don't you read the news? The majority of the students and alumni are standing behind Paterno. He has done more for the university and more for athletes than you will ever do in your life. He has earned our support and the benefit of the doubt. Thousands of students gathered in support of him at this home. Unless you are an alumni or live in this town keep your opinons to yourself. I am proud of my university and proud of paterno. In the end it will be very clear that he did what he had to do, with the limited knowledge he had. Whatever happened until innocent until proven guilty. I am so sick of everyone blaming Paterno for this....he was not the one who stuck his co*@ in little boys! You are hardly hearing anything about Sandusky in all of this. The headlines should be about him not Paterno. He is a figurehead for this town and is taking all the blame. Let the man be! Go State!

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


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


      November 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • alisemaria

      I'll side with Paterno and agree that 'he should have done more'.

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


      November 9, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Dutch Cartoon fan

      Its a natural reacton. I know Paterno has been an icon at Penn State, but I still say he should have done more to follow up on these allegations, rather than just kicking it up to the admin and washing his hands of it. Something like that can't go on for that many years right under his nose without him having a pretty good idea that something is not right. It seemed to me like he just did enough to cover himself and that's it. He's not a monster, but his legacy will always be tainted because of this. I definitely think less of him today than I did a week ago.

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

      "The majority of the students and alumni are standing behind Paterno. "

      So f-n what. We're not invested in their football program. We are more concerned with him letting more kids get sodomized. Unlike you apparently.

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

      If Paterno knew about the allegations or knew about abuse in 2002 and actively covered it up or failed to report it, then all is fair. Is PA a mandatory reporting state? If so, could be held legally responsible for not reporting? I don't know. Lastly, you are right, Sandusky should be talked about more, but Paterno made his bed by not reporting it, so to me, he is open game.

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


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

      Putting football exploits over children. You must be so proud.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Yes I did read the grand jury are all missing the point of what i said. I agree maybe he could have done more, but the fact of the matter is we don't know all the facts. We as a society are so quick to condemn. So you support a man who has done so much to earn that support. If in the end he could have prevented it I will be first in line to condemn him...but only after I have the facts. The media is making this out to be about is not about football. It is much bigger than football. It is about giving these children and their famalies justice and that justice does not come from firing paterno, it comes from convicting Sandusky!

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

      (maybe its only the innocent people that co cps gets nailed to the floor...not sure if they actually catch the right people...but if you point them right at it they might have a chance of getting the right people.)

      November 9, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      No he didn't but he might as well have, He failed to protect children over that of a friend. From your comments it's obvious you wold have done the same thing. How many other children suffered because he passed the buck? He knew nothing wold be done, just as others have swept these crimes under the rug so did your beloved coach. You sir are the worst in our society or just plain ignorant. How would you feel if he had been pounding you in the rear?

      November 9, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Pull your head out of your a#@#! Paterno had enough information to go on. He knew that a little boy was being abused – he didn't do anything to follow up! He is bigger than the university and he had a moral obligation to stop this from ever happening again – this makes me sick that you are standing by the man who did not stop this from continuing – shame on him and everyone else who knew something wrong was going on!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Fish

      You are exactly right. Paterno reported the incident to his boss and admitted he should have done more. Unfortunately he is the face of the Penn State football team and is responsible for what goes on with his team, coaches and officials. He didn't do anything wrong, but just like the President of the United States people will blame him because he's in charge.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • medicny

      Paterno had a moral obligation to call the authorities when he learned of Sandusky's crimes. Rather than do that, he reported to the University authorities, and then continued to let Sandusky coach. Shows lack of morals.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |


      November 9, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Denial is a funny thing. I hope you have a child someday that gets hammered in the shower and, when someone sees it, they do nothing but tell a non-law enforcement person about it. And, I hope that person is someone who is in a position where covering it up would make him or his business more money than reporting it.

      You're a numbnut. This isn't about tattoos and rental cars IT ABOUT CHILDREN GETTING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF!!

      November 9, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Leo_Nine's football. It's a college football program. Yeah, it makes a lot of (we can only hope legitimate) money, and yeah, it creates lots of school pride and all that. It's. A. College. Football. Program. If your hero Joe had remembered that nine years ago, we wouldn't all be talking about this disgusting real-life stuff now.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. maldoboca

    They should ALL go from Penn State directly to the state pen!!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. falcon66

    I think kingjames doth protest too much

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

    He should be fired immediately. He's actually a moron to pretend he's helping them by announcing his retirement. It'll make it all the more uncomfortable in a few days when they have to fire him asap. They should have fired him yesterday morning. The campus is full of rallying students chanting "Penn State" and "JoPa". This is not the type of reaction one would want from the student body. They should be holding candle light vigils for the victims.

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

      Agreed. Do they not know that they are making their school look WORSE to the rest of the country? Have they thought one moment about how the victims and their families must feel seeing thousands of them out in front of a man's house who could have had a hand in stopping the perversion YEARS ago? Their priorities are amazingly skewed.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. Paul

    The first paragraph alone makes me want to wretch. Where the hell was he in 2002?

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

    It's a shame...given all he's done for the University and the players over the years. Dedicated to coaching and the university all his life. Probably wouldn't be to far off in stating the university wouldn't be what it is today with out his presence. As a society, we need to step back and look at this big picture and the time period in which it occurred. We're focused on placing people on a pedestal and then knocking them off when the times right. It holds true with politicians as well as notable figures like Joe. So everyone can form their opinion but if you look at it from the period in which it occurred, those who deserve the brunt of the blame are the Mgt. of the university. The media sees blood in the water and an opportunity to take out a notable figure in Paterno and as that sells papers… It's a shame for everyone around..

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

      Whether you like it or not, JoPa did wrong. It has nothing to do with trying to bring someone great down, but everything to do with standing up for what is RIGHT, especially if you are the face of the program.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Greg

    Joe Paterno = Morally Guilty

    As a father I so disgusted with his lack of morallity and humanity. He should be fired now!

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

    This whole situation is STUPID! If I hear an allegation of misconduct at a place of work, I would report it to my superiors-which Mr. Paterno did. It is the responsibility of the person who witnessed criminal activity to report it to the police. The sports radio talks how hosts have been grilling him about not doing more about these allegations...ALLEGATIONS! They have used this for their own personal gain, the selfish slobs that they are. A respectable gentlemen like Joe Paterno deserves far better then this.

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

      Misconduct???? Are you kidding me. This is a felony. That's like saying you witnessed someone murdering your co-worker and called your boss.

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

    I smell a lynching mob here! It's unfair to paint Joe Paterno with the same brush! Do you really think that he would have just sat by if he knew about this?

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

      Joe Paterno did nkow about it, and he did just stand by....

      November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jim

    How about the graduate assistant who saw the incident. Why isn't he being criticized for not going to the police? If he saw a criminal act he should have reported it to the police and not just the coach.

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

    Penn State = State Pen....

    November 9, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. lgwelsh1

    Joe is the scapegoat here, he did EXACTLY what he was supposed to do, he reported the incident to the higher ups. In hindsight sure he wishes he did more but cmon, he followed the guidelines by the book and now people are calling him a bad guy for doing the right thing? There is no win in this situation.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Justinstl

      Bull crap...... he did nt report it to the police! No excuse he is just as guilty as the other pervert. How could he go home and sleep at night knowing this took place? How could he cash a paycheck knowing this took place.

      November 9, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. Justinstl

    its all bull ...He should have been forced to retire 20 years ago! For Christ sake he is in his 80's. That's whats wrong with the US one can find good jobs because we allow people over the age of 65 to work and get paid salaries and wages that could go to younger people who have families to support. He should lose all retirement benefits for not doing what was right and covering up this abuse!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. LouAZ

    Yes, it is clear now. College Football is more important than young boys. Started back in 400 AD or so with the Catholics.
    Of course if he had a loosing record he would have been out years ago. Joe Pope ! Yea Team !

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