STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBSMiami.com) – He’ll be forever etched into the minds of University of Miami fans as the coach who took down the mighty Canes team in 1986, but Penn State head coach Joe Paterno’s career may be over.
The legendary head coach will step down at the end of the current season amidst the growing criminal scandal surrounding the Nittany Lions program.
“I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case,” Paterno said in his resignation letter. “I grieve for the children and their families and I pray for their comfort and relief.”
Paterno will finish his career as the winningest Division I/Football Bowl Subdivision coach in history. Paterno’s career record is 409-136-3 and he’s won 24 bowl games.
Paterno started coaching at Penn State during the Lyndon Johnson administration and spent 62 years at Penn State.
He’s also coached Penn State to 39 winning seasons and been named coach of the year five times and has been a member of the College Football Hall of Fame since 2006.
But, his legacy will be forever tarnished by the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked Penn State University in the past few days.
Paterno, according to a grand jury indictment of his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, was told Sandusky was molesting a child in a shower at the team facility.
Paterno fed the information to his superiors but never contacted police of addressed the situation further. Legally he was safe, but morally, as the local prosecutor said, he was far from in the right.
“This is a tragedy,” Paterno wrote in his resignation letter. “It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”
The stain of the sexual abuse scandal tarnishes Paterno’s legacy of running a clean program at Penn State.
He never had a team on NCAA probation, but this scandal was worse than anything the NCAA could ever have seen.
For Canes fans, they will remember Paterno for the 1986 national championship game at the Fiesta Bowl.
Paterno and his clean-cut team came in to battle the Canes team that showed up in combat fatigues and talked trash through the whole week.
Most pundits expected the Canes to walk right through the Nittany Lions. But Paterno let his team do their talking on the field and led the Nittany Lions to a 14-10 upset over Miami and gave Paterno his second national championship.
Below is the full text of Joe Paterno’s resignation letter:
“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.”