U Of M Students, Staff React To Paterno Firing

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  There’s mixed reaction in the Twin Cities Thursday morning to the firing of legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

The majority of students and staff at University of Minnesota said they understand the why Paterno’s termination was needed, but that doesn’t mean they like it.

“I don’t like the choice,” said Julian Palmquist, a Big Ten football fan. “Paterno is one of the better big named coaches in the Big Ten.”

On Wednesday night, students rioted near Penn State after officials announced Paterno and University President Graham Spanier were fired for the handling of abuse allegations against former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

“I think he should’ve done more than he did,” said Dave Minke, a U of M employee. “I think at least they did the right thing. At least they took action unlike the Catholic Church who buried this kind of stuff for years.”

WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

Student athletes at the U of M said they’re sad to see Paterno’s career end in controversy. Last Saturday, he became the winningest football coach in major college history with his 409th win in his 46-year career.

“It’s sad,” said Cole Banhan, freshman running back for the U of M. “No one wants to go out that way. I don’t think it will tarnish his career, but it obviously an ugly mark at the end of it.”

Others on the Minnesota campus, like staff member Scott King, are challenging anyone who thinks Paterno’s firing is unjustified to read the grand jury indictment against Sandusky.

“Anyone protesting at Penn State (should) read the grand jury indictment,” said King. “I would ask them to think of the victims and their families. I would think those families are more important than an iconic football coach.”

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