* Famed college football coach Paterno sacked amid scandal
* Paterno led Penn State to more wins that any other coach
* College braces for potential protests at Saturday game
By Ian Simpson and Ernest Scheyder
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Nov 10 Penn State
University struggled to stem the damage on Thursday from a sex
abuse scandal that ended the 46-year career of football coach
Joe Paterno, one of the most revered U.S. sports figures.
Paterno, 84, was fired late on Wednesday after it was
revealed he was told in 2002 that his former assistant coach
Jerry Sandusky engaged in allegedly sexually inappropriate
behavior with a young boy in a campus locker room. While
Paterno told his boss, he did not call the police.
Chanting "Hell no, Joe won't go" and "We want Joe back,"
thousands of students took to the streets overnight in this
central Pennsylvania university town to protest the decision,
overturning a television van in a demonstration in which some
police dispersed pepper spray.
Police said more than a dozen people were arrested and that
there were plans to boost security at Penn State's final home
football game on Saturday, although interim head coach Tom
Bradley said he was not concerned about the safety of players.
"We are obviously in a very unprecedented situation,"
Bradley told a news conference on Thursday of the challenge
facing him. "I am going to find a way to restore confidence and
start a healing process with everybody."
Sandusky was charged on Saturday with sexually abusing
eight young boys over more than a decade and former Penn State
athletic director Tim Curley and former finance official Gary
Schultz, were charged with failing to report an incident.
Sandusky, Curley and Schultz have all denied the charges.
Along with Paterno, Penn State University President Graham
Spanier was also fired on Wednesday after 16 years in the job.
Paterno, in a statement on Wednesday announcing that he
would resign hours before he was sacked, said: "With the
benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."
He met his legal obligation by reporting the abuse
allegation to Curley, legal experts said.But
he stands accused of moral failings for not calling police.
A ninth possible victim, now in his 20s, has since come
forward and Pennsylvania police have set up a telephone hotline
to receive information about the sexual abuse allegations.
"I'm still a big Penn State fan, but I wholeheartedly agree
with the firing," said Paul Brosky, 40, of Horsham,
Pennsylvania, wearing a Penn State shirt. He said Paterno
should have reported the incident once he saw nothing was being
The interim university president, Rodney Erickson, said on
Thursday there would be a full investigation "to determine what
failures occurred, who is responsible, and what measures are
necessary to insure that this never happens at our University
again and that those responsible are held fully accountable."
The scandal has rocked the sprawling campus of about 45,000
students in State College, the flagship of about two dozen Penn
State campuses across the state.
Severin Laskowski, 19, who works in a local restaurant,
worried about Saturday's final home game against the University
"It will probably be pretty violent. I think there will be
another riot," Laskowski said. "I think a lot of people feel
really bad and others are pissed off."
State College Police Department Captain John Gardner said
he plans to have every available officer working the game and
warned students not to take to the streets, describing the
crowds who protested on Wednesday evening as a "riotous mob."
"If you truly support Coach Joe or Penn State, this is not
the way," Gardner told a press conference. "Stay off the
street. The behavior of last night will not be tolerated."
Tom Corbett, the governor of Pennsylvania said Paterno
supporters who protested on Wednesday evening were "knuckle
heads" and urged people to remain calm.
Corbett, an ex-officio member of Penn State's board who was
state attorney general when authorities started to investigate
Sandusky, said he supported the firing of Paterno and Spanier.
"When it comes to the safety of children, there can be no
margin of error," Corbett told a press conference. He said he
was "disappointed" in the two men for their lack of oversight.
College football is hugely popular in the United States,
drawing massive television audiences every Saturday in the late
summer and fall and filling huge stadiums. Penn State's Beaver
Stadium, which seats about 106,000, is one of the largest.
Sports experts said Penn State's football program will
struggle since potential players now have to decide if they
want to play for a school clouded by scandal and without their
famed coach, who was known for pushing students to be the best
they could be both on the playing field and in the classroom.
"I think the fallout on recruiting and the team will be
extremely long-lived. Joe Paterno is Penn State football," said
Josh Helmholdt, Midwest football recruiting analyst at
rivals.com. "Other schools are already trying to phone Penn
Teams generate million of dollars in revenue and successful
ones raise the profile of their universities. Questions have
been raised whether the controversy could harm the university's
current $2 billion capital campaign.
The university urged donors not to reconsider pledges and
assured supporters no funds or philanthropic resources will be
used for legal expenses for the university employees charged.
Bill Prizer, who graduated from Penn State in 1967, said he
doesn't plan on curbing his giving. "Paterno has done nothing
legally wrong, but he did transgress a moral boundary," said
Prizer, who now owns a wealth management firm.
Paterno has won two national championships, more games than
any other college football coach and the adoration of Penn
State's students, alumni and staff. He had said earlier on
Wednesday that he would step down at the end of the season.