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Paterno, Penn State president out immediately

STATE COLLEGE, PA (WWAY) — The historic career of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is over. The school’s Board of Trustees announced at a news conference late Wednesday night that Paterno and school president Graham Spanier are out immediately.

Assistant coach Tom Bradley will coach the Nittany Lions Saturday when they host Nebraska in Penn State’s final home game of the season. Provost Rodney Erickson has been named interim president.

Board of Trustees Vice Chair John P. Surma said the board notified Paterno by phone of its unanimous decision earlier in the evening. Spanier submitted his resignation after reportedly being told by trustees to quit or be fired.

“I think in the long term we’ve done the right thing,” Surma said of the decision. “We thought that because of our difficulties that have engulfed our university, and they have been great, it was necessary to make a change in the leadership to set a course for a new direction.”

Paterno’s dismissal comes hours after the coach said he would retire at the end of the season and four days after former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested on 40 counts of sex abuse against children, including some alleged incidents on the Penn State campus. Paterno was made aware in 2002 of one of those incidents, when a graduate assistant told him he caught Sandusky in a football locker room shower with a boy about 10 years old. Paterno passed the information on to the school’s athletic director and a vice president, who have been indicted on perjury charges based on their testimony to a grand jury investigating the Sandusky case.

Paterno was in the middle of his 46th season as Penn State head coach. In his last game two weeks ago Paterno notched his 409th career win, which moved him past Eddie Robinson for first place in the history of Division I football.

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