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Joe Paterno Fired As Penn State Football Coach, Spanier Out As President

James Santelli |
November 9, 2011 | 8:23 p.m. PST

Senior Sports Editor

Joe Paterno coached at Penn State from 1966 to 2011. (PSUpix/Creative Commons)
Joe Paterno coached at Penn State from 1966 to 2011. (PSUpix/Creative Commons)
Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was fired Wednesday after 46 seasons, along with university president Graham Spanier, amid questions about how the leaders have handled a sex abuse case involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

"Joe Paterno is no longer the head football coach, effective immediately," said John Surma, vice chairman of the Penn State Board of Trustees, in a prepared statement. The Trustees voted unanimously to fire Paterno, the winningest coach in Division I FBS history.

Questions persist about why Joe Paterno did not call the police when then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary told Paterno that he had seen Sandusky raping a minor in the showers of PSU's football facility in 2002, according to a grandy jury investigation. Paterno alerted other Penn State officials, but says he should have done more.

Sandusky, who coached at the university from 1969 to 1999, faces 40 counts of child sexual abuse. The grand jury says Sandusky used "The Second Mile," his charity for at-risk youth, to prey on young boys.

The firings of Paterno and Spanier follow the resignations of the former athletic director and vice president of business and finance. Tim Curley and Gary Schultz resigned Sunday as they were charged with perjury in the grand jury investigation. Paterno and Spanier do not face any charges.

Current Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Tom Bradley will act as interim coach for the football team, which plays Nebraska in State College, Pa., this Saturday. Rodney Erickson was named interim president of the university.


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