Sometimes real events have a way of transcending sports. In the aftermath of the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, the school’s Board of Trustees have fired legendary football head coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier on Wednesday night.
The 84-year-old coach has been at Penn State since 1950 and has been the head coach since 1966. The Nittany Lions’ 10-7 victory over Illinois on Oct. 29 made Paterno the winningest coach in NCAA history with 409 wins.
Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley will serve as interim head coach for the No. 12 Nittany Lions for the remainder of the season.
The trustees said their decisions were made “after careful deliberations” and made in the university’s best interest. Although Paterno announced he plans to retire at the end of the 2011 season, the board decided that wasn’t quick enough.
Paterno’s dismissal is in response to a grand jury investigation involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky — who was indicted on 40 charges of sexually abusing eight boys during the last 15 years — and how the university handled allegations over the years.
Although Paterno announced he plans to retire at the end of the 2011 season, the board decided that wasn’t quick enough.
“I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case,” Paterno said in a statement. “I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief. 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.”
Prayers to all the victims of this tragedy, especially the children and their families.