Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno, the first and only FBS coach in history to amass 400 wins, announced he’d be stepping down from his position at the end of the season.
For the Penn State Board of Trustees, that wasn’t soon enough. Paterno, along with university president Graham Spanier, were ousted on Wednesday evening. Long-time assistant Tom Bradley will reportedly take over as Paterno’s interim replacement. Provost Rodney Erickson will serve as interim president.
The Board’s decision came after Paterno on Tuesday had his weekly press conference canceled amid calls for his removal in the unfolding child sex abuse scandal involving his long-time assistant and friend, Jerry Sandusky. By Wednesday, it became clear that anyone who had knowledge of Sandusky’s alleged crimes and failed to report them to the authorities had to go. Immediately.
John Surma, the vice chair of the board of trustees said, “These decisions were made after careful deliberations and in the best interests of the university as a whole.”
For now, the graduate assistant who witnessed Sandusky sodomizing a young boy in a locker room shower, later identified as Mike McQueary, is still on staff at Penn State.
Paterno finishes his storied career with a record of 409–136–3, 24 bowl game victories, and two national championships. It remains to be seen whether those marvelous accomplishments will outweigh his involvement in the Sandusky sex abuse scandal when all is said and done.
Students and Paterno Loyalists, who rallied on his behalf on Tuesday night, continued to rally-slash-riot on campus again. If the Vancouver riots after the Stanley Cup Finals were thought of as galactically stupid, there’s no telling what kind of adjectives are needed here at State College.
We’ll have more as it comes. For now, here’s Paterno’s statement in full from earlier in the day:
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.
People also gathered outside Paterno’s home in State College on Wedesnday for a second straight day, voicing their support for the 84-year-old ballcoach. JoePa addressed the crowd:
And if you missed it: This weekend’s news that Jerry Sandusky had been charged with molesting eight children came as something of a shock for most people and sports fans. But for readers of the Beaver County Times, the allegations should come as no surprise. That’s because Madden, who hosts a daily radio show on WXDX, wrote a column for the Times back on April 3rd of this year that has turned out to be the most prescient piece of writing on the entire scandal.
And if you want to see eerily prescient creepiness, check out Sandusky talking about his Second Mile charity before a Penn State game back in 2007. In hindsight, wow.
For more context, see our original story…
In Hindsight, “Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story” Was an Unfortunate Book Title
“Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story,” released in 2000, tells the story of the long-time Penn State University defensive coordinator’s life in his own words. In hindsight, the unfortunately titled autobiography may have been a clue that there were two sides to the celebrated football legend.
Sandusky, who retired from the place he helped build into “Linebacker U.” after 32 years the 1999 season, devoted most of his life to The Second Mile, a charity he began in 1977. Attorney General Linda Kelly called Sandusky “a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,” according to WTOP.
The indictment, handed down by the state’s attorney general, followed a three-year investigation that began in 2009 after a teenage boy told authorities that Sandusky touched him inappropriately “several times over a four-year period,” according to Pennlive.com.
The offense dates include 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2005.
Among the revelations contained within, Sandusky was caught engaging in oral sex with one young victim in the locker room shower, and anal sex with another young victim a witness described as 10 years old another time. Sandusky often plied his victims with gifts and trips.
State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan (former chief of investigations at the attorney general’s office) weighed in with a sobering thought: “I don’t think I’ve ever been associated with a case where that type of eyewitness identification of sex acts taking place where the police weren’t called.”
That then-unnamed graduate assistant has been identified as current wide receivers coach Mike McQueary. In the presentment, jurors wrote that McQueary—identified in the presentment only as a 28-year-old graduate assistant—was credible but Schultz and Curley were not. Several sources have identified that witness as McQueary,” according to PennLive.
Additionally, Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Penn State vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz were charged with perjury and failure to report in an investigation. Both men resigned on Sunday following an emergency meeting of the Penn State Board of Trustees.
Curley and Schultz on Monday appeared in a Harrisburg courtroom. A judge set bail at $75,000. Neither entered a plea, but both had to surrender their passports.
The only missing element here is when legendary head coach Joe Paterno found out, what he did to report it, whether he confronted his long-time assistant and friend and whether he will be tarnished by this legacy. According to the police report (linked above), Paterno found out in 2002, after a graduate assistant who witnessed Sandusky and a young boy in the showers came by to inform the coach about what transpired. Prosecutors say Paterno told Curley, the athletic director. But prosecutors declined to say what happened next and whether Paterno really cared about justice in the case.
Paterno, in a statement, said in his defense he didn’t know specifics: “As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.”
Over at The Big Lead on Monday, Tyler Duffy explained why JoePa should resign his position as head coach of the Nittany Lions: “Joe Paterno should resign. He should resign because, in the leadership vacuum that is Penn State University, he’s the only person with the gravitas to fire himself. Facing the most important trial of his professional career, the man supposed to embody courage, dignity and nobility showed weakness. His irresponsibility may have led to the harm of innocent children. His failure, for someone who places himself in a position of authority, is inexcusable.”
Still, with all of this horrific allegations, this typo is not not funny (via Deadspin):
And amazingly, as National Lampoon pointed out, this still exists at pennstate.scout.com (update: the page has now been taken down, but here’s a screen shot).
The caption beneath the picture is just…wow.