Penn State head coach Joe Paterno will retire from the position he has held for the last 46 years at the end of the 2011 college football season, according to the Associated Press, ending one of the longest and most celebrated coaching careers in American sports under a dark cloud.
The proximate cause of Paterno's retirement is unclear, but reports from Tuesday indicated that Penn State was planning Paterno's exit as coach. After a planned press conference was canceled, another report surfaced that a decision to fire Paterno could have happened by Friday; instead, it seems, Paterno will be allowed to keep his job through the rest of Penn State's season.
Paterno has been Penn State's head coach since 1966, and has been coaching at the school since 1950. He led the Nittany Lions to two national championships in 1982 and 1986 and has compiled 409 wins at the school, an NCAA record.
Penn State is 8-1 in 2011, and in the running for a berth in the first-ever Big Ten Championship Game. With the Nittany Lions playing their first game since a grand jury indictment of Sandusky and Penn State figures Tim Curley and Gary Schultz and last home game of the season and Paterno's career on Saturday against Nebraska, expect Happy Valley and Beaver Stadium to be a circus this coming weekend.