Joe Paterno fired as Penn State head football coach

Penn State Coach Joe Paterno was fired Wednesday. / File Photo

The Penn State Board of Trustees decided Wednesday in a meeting behind closed doors to fire Head Football Coach Joe Paterno as well as University President Graham Spanier.

ESPN has posted audio from the university's announcement. You can hear it in the video box below.


Paterno has been the head coach at Penn State for 46 years, and an employee of the university for 61 years. His firing is a direct result of the backlash following his former defensive coordinator's alleged crimes against children. Sandusky is accused of molesting eight boys over a 15 year period, some alleged actions are said to have happened inside the football facilities on campus.

Paterno was allegedly told of one incident in 2002 by a graduate assistant and he, in turn, told his superiors. He did not, at any time, tell police.

Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley will take over as interim head coach.

Paterno released a statement earlier Wednesday saying he wanted to retire at the end of the season. His statement read in part: 'This is a tragedy, it's one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I'd wish I'd done more."

After two Board members called Paterno to tell him of his firing, Paterno released another statement that reads in full:

"I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees' decision, but I have to accept it.

A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed. I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm and please respect the university, its property and all that we value.

I have been incredibly blessed to spend my entire career working with people I love. I am grateful beyond words to all of the coaches, players and staff who have been a part of this program. And to all of our fans and supporters, my family and I will be forever in your debt."

The announcement sparked outcry from PSU fans. Hundreds of students protested on the school's campus after the announcement was made. You can see raw video from that protest from the Associated Press in the video box below.

Associated Press

NBC25 spoke with Suzanne Greenberg of the Great Lakes Bay Region Can Council on Thursday, Greenberg says adults need to step in if they suspect someone is abusing a child.

"It's very difficult to get into what people call their own business. It's personal business, but the truth of the matter is children need to know adults care," says Greenberg, who says you shoudl not hesitate to contact police or child protective services.

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