Board of Trustees

Trustees' leaders respond to Paterno firing

Penn State President Rodney Erickson was peppered with questions about trustees reasons for firing coach Joe Paterno during a town hall meeting with alumni in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Trustees Chairman Steve Garban and Vice Chairman John Surma issued this statement Thursday in response to those questions:

“Many alumni have asked why the board decided to remove Coach Paterno from his position as head football coach. On Wednesday, November 9, Coach Paterno announced that he would retire at the conclusion of the 2011 football season.

Given the nature of the serious allegations contained in the grand jury report and the extraordinary circumstances then facing the university, the board’s unanimous judgment was that Coach Paterno could not be expected to continue to effectively perform his duties and that it was in the best interests of the University to make an immediate change in his status. Therefore, the board acted to remove Coach Paterno from his position as head football coach effective as of that date.

Coach Paterno remains employed by the university as a tenured faculty member. The details of his retirement are being worked out and will be made public when they are finalized. Generally speaking, the university intends to honor the terms of his employment contract and is treating him financially as if he had retired at the end of the 2011 football season.”