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Wednesday
Nov092011

Paterno Out as Head Coach of Penn State Football

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier are out, effective immediately, amid child sexual abuse allegations involving one of Paterno's former assistants, according to the school's board of trustees.

Paterno, who earlier Wednesday announced he was "absolutely devastated" by the scandal and would retire at the end of the season, will not get to leave on his own terms.

In fact, he will not coach another game, John P. Surma, the vice chairman of the board of trustees, told reporters.

Tom Bradley has been named interim coach for the rest of the season.

The end of the line for Paterno and Spanier came a few hours after the U.S. Department of Education announced it was launching an investigation into whether Penn State University officials mishandled the allegations.

Officials are checking to see if the university failed to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act), which requires colleges to disclose reported criminal offenses on campus.

"If these allegations of sexual abuse are true, then this is a horrible tragedy for those young boys," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a news release. "If it turns out that some people at the school knew of the abuse and did nothing or covered it up, that makes it even worse. Schools and school officials have a legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from violence and abuse."

Spanier apparently had submitted a letter or resignation and the board only needed to accept it, a source told ABC News' Lauren Pearle.

The board held a closed-door meeting Wednesday evening and then held a news conference.

The turmoil follows the arrest of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, charged with abusing at least eight boys over 15 years.

Athletic director Tim Curly and Vice President for Finance Gary Shultz were charged Tuesday with not reporting the sexual abuse to police and lying to a grand jury under oath during the investigation.

Paterno and Spanier have come under intense pressure this because they were also told of at least one incident, but did not alert police.

"I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case," Paterno, 84, said in a statement today. "I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief."

"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," he said.

Paterno, who has coached the team for 46 years and is the winningest coach in top level college football ever, said it has been his intention to "serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care."

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