Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Joe Paterno fired

Joe Paterno, the Penn State football coach who preached success with honor for half a century but whose legend was shattered by a child sex abuse scandal, said Wednesday he will retire at the end of this season.

Paterno said he was “absolutely devastated” by the case, in which his onetime heir apparent, Jerry Sandusky, has been charged with molesting eight boys in 15 years, including at the Penn State football complex.

He said he hoped the team could finish its season with “dignity and determination.”

The 84-year-old Paterno has been engulfed by outrage that he did not take more action after a graduate assistant, Mike McQueary, came to him in 2002 and reported seeing Sandusky in the Penn State showers with a 10-year-old boy. Paterno notified the athletic director, Tim Curley, and a vice president, Gary Schultz.

Curley and Schultz have since been charged with failing to report the incident to the authorities. Paterno hasn’t been accused of legal wrongdoing. But he has been assailed, in what the state police commissioner called a lapse of “moral responsibility,” for not doing more to stop Sandusky.

“This is a tragedy,” Paterno said in a statement. “It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”

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Penn State trustees fired football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier amid the growing furor over how the school handled sex abuse allegations against an assistant coach.

The massive shakeup Wednesday night came hours after Paterno announced that he planned to retire at the end of his 46th season.

But the outcry following the arrest of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on molestation charges proved too much for the board to ignore.

Speaking at his house to a couple of dozen students, Paterno said, “Right now, I’m not the football coach. And I’ve got to get used to that. After 61 years, I’ve got to get used to it. I appreciate it. Let me think it through.”

He shook hands with many of the students, some of whom were crying.

Other students were upset. A large crowd descended on the administration building, shouting “We want Joe back!” then headed to Beaver Stadium.

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[1/6/12] STATE COLLEGE, Pa. >> New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will be Penn State's first new head football coach in nearly a half-century, according to multiple reports.

ESPN, citing unnamed sources, first reported Thursday night that an official announcement would be made Saturday, and that O'Brien would continue as an assistant with the Patriots the rest of the postseason.

O'Brien has no apparent ties to Penn State, which has rocked by a scandal that also led to the departure of school President Graham Spanier.

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Paterno speaks

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