UPDATE 10:20 p.m. ET: Penn State trustees met Wednesday and decided to fire Paterno, and university president Graham Spanier, effective immediately. Assistant coach Tom Bradley will serve as Penn State’s interim football coach for the rest of the season.
Original post is below.
Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in Division I college football history, says he will retire from Penn State University at the end of this season.
His announcement Wednesday (Nov. 9) came in the wake of a sex-abuse scandal that has shocked the university and involves a former assistant coach under Paterno. One-time defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing eight young boys during and after his time on the Nittany Lions’ staff.
In a statement, Paterno says he is “absolutely devastated” by the Sandusky case and “with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.” A graduate assistant told Paterno in 2002 that he witnessed Sandusky abusing a boy; Paterno told higher ups at the university, fulfilling his legal obligation, but didn’t inform police, which has made him the subject of heavy criticism.
Paterno’s full statement reads:
“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.
“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.”
Penn State trustees are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the fallout from the scandal, including having Paterno step aside immediately rather than at the end of the season.