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Joe Paterno fired by Penn State board of trustees

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 5:45 pm

Posted by Adam Jacobi

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On Wednesday morning, Joe Paterno announced that he would retire at the end of Penn State's football season. On Wednesday evening, the Penn State board of trustees decided that wasn't enough.

The trustees cleaned house at a Wednesday night meeting, announcing that both Paterno and PSU president Graham Spanier were done with the school effective immediately. That means Joe Paterno's legendary, 46-year career as head coach of Penn State is, as of today, officially over. Tom Bradley, who has spent the last 33 years coaching alongside Paterno as a defensive assistant, has been named the interim head coach for the rest of the 2011 season.

John P. Surma, the vice chairman of the board of trustees, announced at the ensuing press conference that the decision to remove Paterno was unanimous. "The university is much larger than its athletic teams," said Surma. The press conference was marked by numerous angry and accusatory questions, many of which Surma chose to ignore.

Paterno, 84, leaves Penn State as the winningest coach in major college football history, having just passed Grambling legend Eddie Robinson in his last game. He was notified of the board's decision by phone call, according to Surma, and after the press conference, he greeted a small group of students who had come to his house by telling them, "Right now I'm not the football coach."

Later, Paterno issued a longer statement from his home, saying the following:

"I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees decision, but I have to accept it. A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed. I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm and please respect the university, it's property and all that we value. I have been incredibly blessed to spend my entire career working with people I love. I am grateful beyond words to all of the coaches, players and staff who have been a part of this program. And to all of our fans and supporters, my family and I will be forever in your debt." 

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Paterno's firing comes as his Nittany Lions are ranked 12th in the nation and leading the Big Ten Leaders Division with an 8-1 (5-0) record. It was the 19th time in his career that a Paterno-led Penn State team had started the season with at least eight wins in its first nine games.

The status of Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and of vice president/treasurer Gary Schultz is still to be determined. Both men face charges for perjury and failure to report child abuse in their roles in the Sandusky scandal. Surma would not say at the conference whether the two men would continue to have their legal fees paid by the university.

Paterno has come under harsh criticism - including from within the community known as Happy Valley - for not taking more action in 2002 after then-graduate assistant and current assistant coach Mike McQueary came to him and reported seeing Sandusky in the Penn State showers with a 10-year-old boy. Paterno notified Curley and Schultz.

Earlier Wednesday, Paterno had said in a statement that he was "absolutely devastated by the developments in this case." "I grieve for the children and their families," said Paterno, "and I pray for their comfort and relief."

Paterno informed his players on Wednesday of his intent to retire in an tear-filled team meeting. Afterward, many players told the media that they had never seen Paterno so emotional.

"In all the clips I've seen of him, I've never seen him break down and cry," quarterback Paul Jones said. "And he was crying the whole time today."

Cornerback Stephon Morris said some players also were nearly in tears themselves. "I still can't believe it. I've never seen Coach Paterno like that in my life," Morris said.

The Penn State football game with Nebraska is still scheduled for this Saturday in the Nittany Lions' home finale. But for the first time since 1950, Paterno will not be there as a member of the Nittany Lions coaching staff.

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Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:47 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Sharp Shooter- 

I have the grand jury report pulled up. What pages say where Joe Paterno knew of anything in 1998?? Thanks.
Is that all you Paterno supporters can do is try to defend him and tear down his detractors based on technicalities? Pathetic.

Paterno ORCHESTRATES Sandusky's "retirement" in 1999 following the incident below from 1998. Why does he do this for his great defensive coordinator if he doesn't know about it and, if he does, doesn't think anything is wrong? The police and the Department of Public Welfare are involved and you don't think Paterno knows about this? Give it up already.

1998: Victim 6 is taken into the locker rooms and showers when he is 11 years old. When Victim 6 is dropped off at home, his hair is wet from showering with Sandusky. His mother reports the incident to the university police, who investigate.

Detective Ronald Schreffler testifies that he and State College Police Department Detective Ralph Ralston, with the consent of the mother of Victim 6, eavesdrop on two conversations the mother of Victim 6 has with Sandusky. Sandusky says he has showered with other boys and Victim 6's mother tries to make Sandusky promise never to shower with a boy again but he will not. At the end of the second conversation, after Sandusky is told he cannot see Victim 6 anymore, Schreffler testifies Sandusky says, "I understand. I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead."

Jerry Lauro, an investigator with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, testifies he and Schreffler interviewed Sandusky, and that Sandusky admits showering naked with Victim 6, admits to hugging Victim 6 while in the shower and admits that it was wrong.

Since: Nov 29, 2008
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:46 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

"Paterno, thinking the news cameras were in 3D, kept waving his monster claw toward the camera."

Since: Dec 31, 2007
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:43 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

when you hear penn state, you think joe pa, something good happens at penn state you think joe pa, something bad happens at penn state you think joe pa, so now a big , terrible thing happens, you think joe pa, never mind if he is guilty of anything let's make this 84 year old man the cause for all this, you work for someone , there is a problem who do you go too, your boss, you have faith he will handle it, so if he doesn't is it your fault?  you have to blame someone, not the high and mighty big wheels or president, let's just blame it all on the coach.  all crap, sure he was aware of what might be going on, but was it the football coaches job to take charge ,

Since: Sep 11, 2008
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:41 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Once Sandusky starts to talk you're going to see that a lot more people were complicit. JoePa knew something was wrong in 1998, that's why Sandusky was forced to retire. He failed that community in a huge way.

Since: Nov 9, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:40 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Sharp Shooter- 

I have the grand jury report pulled up. What pages say where Joe Paterno knew of anything in 1998?? Thanks. 

Since: Apr 19, 2009
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:25 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Before you dare defend Paterno, read the 23 page Grand Jury report!  Sandusky ADMITTED to taking a shower with a minor in 1998 and that he improperly hugged and touched the child (although not his privates) while showering with him.  Paterno knew this and released him of his coaching duties in 1999 and told him PSU would set up special benefit package.  Then in 2002 McQuery and his father meet Paterno at his house (suposedly for an hour and half) discussing the improper sexual activity he had witnessed in a PSU facility shower between Sandusky and a kid who appeared to be 10 years old.  Are you frickin kidding?  This is the second allegation!!!  Jo Pa never questions Sandusky or tries to find out who the child is?  Never goes to the Police?  Allows this monster to stay on campus, even after more children come forward in 2009 and 10!  Even after 8 - 9 victims come forward to testify in 2011, Sandusky still has an office, keys to football facilities, and a parking pass on campus?  This is baffling!  Many others are at fault here too, which called for the house-cleaning we are seeing now.  Jo Pa admitting 9 years later that "I should have done more," is a major understatement!   

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:18 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Hacksaw, here's my question regarding your statement.  Why would administrative officials and the football staff risk everything they had worked for over the years to protect Sandusky?  What benefit would they hope to achieve?  I'm not saying that people didn't screw up.  They absolutely did, and in some horrible ways.  However, was Sandusky such a great coach that the entire school decided to put up with this behavior?  I find that extremely hard to believe, because they had to have known what they were risking if they knew in detail what Sandusky was up to and did not report it.  Frankly I wouldn't take that type of risk for a family member or my best friend, let alone a coworker.  

I find it much more likely that there was significant confusion about what actually happened and that people dropped the ball on this situation.  And people do deserve to be fired because of that, no doubt.  I feel that McQueary, more than anyone else, is at fault, since he alone witnessed this attack.  I find that much easier to believe that than to believe that there was a large scale cover up aimed at protecting a known child molestor on the staff.  Certain things likely were swept under the rug, absolutely, but that does not mean that everyone knew specifically what was going on and chose to look the other way. 

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:17 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

He F'ed up.  What we know is enough for him to be fired.  At this point, NOBODY cares about PSU.  NOBODY cares about Nittany Lion football.  NOBODY cares about Paterno's legacy.  NOBODY cares about how the college students feel.  This isn't about any of that.  This is about Paterno not doing what should have been done.  Be proud PSU students. 

Since: Feb 3, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:12 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

1998 -- First police involvement. Penn State police and the Penn. Department of Public Warfare are contacted by the mother of an 11-year-old boy, who says Sandusky showered with her son and may have had inappropriate contact with him.

This means that AT LEAST as early as 1998, Paterno knew of allegations against Sandusky.

June 1, 1998 -- In an interview with investigators, Sandusky admits showering naked with the pre-teen. He admits that it was wrong, and promises not to do it again. No charges are filed, and the university police chief instructs that the case be closed.

1999 -- Sandusky retires from Penn State after coaching for 32 years. he remains a volunteer, and retains full access to the campus, football facilities, and The Second Mile camp grounds.

Why does Sandusky retire if he did nothing wrong? He was considered a great defensive coordinator in the prime of his career and the heir apparent to Paterno. Wouldn't Paterno have raised a stink if he thought Sandusky didn't do anything wrong or if there wasn't a problem? No, the opposite is true. Paterno orchestrated Sandusky's "retirement" because HE KNEW THERE WAS A PROBLEM.

So in 2002 when the SAME ISSUE comes up again and Paterno is told about it, he and his cronies go into cover-up mode.

Paterno is part of the cover-up and he is the most powerful person involved - I don't care what the titles of the people involved are.

Ask yourselves this, if you were Paterno and you wanted to orchestrate a cover-up, what would you have done differently? The answer is NOTHING. Telling your co-conspirators (the AD and the VP of Finance and Business) who, in turn, sit on the information, just means that you covered your own arse legally while participating in a cover-up. Wake up, homers.

Since: Jan 8, 2008
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:10 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Apparently, JoePa told his "boss" and washed his hands of it.

That's the very heart of the matter.  We have not seen all the grand jury testimony and questioning.  We have not heard from Paterno regarding this very important detail.  Did he ever follow up?  The lack of a comment regarding this would suggest "No".  If he did, then he better start spreading the word.  I think many would change their mind if they heard he followed up and said he was told something that would have led him to move on.

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