Report: Joe Paterno To Retire At the End Of Current Season

The end of Joe Paterno’s coaching career was going to come some day, but I don’t think anyone would happen this way:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — A person familiar with the decision says Penn State football coach  Joe Paterno has decided to retire at the end of the season.

The person says Paterno will announce his retirement later Wednesday.

After the revelations about the child sex abuse scandal came out, this was inevitable. This much is clear, though, if this were anyone other than Paterno, they wouldn’t be allowed to coach on Saturday against Nebraska (which will be JoePa’s final home game at Happy Valley) never mind finish out the rest of the season, which could include the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game and a Bowl appearance given Penn State’s current record.

Update: More from ESPN:

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has decided to retire at the end of the season, saying Wednesday that the effects of a child sex abuse scandal involving former heir apparent Jerry Sandusky have been overwhelming.

“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,” Paterno said in a statement released just after initial reports confirming his pending retirement.

“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.

“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. 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.”

Of course, it’s possible that the Board of Trustees could decide not to accept Paterno’s resignation and fire him on the spot, but one suspects that there’s still enough support for Paterno in the Penn State community to let them get away with declining to do that. The more likely target in that regard, I would think, would be the Athletic Director and other university administration who have been charged in this matter.

 

 

 

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    I’d be shocked if he’s allowed to hang around that long given the groundswell against him.

  2. Rick Almeida says:

    @James Joyner:

    Yeah. I will be really disappointed (but sadly not surprised) if he’s allowed to finish the year.

  3. superdestroyer says:

    I suspect that as soon as Paterno loses his influence at Penn State that a wave of resent from former and current subordinates and colleagues will emerge. Maybe some sports writer will finally compared Penn States signings of high school students who the name of players around four years later and realize that Penn State lies about the graduate rate of its football players. lMaybe coaches in other sports willl talk about how Paterno did not want other teams to succeed (see men’s basketball), maybe administrators will finally be able to talk how Penn State organized itself for football first and education second.

  4. MstrB says:

    The end of the season is way too long to let him hang around, but hey the students rallied in support of him….

  5. superdestroyer says:

    @MstrB:

    The students have decided on hating the university president instead of Paterno. I doubt if the university president was the one who authorized Sandusky to maintain an office or have access to university facilities.

    I wonder if any reporter will have the guts to ask Paterno when the last time he saw Sandusky, if Sandusky has been in his home since 2002, when they last time they had a meal together.

    Paterno has made a career of manipulating other while having people worship him. How many longer will the worship continue. Look at how Alabama fans always overlook all of the cheating that took place during the tenure of Bear Bryant.

  6. MstrB says:

    @superdestroyer: As its been said before, still no cure for stupid.

    Being that Sandusky had been allowed around the facilities and continued association with the school, any answer about being in Paterno’s home is moot. If Paterno would of said keep this guy away from the school, it would happen.

    There is also a big difference between cheating to win football games and letting a child rapist roam free and not doing anything besides covering your ass.

  7. @superdestroyer:

    I doubt if the university president was the one who authorized Sandusky to maintain an office or have access to university facilities.

    Yes, the football coach is in charge of negotiating the retirement packages for professors. That makes perfect sense.

    Although I guess we should just be grateful that superdestroyer hasn’t gone his usual MO and blamed the scandal on the fact that blacks and hispanics are allowed to attend the school.

  8. @Stormy Dragon:

    Just to be clear, Paterno and McQueary had a duty to call the police when it was obvious nothing was happening, and they should both be fired for that. But that does not absolve Curley, Shultz, and Spanier, as superdestroyer seems to be suggesting. Paterno and McQueary failed to do all they could, but the administrators are the one who actively covered for Sandusky and are even more responsible.

    Thankfully, we don’t have to punish just one person, so we can fire them all.

  9. Dean says:

    If the board of trustees don’t step in and do the right thing and fire him immediately, then hopefully the governor will do so. Joe Paterno lost the right to determine when his career was over when he chose to ignore his moral obligation and report Jerry Sandusky to someone who was interested in more than protecting Penn State’s football program.

  10. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Coaches aren’t professors, typically, and the university president wouldn’t have anything to do with deciding his individual retirement benefits in any case.

    I don’t know what Spanier knew and when he knew it but I think he’s fireable for 1) issuing a “complete support” statement within a couple hours of the grand jury indictment and 2) not immediately firing everyone associated with the matter–or at least placing them on suspension if the due process rules didn’t allow that.

  11. @James Joyner:

    Coaches aren’t professors, typically

    They are at Penn State. Sandusky’s access to the university after leaving the football program was on the basis of being “Professor Emeritus of Physical Education”. Paterno is likewise a Professor of Physical Education at present.

  12. @Dean:

    If the board of trustees don’t step in and do the right thing and fire him immediately, then hopefully the governor will do so.

    He doesn’t have the power to. Under Pennyslvania law, Penn State (along with Pitt and Temple) falls into a category of “state-related university” (as opposed to a “state-owned university”), which gives the state government has very little control over their operations.

  13. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Interesting! It makes some back-handed sense, although I’m not sure how it works given the radical escalation of coaching salaries in recent years. Not to mention the fact that most coaches aren’t qualified academically for an academic billet.

  14. @James Joyner:

    I don’t know what Spanier knew and when he knew it

    To steal a line from Casablanca, he was either in on it, or was too stupid to see what was going on. Either way he’s out.

  15. Paterno:

    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

    If this had been the main focus of his original statement rather than “I did what I was legally required to”, he might not be losing so much support.

  16. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Sandusky was nopt a professor but an assistant football coach at a school where the head football coach was more powerful than any administrator.

    The question is what was Paterno’s role in giving access to university facilities. Also, if Paterno knew that Sandusky had been accused or investigated, then how told Paterno that the university had cleared him?

    The University knew that had to fire Paterno because eventaully real journalist (not sports reporters) wouldhave asked real questions.

    It is hard to blame the university president as a university where the football coach is more powerful and paid more than the university president.