The words, spoken by former Board of Trustees Vice Chairman John Surma, echoed through the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel and on thousands of televisions throughout the country late on Nov. 9.
"Joe Paterno is no longer the head football coach, effective immediately."
The former head football coach was fired that night, after a grand jury presentment was released Nov. 5 in connection with child sex abuse charges involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. According to the presentment, Sandusky sexually abused boys he met through the charity that he created for underprivileged children, The Second Mile. Sandusky coached under Paterno's leadership for about 30 years.
Former Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Interim Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz were charged with perjury and failure to report abuse.
Though Paterno was not charged, many--including the Board of Trustees-- rationed he could have done more to intervene in the alleged abuse.
Former Penn State wide receivers coach Mike McQueary, who was a graduate assistant at the time, testified during a grand jury investigation that he saw Sandusky raping a young boy in a shower in the Lasch Building in 2002, according to a grand jury presentment.
McQueary then informed Paterno of the incident, he said at the preliminary hearing of Curley and Schultz on Dec. 16.
Paterno said he "knew inappropriate action was taken by Jerry Sandusky with a youngster." The former head football coach said he relayed McQueary's concerns to Curley and Shultz, who he said he thought would handle the situation appropriately.
Subsequently, Paterno was scrutinized. One night on his front lawn, surrounded by fans and media, he said, "I wished I had done more."
And on Nov. 9, Paterno was fired, after the board determined his ability to lead effectively was compromised in the wake of Sandusky's charges.
But Paterno was not bitter, those close to him said.
Penn State football historian Lou Prato said Paterno was very understanding of the events that transpired after the grand jury presentment was released. Prato said he first met Joe when in his role as a reporter for The Daily Collegian in 1955.
"One of first things Joe said to Anthony [Lubrano] is that 'I am not a victim, the children are the victims,' " Prato said.
Lubrano, Class of 1982, is a Penn State donor and is running for one of three alumni seats opening on the Board of Trustees this spring.
Prato said he was angrier about the situation than Paterno was.
"Joe did not deserve this," Prato said. "He isn't fully to blame. We don't know what he meant when he said, 'I could have done more.' "
Then, on Nov. 18, the Paterno family announced that the former head football coach was diagnosed with a "treatable" form of lung cancer.
Paterno had been undergoing treatments leading up to his death. In addition to his fight with cancer, he was admitted to the hospital Dec. 11 for a broken hip.
Paterno was taken to the hospital for the last time Jan. 13 because of complications from the cancer. He remained there until his death.
But Prato said the scrutiny Paterno was under after the grand jury presentment was released did not contribute to his declining health.
Paterno's health complications were natural because of his age, Prato said.
Prato said Paterno had been recovering well over the summer and was adamant about walking out of the Beaver Stadium tunnel for the first football game of the season.
"He never took any medicine and didn't like to go to the hospital," Prato said. "He was a health freak."
However, Paterno was unable to make the walk or coach from the field for the first game because of his health issues.
Before Paterno's final admittance to the hospital, Prato intended to pay a personal visit to Paterno. He was scheduled to meet with him before the holidays, but said he received a call from Sue telling him not come.
The chemotherapy treatments were draining his strength, Prato said. Sue asked if he could wait until after the holidays to visit, but Prato never got the chance.
Longtime family friend Jeanne Mastoloni Almeida also did not get the chance to see Paterno before his final days.
Almeida said she saw Paterno at last year's graduation, and he was in good health. He was more concerned with Sue's occasional back issues than his own health, she said.
His concern did not waiver, even when the charges against Sandusky were brought to light, Almeida said.
"With all this nonsense, he worried about how this would affect [Sue]," Almeida said.
The first time Paterno spoke to the media after his firing would also be his last.
On Jan. 14, The Washington Post published Paterno's final interview online, when he spoke about his dismissal and the Sandusky case.
"I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," he told the Post. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."
Paterno told the Post he had a wonderful experience at Penn State and still wanted to help the university and the community. In December, Paterno and his wife made a $100,000 donation to Penn State.
For Prato, it's too soon to make a final judgment on Paterno.
"People are acting like it is a Greek tragedy what happened in the last three months, but we have to let it play out," Prato said. "You won't be able to judge Joe Paterno until 20 years from now."
Prato said Paterno's final days were fitting to the character of the man he knew for more than 55 years.
"Joe is a fighter, he was always a fighter," Prato said. "He fought it 'til the end. He didn't give up."