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Penn State Fires Head Football Coach Joe Paterno Amid Scandal [AUDIO]

Patrick Smith, Getty Images

The career of a legendary college football figure comes to an abrupt end. Just hours after Penn State head coach Joe Paterno announced that he would retire at the end of the 2011 season amid controversy, the university revealed other plans.

The child sex abuse allegations surrounding former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky loomed too large for Penn State to ignore. During a meeting Wednesday night, the Board of Trustees fired university president Graham Spanier. Vice chair John Surma then made the bombshell announcement. “In addition, Joe Paterno is no longer the head football coach, effective immediately.” Current defensive coordinator Tom Bradley has been named the interim head coach.

“These decisions were made after careful deliberations, and in the best interests of the university as a whole,” says Surma.

The 67-year-old Sandusky faces 40 charges of abusing at least eight underage victims during a 15-year span, with more allegations possible. The Nittany Lions’ former defensive coordinator was, at one time, considered an heir apparent to Paterno’s head coaching job before retiring in 1999.

Now, Penn State will try to begin the healing process. Surma says, “We promise you that we are committed to restoring public trust to our university.”

Paterno’s first year as Penn State head coach was in 1966, where he guided the school to a 5-5 record. During the next 45 seasons in “Happy Valley,” the coach known affectionately as “JoePa” amassed a major college football record 409 wins, along with five undefeated seasons and two national championships.

What will become of Paterno’s legacy, however? The program that preaches the slogan “Success with Honor” is now embroiled in a scandal that has rocked the college football world — one that has claimed the jobs of Penn State’s president, vice president, athletic director, and now, its Hall of Fame football coach.

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