STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has decided to retire at the end of the season, he announced in a statement Wednesday following a sex-abuse scandal and possible cover-up centered on former assistant and one-time heir apparent Jerry Sandusky.
"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," Paterno said in the statement.
FULL TEXT OF PATERNO STATEMENT
"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."
Meanwhile, former Penn State receiver Rich Mauti has sent more than 800 emails to former Nittany Lions to encourage them to stand on the sideline and show support for embattled coach Joe Paterno on Saturday against Nebraska.
Mauti says he wants the Nittany Lions to show solidarity for this year's team and former players and coaches who have done nothing wrong. Mauti says he's not minimizing the alleged incidents involving Sandusky.
"I'm not condoning any activities that have been alleged. That's not the purpose," Mauti said. "I'm trying to get everyone that has been through that program, that has had a positive experience, to support the kids and the program and the school at this juncture."
Mauti says about 35 former players have expressed interest and he's counting on more coming to Happy Valley. He says Beaver Stadium is where the players can show a sign of some solidarity in support of the program and all of things Paterno has done for it.
He was a running back/wide receiver/kick returner under Paterno from 1974-1976 and went on to play in the NFL.