|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
|Joe Paterno and his wife, Sue, stood outside their home and thanked Penn State students and supporters following Wednesday's firings.|
“The firings came three days before Penn State hosts Nebraska in its final home game of the season, a day usually set aside to honor seniors on the team. Earlier Wednesday, Paterno talked to his team for about 10 to 15 minutes in an auditorium of the football facility on campus. He told players he was leaving, and broke down in tears. Players gave him a standing ovation when he walked out. Junior cornerback Stephon Morris said some players also were nearly in tears as Paterno spoke. "I still can't believe it," Morris said. "I've never seen coach Paterno like that in my life." Asked what was the main message of Paterno's talk, Morris said: "Beat Nebraska." The ouster of the man affectionately known as "JoePa" brings to an end one of the most storied coaching careers -- not just in college football but in all of sports. Paterno has 409 victories -- a record for major college football -- won two national titles and guided five teams to unbeaten, untied seasons. He reached 300 wins faster than any coach. Penn State is 8-1 this year, its sole loss to powerhouse Alabama. The Nittany Lions are No. 12 in The Associated Press poll and the BCS standings. After 19th-ranked Nebraska, Penn State plays at Ohio State and at Wisconsin (No. 18 BCS, No. 16 AP), both Big Ten rivals. It has a chance to play in the Big Ten championship game Dec. 3 in Indianapolis, with a bid for the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio on the line. After meeting Tuesday, Penn State's board of trustees said it would appoint a committee to investigate the "circumstances" that resulted in the indictment of Sandusky, and of athletic director Tim Curley and school vice president Gary Schultz, who are accused in an alleged cover-up. Paterno notified Curley and Schultz about the 2002 abuse charge and is not a target of the criminal investigation. Curley and Schultz have been charged with failing to report the incident to the authorities. Sandusky, who retired from Penn State in June 1999, maintained his innocence through his lawyer. Curley has taken a leave of absence and Schultz has decided to step down. They also say they are innocent. Surma said McQueary had no change in his job status for now. The committee will be appointed Friday at the board's regular meeting, which Gov. Tom Corbett said he plans to attend, and will examine "what failures occurred and who is responsible and what measures are necessary to ensure" similar mistakes aren't made in the future.
The past several days have been absolutely terrible for the entire Penn State community. But the outrage that we feel is nothing compared to the physical and psychological suffering that allegedly took place.” -- John P. Surma,
vice chair of the board of trustees
|John P. Surma, vice chair of the board, said Wednesday that "the university is much larger than its athletic teams."|