STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier are out.
Penn State's Board of Trustees fired the university's head football coach and president in the wake of a sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant coach -- which made fans go a little out of control.
Police used pepper spray on some Penn State fans who took to the streets of State College after learning legendary coach Joe Paterno was fired.
The police response happened after the crowd tore down lamp posts and tipped over a news van.
The fans shouted their support for Paterno. These are just some of the things said at the rally:
"We want Joe! We want Joe!"
"We are Penn State! We are Penn State!"
"They're going after the wrong guy...nothing's been proven wrong. Joe if anyone, Joe is legally cleared. So if anyone did right it's Joe."
"Just absolute stunned. I don't understand how they can do this to Penn State in general. JoePa's been here so long. "
"He's retiring this season -- let him play his last game, it's that simple. Everyone here is for that."
AP STORY BELOW:
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Joe Paterno was fired by the Penn State board of trustees Wednesday night despite saying he would retire as coach after the football season ended, brought down by the growing furor over the handling of child sex abuse allegations against an assistant coach.
Penn State President Graham Spanier was also ousted.
"I am disappointed with the board of trustees' decision, but I have to accept it," the 84-year-old Paterno said in a statement. "A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed."
Paterno, the winningest coach in major college football history, learned of the board's decision at the end of a day that began with his decision to finish out his 46th season and leave.
It was not to be.
"The university is much larger than its athletic teams," board vice chair John Surma said during a packed news conference.
Paterno and Spanier were informed by telephone of the unanimous decisions to remove them.
"We were unable to find a way to do that in person without causing further distraction," Surma said.
Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley will serve as interim coach while Rodney Erickson will be the interim school president. The university scheduled a news conference with Bradley for Thursday morning.
"The Penn State board of trustees tonight decided it is in the best interest of the university to have a change in leadership to deal with the difficult issues that we are facing," Surma said.
"The past several days have been absolutely terrible for the entire Penn State community. But the outrage that we feel is nothing compared to the physical and psychological suffering that allegedly took place."
Asked what Paterno did wrong, Surma said: "I can't characterize that. We thought because of the difficulties that have engulfed our university, it was necessary to make changes."
Speaking outside his home, Paterno said: "Right now, I'm not the football coach. And I've got to get used to that. After 61 years, I've got to get used to it. I appreciate it. Let me think it through."
His wife, Sue, was teary-eyed as she blew kisses to about 100 students on the lawn. "You're all so sweet. And I guess we have to go beat Nebraska without being there. We love you all. Go Penn State," she said.
Hundreds of students gathered about two blocks from the campus, with some chanting "We want Joe! We want Joe!" Some shook a lamp post and others tipped over a news van, kicking out its windows. Police fired bursts of pepper gas.
Paterno said in a statement earlier Wednesday that he was "absolutely devastated" by the abuse case, in which his former assistant and onetime heir apparent, Jerry Sandusky, has been charged with molesting eight boys over 15 years, with some of the alleged assaults taking place at the Penn State football complex.
"This is a tragedy," Paterno said. "It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."
Paterno has come under harsh criticism -- including from within the community known as Happy Valley -- for not taking more action in 2002 after then-graduate assistant and current assistant coach Mike McQueary came to him and reported seeing Sandusky in the Penn State showers with a young boy. Paterno notified the athletic director, Tim Curley, and a vice president, Gary Schultz.
Paterno is not a target of the criminal investigation, although Curley and Schultz have been charged with failing to report the incident to the authorities.
The firings came three days before Penn State hosts Nebraska in its final home game of the season, a day usually set aside to honor seniors on the team.
The ouster of the man affectionately known as "JoePa" brings to an end one of the most storied coaching careers -- not just in college football but in all of sports. Paterno has 409 victories -- a record for major college football -- won two national titles and guided five teams to unbeaten, untied seasons. He