Blog Entry

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

Photos, Tweets from riot

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." 

More on Penn State scandal
Dennis Dodd Gregg Doyel
Untouchable no more: Paterno out at Penn State Read More >>
Dennis Dodd Dennis Dodd
As JoePa exits, Penn State football needs complete makeover Read More >>
Related links

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.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview


Since: Sep 16, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:35 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

It still leaves me wondering why McQueary still has a job, he has to be one slimeball to walk out of that locker room and leave a kid there being molested.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:34 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

People that say Joe Paterno didn't break any laws and only failed morally are incorrect.  Any public school employee is by law, a mandated reporter of any sexual abuse.  Joe Paterno broke the law when he failed to alert authorities immediately.  It was the right decision to fire him immediately.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:32 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

In addition, some people think that just the idea of something "inappropriate" happening with a child in the locker room should have caused Paterno's moral compass to immediately contact the police.  It's easy to say we all would have done this in hindsight, now that all the facts of what happened are brought to light.  

No. It has nothing to do with "hindsight" and everything to do with what's right versus what's wrong.  Paterno knew something bad happened, don't kid yourself.  Paterno could have either gone to the police or forced his bosses to do it.  How does he force them? By simply telling his bosses that either they go to the police or he will, end of story.  

There isn't even a one in a million shot that Joe didn't know something terrible happened to that kid.  How do I know that?  Because if there was any chance Joe didn't know what happened, there isn't a chance in hell he would have been fired.  He's a legend for God sakes, and he's spent basically his entire adult life at that school.   After so many decades there is no way they would fire him unless they knew for sure he helped sweep something terrible under the carpet instead of doing the right thing.  

Guys like Joe Paterno in this world don't suddenly get fired unless they are 100 percent guilty of something.... anybody else maybe, but not him.

And to answer what you said about hindsight, it's very easy to say what I would have done if I was in Joe's position.  I hope the day never comes but if and when I ever even think somebody sexually molested or acted improperly towards a child, the police station will be the first place I visit.  There will be no talking to anybody else....  if i was working for somebody else, I'd give it all up.  If I was threatened afterwards I'd sell my house and move,,, but never, and I mean NEVER would I allow something like that to continue if I have any control over it.

It's disgusting... it's pathetic, it's gross.... and most importantly acts like that destroy lives... they destroy not one life, but destroy entire families.  

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:32 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Getting away from the ugliness...

What are the odds Joe Pesci plays him in the movie about his life? It's scary how much they look and sound alike(minus the profanities).

Back to the ugliness...

Joe Paterno had to go. He could have shown some bravery and dignity by immediately resigning and saying it was "for the good of the university." Then he would have been a far more sympathetic character at the end. Instead, he wanted to go out on his terms and even told them the board of trustees, not to discuss his status. He in fact made their decision for them. Sorry, but that's pure hubris. He left them with no choice after that. They would have not only looked wrong, but powerless. He forced their hand with his "decision."

Time heals all wounds. In a few years fans, writers and historians will look at his football accomplishments and give him the credit he deserves for all the wins, championships and the fact he ran a clean program academically and athletically. It should never be forgotten that he failed ethically and morally when it mattered most, but overlooking all the good things he did would be regrettable and blatantly unfair. He was a great coach, served his university well and for the most part was an island among a sea of corruption and upheaval. Paterno is a HOF coach and one of greats long with Bear Bryant, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Woody Hayes.

It's 100% understandbale why the students and alumni support and defend him. He developed a cult of football at that school and is seen as the face of Penn State. They don't want to see their icon destroyed in their eyes for an error of omission. I get that. They almost can't be objective. However, even they have to see he was wrong here. He did nothing wrong legally, but ethically and morally he failed. There is no substantive argument to refute that. It's just love and emotion on your side. In this case, it's just not good enough.

Since: Sep 16, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:31 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Stokomo ... yeah I guess your right about that. everything was kept hush hush because of who Joe Paterno is. I never worshiped Joe but have respected his abilities as a coach for years. Sandusky sounda like he took advantage of Joes friendship quite a bit. When you cover up for someones mistakes that makes you just as guilty.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:30 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Any employee of a state or county educational facility is by law, a mandated reporter of any sexual misconduct. Joe Paterno, broke the law not reporting it. It was the correct decision to remove him immediately.

Since: Dec 5, 2007
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:28 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

In the military they use the term 'conduct unbecoming an officer', and it's basically used to cover actions and behavior that they may or may not have a specific rule against for whatever reason, and they use that terminology as a blanket description of all that inappropriate behavoir. And yes they can kick you out and/or otherwise punish you for it, without it being a violation of any exact rule or specifically written law. Here's an example, you go into work tomorrow and you get there early. You let yourself into the office, or garage, or store, or whatever, and you proceed to drop your pants and take a dump in the middle of the floor. Nobody saw you do it, but you don't deny it and you were the only one there, so everyone knows it was you. Now I'm going to venture a guess and say they don't have a specific rule against taking a dump on the floor where you work, and nobody saw you naked or anything to complain about that, but I'm pretty sure you'd have to agree that you would get fired for it. If you don't, I want to work where you do.
  Right now the Penn State child sex scandal and the ensuing student riots are a top story on every major news outlet in the US and around the world. What Joe Pa did, by his inaction on a situation that everyone agrees now needed much more action taken, was take a huge dump all over Penn State University. All of this 'crap' in the news is because of something he did, which was not doing enough. Covering something up always makes it worse. Just look at Ohio State. If Jim Tressel had reported the tattoos when he heard about them, the NCAA would most likely have given or been satisfied with a 5 game suspension for those players. If you look at tOSU's schedule, going 5-0 without them at the start of the season wouldn't have been a stretch, and they could have played in the Sugar Bowl legitimately, and everyone would have said he was willing to do what was right even if it cost his team, and he would still have a job. The same with Joe Pa, if he had reported it then, it would have been bad then, but he would be seen as a hero now for standing up for what was right and protecting children, and he would be carried off the field this weekend and forever remembered that way. Instead, the smell of what he did will linger on Penn State for years. Cool

Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:24 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: May 1, 2008
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:24 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Jerry don't bring the children to school anymore!  Wow! Pedophile State University. It's not time to worry about healing for PSU its time to get to the bottom of things to the extent they can at this time. No doubt there will be a few people pleading the fifth. Heard late last night that the local DA disappeared w/o a trace five years ago and has not been heard from since. The hard drive on his computer was found in shambles at the time. Reports also state that campus police and local law enforcement authorities were aware of the events but did not investigate or charge.anybody. People should be jailed for these egregious and criminal acts. The acts of the students last night indicate they are fully indoctrinated into the football machine mentality. They should be aghast at what happened and thank their lucky stars that they were not one of the victims. I think by the time the story is known the truth will be stranger, indeed, than fiction.

Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:23 pm

BREAKING: Joe Paterno out at Penn State

Nicely done!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or