Expands earlier story: 84-year old Joe Paterno is out as head football coach at Penn State, along with long-term PSU President Graham B Spanier, in the wake of continuing fallout over a sexual abuse scandal. Paterno, who had earlier announced his retirement at the end of the season, will not be allowed to finish the year but will be replaced by defensive coordinator Tom Bradley on an interim basis. Both Paterno and Spanier faced a firestorm of criticism for failing to act to provide security against further harm.
They’ll be doing something in Happy Valley that hasn’t been done in nearly half-a-century: Interviewing a new head football coach. Joe Paterno will not return next season at Penn State University.
Whether he completes the current schedule remains to be seen, but likely will be known by Friday, when the board of trustees will hold a meeting that will include Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.
Paterno’s retirement announcement early Wednesday comes in the face of criticism over his handling of a sexual abuse allegation involving one of his assistant coaches. Although most agree that Paterno completed his legal obligation in passing the information along, there is a sense that he fell short in ethical and moral arenas.
A 2002 on-campus incident was reported to Paterno by an eyewitness, who claimed to have seen assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in a locker room shower with a young boy. Two school officials have resigned after a grand jury charged them with perjury in covering up the scandal. Sandusky is now charged with molesting at least eight boys over a fifteen-year period, assaults that may have been prevented had someone turned over the allegations to police.
Athletic Director Tim Curley and PSU Vice President Gary Schultz have been indicted along with Sandusky in the scandal that has rocked the formerly scandal-free institution.
While students and alumni have been supportive of Paterno, many expressed sentiments that more should have been done at the time to provide security on campus. Nearly a thousand students camped outside the administration building chanting the coach’s name as a show of support. Later, a rally was held outside Paterno’s home, and the 84-year old acknowledged his supporters.
Joe Paterno has been head coach at Penn State for 46 years and holds the record for the most NCAA large-school football wins. He has won two national championships without run-ins with the NCAA and until the current scandal had developed a long-standing reputation of running a clean program.