Joe Paterno Fired, Will Not Coach Saturday
After 62 years, 409 wins, 2 national championships, millions of dollars donated, one library, and countless lives touched, Joe Paterno is going out in the worst possible way.
After a lengthy private meeting, Penn State’s Board of Trustees announced in a press conference late Wednesday that Joe Paterno, the face of a university, and perhaps of college football, would not be able to leave this football team on his own terms.
“Joe Paterno is no longer the head football coach, effective immediately.”
It was a unanimous decision.
Earlier in the day, Paterno released a statement, declaring his intent to retire at season’s end.
It seemed a fair compromise–granting those fans still in his corner the ability to celebrate his storied career one more time, while acknowledging Paterno’s involvement in the alleged cover-up.Paterno asked the Board of Trustees to focus on more important matters, and that may have been what did him in.
The Board of Trustees needed to prove that they could wield their authority and prove that they would not yield, not even to a legend.
There will be no send-off for Paterno. We have already witnessed his final game in Beaver Stadium, and we didn’t even know it. Saturday’s Nebraska game will not be a fond farewell for Joe Paterno. It will not be our final chance to say goodbye. It’ll be Tom Bradley who leads Penn State through the tunnel.
Last night, hundreds of students flocked to Joe Paterno’s house, to show their support behind the man who, to them, represented Penn State more than any other. Thousands later fled to the streets and to Old Main in demonstrations demanding the firing of President Graham Spanier, while professing their unconditional loyalty to Paterno.
They got half of their wish. Spanier is out, but so is their hero. And yet, Tim Curley, the only of the three actually charged with a crime–perjury and failure to report–remains an employee of Penn State.
To the students reading this, I can only hope this plea does not fall on deaf ears: The Penn State name has already been tarnished enough by this scandal. It has not only shocked us, but appalled a nation.
Please, do not give them any more ammunition. Do not riot. Do not get violent. Do not do something you will only regret, something that can not possibly help the situation. We understand your anger, your outrage. But pitchforks and torches will not change the inevitable. They will not save Joe Paterno.
We must ask ourselves what Joe Paterno would say. He would say that we should live our lives the Penn State way. May no act of ours bring shame.
This is an emotional night, to be sure. We are devastated. But let us come together and speak with one voice: We are better than this.