He offers accountability without talking retirement

Updated: May 13, 2005, 2:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PITTSBURGH -- Joe Paterno knows what he needs to do at Penn State this season.

"If we don't win some games, I've got to get my rear end out of here," Paterno told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other media outlets at a fund-raiser Thursday. "Simple as that."

As Paterno prepares for his 40th season as Penn State head coach, he expects to end a skid of four losing seasons in five years, including a 7-16 record over the last two seasons.

"And we went out and had a heck of a good year recruiting, and we're in the process of having another big year recruiting," Paterno told the paper. "And I think we should be able to win a lot more games than we've done. If we don't, then I think everybody steps back and says, 'Hey, we're on the wrong track. Paterno's wrong.' "

The coach wants to solidify his legacy.

"I'd love to leave it having five undefeated teams in five decades," Paterno told the Post-Gazette. "And I think we can do it. I think we can be in the national championship picture in a year or two."

Paterno also commented on the university's court fight to keep his salary private.

"I'd be happy to give [the newspaper] my salary. I think everybody would really be surprised what I'm making," Paterno said. "I mean that. Compared to what people are making today. ... I have no problem with that."

The State Employees' Retirement System board ruled last year that the salaries of Paterno and three other officials are public record after a right-to-know request from The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa.. The university is fighting the salary releases in court.

"I think the university has a principle," Paterno said. "They don't want to release salaries because they don't want to get into a game where one guy who's teaching philosophy is making this, and some guy that's teaching mathematics is making this, and they're constantly defending [what they do]."