"Failure of leadership" led to Paterno firing - report
The Sports Xchange
Joe Paterno's "failure of leadership" was the cause for his firing as
football coach at Penn State, according to a report released on Monday
by the university's board of trustees.
Paterno, who died on January 22 at the age of 85, was fired on November
9 along with university president Graham Spanier. The board of trustees
released its report Monday in response to requests from "members of the
Penn State community, including students, faculty, staff and alumni to
state clearly its reasons for the difficult decisions that were made
unanimously on the evening of Nov. 9, 2011."
The report states that the board decided to fire Paterno due to his
handling of the information he was presented concerning alleged child
sex abuse by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky in a Penn
State facility. Paterno reported the information to then-athletic
director Tim Curley, but did not pursue the matter further.
"We determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not
to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach
Paterno," the report stated.
As for the controversial decision to fire Paterno by telephone rather
than in person, the report states that the board "saw no better
alternative. Because Coach Paterno's home was surrounded by media
representatives, photographers and others, we did not believe there was
a dignified, private and secure way to send Board representatives to
meet with him there."
According to the report, Spanier remains a tenured professor at Penn
State. Paterno also remained a tenured faculty member through the
continuation of his employment contract, even after his removal as
"We share the grief of the entire Penn State family at the passing of
Coach Paterno," the report reads. "We also continue to respect and
appreciate Dr. Spanier's and Coach Paterno's lasting contributions to
Penn State. We especially honor the great legacy of Coach Paterno in
making his football program a model for his emphasis on academic as
well as athletic performance and for his generous support of Penn State
through the years."
Paterno is the only coach in the history of the NCAA's Football Bowl
Subdivision to reach 400 victories. His replacement, Bill O'Brien, was
hired on January 6 after five seasons on the coaching staff of the New England Patriots
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