AP is reporting that Penn State coach Joe Paterno will retire at the end of the 2011 season. After 46 years as a head coach and 409 wins, he will be allowed to leave with dignity, a dignity, considering the recent child sex abuse scandal, he ceded the right to in 2002. The decision was Paterno and Penn State’s prerogative and it’s they who must deal with the visceral reaction and consequences.
The decision to let Paterno retire on his own terms is consistent, as it displays the same insensitivity and cowardice Penn State University has displayed throughout. Given the gravity of the controversy, the proper question should not be whether Joe Paterno coaches the remainder of the season. It should be whether there should be a remainder of the season at Penn State.
[Update: Paterno’s Statement]
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.