Blue White Illustrated

February 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 9 of 67

1 0 F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 2 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M T hree weeks after Penn State closed the 2021 regular season with a loss at Michigan State, head coach James Franklin tackled bowl questions. Among them, the Nittany Lion leader was asked what he'd seen in his evalua- tions of the team's offense for the year. It had been a dismal showing by any standard, but Franklin turned reporters' attention to the new reality of the weeks immediately following the season. With the early signing period set for mid-December, a bowl game coming on New Year's Day, and more staff and player movement in store than ever before, the deep dive hadn't yet taken place. "As you can imagine, from the time we played our last game, we've been on the road recruiting," he said. "I think we did 17 home visits the last week, and then at the same time, I'm trying to help Brent Pry in his situation [as the new head coach] at Virginia Tech. "I'm also thinking, if I've lost Brent Pry, what am I going to do to resolve that? We had some other coaches in- volved in head coaching opportunities, and I was trying to help them and also think about, if they left, how I was going to replace them. And then, what mem- bers of the staff do I need to retain, as well?" At the time, Penn State's only loss was Pry, who had left in late November to take over the Virginia Tech program after six seasons as the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator. That wouldn't last. Following their appearance in the Outback Bowl, the Lions saw a flurry of movement in the coaching and strength staffs and among the team's support personnel. The first to go was special teams co- ordinator Joe Lorig, a native of the Se- attle area who jumped at the opportu- nity to return to the Pacific Northwest. Offered the same role at Oregon under new head coach Dan Lanning, Lorig departed on Jan. 3, calling the position with the Ducks his "dream job." "Over the years, I have gotten the opportunity to work at many well-re- spected universities alongside excep- tional coaches, but I have always sac- rificed living close to family," Lorig said in a prepared statement. "I'm beyond happy to say that I am coming home." Franklin wasted no time finding a re- placement. Just one day after the an- nouncement of Lorig's exit, Penn State hired Boise State special teams coordi- nator Stacy Collins to fill the same role for the Nittany Lions. Bringing with him 24 years of coach- ing experience, Collins made his name developing kickers in stops at Boise and Utah State. "As a veteran coach, Stacy brings a wide variety of experiences to our staff, having served as a head coach, defensive coordinator and special teams coordi- nator during his career," Franklin said via press release. "He will bring sig- nificant value to our program and has a great depth of special teams knowledge and has found great success as a coor- dinator." The same day that Collins was hired, Franklin lost a key staffer and confidant, with longtime director of operations Michael Hazel joining Pry at Virginia Tech. Hazel, who had been a part of Franklin's inner circle dating back to his days as head coach at Vanderbilt in 2011, will serve as Pry's chief of staff with the Hokies. Hazel's departure was not the end of the upheaval for Penn State. On Jan. 7, strength and conditioning coordina- tor Dwight Galt III announced his re- tirement. The move brought to a close Galt's 38-year career in college football, which began in 1989 at Maryland. He had been a member of Franklin's staffs at both Vanderbilt and Penn State. One of the most respected strength and conditioning coordinators in col- lege football, Galt served as a loyal and trusted colleague for Franklin for more than two decades. "Today is bittersweet, as we con- gratulate Dwight Galt on his retirement after a tremendous career of service, influence, and impact," Franklin wrote, publicly thanking Galt. "In the 22-plus years I have known Deege, he has been a mentor to countless student-athletes PENN STATE'S STAFF UPHEAVAL CONTINUES IN JANUARY NATE BAUER | NBAUER@BLUEWHITEONLINE.COM NEWS & NOTES A member of Penn State's football staff since 2014, Chuck Losey now will take charge of the strength and conditioning program following the retirement of Dwight Galt. PHOTO BY BILL ANDERSON

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