The End of the Joe Paterno Era

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Penn State and Joe Paterno, no more. The Jerry Sandusky scandal made waves and they hit the shore fast. After being the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions Football program since 1966, 45 years, at 84, Joe Pa steps down amid terrible controversy, allegations, and an unknown legal future.

Paterno didn’t wait for the board of trustees to meet and decide his future before announcing he’ll be gone when the season is over. They still might decide to let him go immediately. Paterno had this to say in the following statement he released earlier – I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. 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. 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.

Many opinions have been heard in the recent days since the whole Child Sex Abuse scandal broke out, that Jerry Sandusky has been charged with molesting 15 year old boys, some of them at the Penn State Football complex.

Paterno spoke to his players and coaching staff for 15 minutes, in a meeting described as very emotional in which Paterno was brought to tears, walking off to a standing ovation from his players, as told them “Beat Nebraska.”

After 409 wins, more than any other I-FBS football coach, the Paterno legacy suddenly seems completely different. Did he do enough? How much did he know? Penn State’s president, Graham Spanier, will probably resign by the end of the day, or simply be fired. Paterno’s fate, the immediate fate, is still unknown. In a year labeled with Big-School scandals, money and recruiting violations can’t come near the level of monstrosity displayed in this case.

A stain, a mark of Cain, that will be on everyone involved, even on one of the greatest head coaches of all time, a legend, that goes beyond college football.