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Penn State Football: Joe Paterno to Retire at End of 2011 Season

by on November 09, 2011 10:50 AM

Penn State coaching legend Joe Paterno announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the 2011 football season, the latest fallout from a criminal case against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and two administrators.

Here is a statement from Paterno released around 10:35 a.m. on Wednesday:

"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."

Paterno, who will turn 85 in December, is in his 46th season as head coach of the Nittany Lions.

This is the latest from the child sex-abuse allegations that have rocked Penn State since last Friday, when news broke that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was being charged with 40 counts of criminal misconduct.

There have been no announcements as to whether Paterno will be coaching the team when it hosts Nebraska on Saturday at noon in Beaver Stadium. If he does, it will be his record 549th game as a major college head coach. He won his 409th game when the Nittany Lions last played, a 10-7 win over Illinois on Oct. 29; the 409 is a major college football record as well.

It is Penn State’s last home game of the 2011 season. The Nittany Lions play at Ohio State on Nov. 19 and at Wisconsin on Nov. 26. There is a possibility that Penn State, 8-1 and ranked No. 12, could play in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis on Dec. 3, with a bowl game in late December or early January an almost certainty.

On Monday, athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz were charged with perjury and failure to report, following the Child Protective Services Law. Curley is on paid administrative leave, while Schultz has retired.

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Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979. He is a senior lecturer in Penn State's College of Communications and teaches a pair of classes in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism: “Sports Writing” and “Introduction to the Sports Industry.” He created and taught for several years the Center’s course on “Joe Paterno, Communications and The Media.” Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PSUPoorman. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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