By The Daily Item
STATE COLLEGE —
Penn State head football coach James Franklin on Friday announced the members of his first coaching staff, bringing together a unit with extensive collegiate experience, familiarity and strong recruiting ties to the Mid-Atlantic, South and Northeast regions of the United States.
Franklin’s staff includes seven members of his former staff at Vanderbilt that were instrumental in the Commodores achieving unprecedented success the past two years, a coach who worked with Franklin at Maryland and Vanderbilt and one of the Penn State’s greatest all-time receivers, who was a highly-successful high school coach in western Pennsylvania.
The 2014 Penn State football coaching staff: Bob Shoop, defensive coordinator/safeties coach; John Donovan, offensive coordinator/tight ends coach; Charles Huff, special teams coordinator/running backs coach; Brent Pry, assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach; Josh Gattis, offensive recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach; Herb Hand, run game coordinator/offensive line coach; Ricky Rahne, passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach; Terry Smith, defensive recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks coach; Sean Spencer, defensive line coach.
Huff was an offensive quality control coach in 2011 during Franklin’s first season at VU and served with Franklin at Maryland in 2009. Smith is returning to his alma mater, and every member of the coaching staff, including Franklin, an East Stroudsburg alumnus, graduated from a college or university in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast.
Franklin also announced that Dwight Galt has been named Director of Performance Enhancement and will supervise the Nittany Lions’ strength and conditioning regimen. Barry Gant, Jr. and Chuck Losey, former members of the Vanderbilt staff, have been named assistant strength and conditioning coaches. Brian Bell and Galt’s son, Dwight Galt IV, will continue in their roles as assistant strength and conditioning coaches, having joined the Penn State staff in 2012.
“I am very pleased to bring to Penn State a staff of great family men, tremendous teachers and developers of talent, and the most aggressive recruiting staff in the country!” stated Franklin, a Langhorne native who was named Penn State’s 16th head football coach on Jan. 11.
In addition to Franklin, Shoop (Oakmont), Pry (Altoona) and Smith (Monroeville) are Pennsylvania natives, while Smith (Penn State) and Spencer (Clarion) also are graduates from universities in the Keystone State. Seven of the assistant coaches are natives of the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast.
A standout wide receiver at Penn State from 1988-91, Smith returns to his alma mater after successful coaching stops in high school and college, coupled with five seasons of professional football experience. Still among the career receptions and receiving yards leaders at Penn State, Smith spent the 2013 campaign at Temple and helped the Owls passing game reach new heights. The Owls set a school record for passing yards (2,996) and tied the school standard with 23 receiving touchdowns last fall. Robby Anderson’s 791 receiving yards in 2013 ranked fifth on the Owls’ single season list, which included a school-record 249 yards vs. SMU. A standout player at Gateway High School near Pittsburgh, Smith was a highly successful head coach at his alma mater from 2002-12, compiling a record of 101-30 and posting four WPIAL AAAA runner-up finishes. Smith was elected to the Gateway Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, after helping the Gators to the 1985 and 1986 WPIAL AAAA Championships as player. From Monroeville, he also coached at Duquesne (1997-2000) and Hempfield High School (1996) after completing his playing career, which spanned the National Football League, American Football League and Canadian Football League. He made 108 receptions and 15 touchdown catches during his outstanding Penn State career from 1988-91. Smith earned his bachelor’s from Penn State in 1991 and was selected by the Washington Redskins in the 1992 NFL Draft.
Smith’s stepson, Justin King, was a standout wide receiver and cornerback for the Nittany Lions from 2005-07 before matriculating to the NFL.
Coach Franklin and the Nittany Lions open the season Aug. 30 vs. UCF in Dublin, Ireland at the Croke Park Classic. Penn State returns 15 starters (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist).