The gray box returns and bad news, although this time not for Ohio State fans.
Joe Paterno announced today that he will retire as Penn State's head coach at season's end, after a 46 year run in Happy Valley. While it is unknown whether Paterno was already planning on stepping down after 2011, it doesn't matter as his fate was sealed after information leaked about his knowledge of the child abuse scandal involving former trusted assistant, Jerry Sandusky.
In a statement released shortly after news of his retirement started to surface, Paterno said:
"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."
He went on further, saying:
"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."
After an unbelievable run, which features a major college football record 409 wins, it is unknown how the latest revelations at Penn State will impact their football team going forward. Something like this could certainly negatively affect a team for the remainder of the season, although they may have lost their final three games regardless of the circumstances. With Paterno retiring, it could also help the team rally to try and "win one for the gipper" to send Joe Pa out on top.
Either way, one of college football's great legends is leaving the game, in a way none of us saw coming or could be pleased about.