UPDATED July 13, 2012
by Julie Montanaro
FSU coaching legend Bobby Bowden believes the statue of former coaching rival Joe Paterno should come down.
Bowden's comments come on the heels of a scathing report that shows Paterno and others covered up for now-convicted child molestor Jerry Sandusky.
We sat down with Bowden at his home in Tallahassee this afternoon.
He say he hoped all along it wasn't true.
"I knew Joe pretty well and always liked Joe," Bowden said. "My hopes as they were investigating this thing ... gosh, I hope they find out he didn't even know what was happening. I mean he should have, but I'm hoping ... he didn't know Sandusky wasn't doing all this. Then when the report comes out, you find out it's completely false. Not only did they know, but they covered it up and ten years go by with 10-11 other guys getting molested... that's bad. That's sad. It was sad," Bowden said.
Former FSU football coach Bobby Bowden and Penn State rival Joe Paterno waged a friendly battle for bragging rights as college football's winningest coach. Statues of the legendary coaches stand in front of their respective home stadiums. Bowden says it's time for Paterno's to come down.
"Now just picture this. 100 thousand seat stadium packed. TV cameras all over the stadium. They're going to flash on that statue and they're not going to talk about those two national championshpss. They're not going to talk about those great years he had. They're going to talk about Sandusky, Sandusky," Bowden said. "Penn State needs to put this behind them. So that's why I say, I would remove the statue."
Bowden's comments come in the wake of a report released Thursday. An investigation indicates Paterno and others at Penn State knew about child molestation allegations against fellow coach Jerry Sandusky and fearing bad publicity, did nothing.
The question now is what becomes of Joe Pa's legacy?
"You know what his legacy is going to be. It's going to be this. I used to warn my football players over and over. You be good, you be good, you be good, you set a good name, you get a good reputation, you can kill it in 15 minutes. You can kill it by one act. This is what happened in Joe's situation."
"A guy who's coached for 60 years, which is probably a record at the same school, impeccable. Everybody looked up to him and then to have something like this happen .. you wonder ... why? I nearly wish I could ask Joe why," Bowden said.
"Would the Joe Paterno you know, would he have allowed something like this to go on?"
"The one I knew, uh uh (shakes head no). That's the biggest surprise of it. That's the biggest surprise of it. The one I know, no he would not do it, but he did and the report showed it. We can't hide from it anymore," Bowden said.
Joe Paterno's family says it is impossible for them to accept the idea that Paterno would knowingly cover up for a child predator. They said it's far more likely he and many others "didn't fully understand what was happening."
Sandusky is still awaiting sentencing on 45 counts of child molestation.
July 13, 2012 - Noon -
Former FSU Football Coach Bobby Bowden says a statue of his longtime rival Joe Paterno should be taken down.
His comments come in the wake of a scathing report that found the Penn State coach and others covered up for now-convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.
Bowden says Paterno's statue will always be a reminder of the scandal that ended Paterno's career.
Bowden and Paterno waged a friendly battle for decades to claim the title of College Football's winningest coach. Bowden told the media Thursday that he still loved Joe and his family, but Paterno made a mistake and quote- "this was a big one."
Bowden's comments come on the heels of a report released Thursday that indicates Paterno, Penn State's former athletic director and former president all knew about at least one incident in which Coach Jerry Sandusky molested a young boy and did nothing.
WCTV will have a one-on-one with Coach Bowden later this afternoon, we'll share that with you tonight on Eyewitness News.