Joe Paterno says he will retire as Penn State coach at year's end
Penn State football Coach Joe Paterno announced Wednesday morning that he will retire at the end of the season in the midst of a child sex-abuse scandal that threatens to tarnish the legacy of his Hall of Fame career.
"I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case," Paterno said in a statement. "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."
Pressure for Paterno's departure has mounted in the last week after felony sex-abuse charges were filed against Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State player and Paterno's longtime defensive coordinator.
Sandusky retired from Paterno's staff in 1999.
Paterno is finishing his 46th season as head coach and 62nd year on staff. His Nittany Lions are 8-1 entering Saturday's home game against Nebraska. Paterno owns a career record of 409-136-3. Two weeks ago, with a win over Illinois, he passed Grambling's Eddie Robinson to become the winningest coach in major college history.
The only college coach with more wins is St. John's (Minnesota) Coach John Gagliardi, who has 482 victories and is still coaching.
Paterno was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007. He became Penn State's head coach in 1966 and won national titles in 1982 and 1986. He had five undefeated teams: 1968, '69, '73, '86 and '94.
There have been 889 major college coaching changes during Paterno's Penn State tenure. He is the all-time leader in bowl wins with a record of 24-12-1.
In his statement announcing his retirement, Paterno went on to say: "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."
-- Chris Dufresne
Photo: Penn State Coach Joe Paterno is carried off the field after his 324th career win. Credit: Jamie Squire / Associated Press.