Penn State fires coach Joe Paterno

Penn State fired legendary football head coach Joe Paterno on Wednesday night due to his connection to the sex scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, former assistant coach for the PSU football program.

Paterno, 84, and head coach of the Nittany Lions for 46 years, had announced earlier in the day that he would retire at the end of the collegiate football year. But the university’s board of trustees decided not to wait.

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According to published reports, the board’s vice chairman, John Suma, said that “these decisions were made after careful deliberations and in the best interests of the university as a whole."

Authorities said Sandusky, once Paterno’s heir-apparent to head the football program, which won two national championships under Paterno, has been charged with 40 criminal counts, accusing him of molesting eight young boys between 1994 and 2009.

Two PSU administrators — athletic director Tim Curley and a vice president, Gary Schultz — have been charged with failing to notify authorities of a 2002 incident reported by an eyewitness, and they have since stepped down from their Penn State posts.

According to reports, Paterno notified Curley in 2002 when a graduate student came to him and told of witnessing Sandusky raping a young boy in the shower.

Paterno has not been charged with any wrongdoing. But he has been roundly criticized for not doing more to stop Sandusky.

The U.S. Department of Education said Wednesday it would investigate Penn State's handling of the matter.

Paterno in a statement called the affair 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.