Joe Paterno Fired: A Timeline of Last 48 Hours

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIINovember 10, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - NOVEMBER 08:  A statue of  Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno is seen outside of Beaver Stadium on November 8, 2011 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse, Joe Paterno's weekly news conference was canceled about an hour before it was scheduled to occur. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Late Wednesday night, Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno was fired by the university for allegedly not doing enough to stop Jerry Sandusky—but the previous 48 hours set the stage for the epic fallout.

The events that occurred on November 8 and 9 laid the groundwork for what you see now at Penn State.

Here’s a timeline of the most important events that occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday:

Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. ET

Tuesday started with the Patriot-News Editorial Board calling for the heads of anyone involved with the Sandusky child-sex scandal, specifically president Graham Spanier and Paterno.

Here’s what the article leaves you thinking about at the end:

“There will be other people who argue that Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno should not be punished at all. After all, they obeyed the law. Eight little boys would have said: that simply isn’t enough.”

Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. ET

Most people expected to get their answers from Paterno’s regular press conference on Tuesday afternoon, but a stunning cancellation sent the world into shock. Paterno’s press conference had been canceled.

ESPN broke the news:

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Tuesday at 12:06 p.m. ET

Matt Millen, a former player under Paterno at Penn State, went on the air to discuss the ongoing situation. Millen’s emotional response is one of the memories from the saga that will stick with you.

Here’s a look at his appearance on SportsCenter:

Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. ET

In the video about the canceled press conference, ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi referenced a ninth victim. Here is more about the new allegation from the Hartford Courant:

“The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, which first reported that the man had come forward, said he is in his 20s, knew Sandusky from The Second Mile charity and had never told his parents or authorities about the alleged encounters from about a decade ago.”

Tuesday, Shortly After Cancellation

The New York Times got involved, reportedly receiving word that Penn State was looking for a way to get Paterno to exit the school.

Here’s the lead from the story:

“Joe Paterno’s tenure as the coach of the Penn State football team will soon be over, perhaps within days or weeks, in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal that has implicated university officials, according to two people briefed on conversations among the university’s top officials.”

Tuesday, Shortly After Article Comes Out

Scott Paterno, Joe’s son, tweets that his dad is not on his way out:

Scott addresses the press while he and Joe try to head to practice:

Not too long after that, word got out that there would be an impromptu press conference held by Joe Pa and the Paterno household:

Late Tuesday Night

Paterno addressed the supporters surrounding his house:

Photo courtesy of @JoeMcIntyre5
Photo courtesy of @JoeMcIntyre5

His spiel went as follows:

Tuesday at 11:27 p.m. ET

MyFoxPhilly.com confirms that Penn State’s trustees will appoint a “special committee” to further the investigation.

Here's a report from the Associated Press:

Wednesday at 11:03 a.m. ET

After a slate of guests on Mike & Mike in the Morning with a wide range of things to say about the matter, things heated up in the latter parts of the morning. As many as 17 more accusers stepped up to attest that Sandusky had harmed them, per MyFoxPhilly.com.

Here’s some insight directly from the source:

“There are eight victims listed in the grand jury presentment, and 40 charges have been leveled against Sandusky, a long-time assistant to Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. Sandusky allegedly met the boys through The Second Mile, a charity he founded in the late 1970s.”

Wednesday at roughly 4:40 p.m. ET

Erick Smith of the USA Today reports that Joe Paterno will retire at the end of the 2011 football season.

Scott Paterno reportedly supports this claim on Twitter:

Peter Mucha of the Philadelphia Inquirer brought us the news, including some words from Paterno himself:

"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."


Wednesday at 10:17 p.m. ET

The Penn State Board of Trustees decides that the end of the season is not soon enough, firing both Paterno and president Graham Spanier late Wednesday night. Paterno was allegedly fired over the phone.

Here’s the report from ESPN:

Wednesday following Paterno’s firing

Penn’s State’s release of Paterno sparked the most startling actions of the two days.

First, Paterno left his house and made a speech from his yard:

However, it was the riots ensuing that made Wednesday a night no one will forget. Here’s ABC News’ coverage of the event:

Paterno also released a statement describing how he felt about the decision to let him go, according to CBS Chicago.

It reads as follows:

“I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees’ decision, but I have to accept it.

A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed. I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm and please respect the university, its property and all that we value.

I have been incredibly blessed to spend my entire career working with people I love. I am grateful beyond words to all of the coaches, players and staff who have been a part of this program. And to all of our fans and supporters, my family and I will be forever in your debt.” 

This scandal has brought up many questions of moral standards, so I'll leave you with my opinion.

More needed to be done on numerous occasions, and the school still has many culprits to target before everything is said and done.

I’m not speaking of legal obligations, either. Mike McQueary needs to be removed from the Penn State coaching staff immediately.

Doing what’s morally right needs to be the highest value for the school moving forward.