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Virginia Tech Hires Penn State's Brent Pry as Head Coach

The defensive coordinator leaves Penn State after eight seasons to take his first head-coaching job.

Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry waited patiently through multiple head-coaching offers before taking the right opportunity. Pry evidently found it with Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech announced Pry as its new head coach Tuesday. Pry leaves Penn State after eight seasons, including the past six as defensive coordinator. He also coached linebackers and was perhaps head coach James Franklin's most trusted confidant in the program.

Virginia Tech will introduce Pry at a press conference Thursday.

"Coach Pry owns a winning track record on the football field, as well as a history of developing young men into leaders off the field and in the classroom," Virginia Tech Athletic Director Whit Babcock said. "He's earned his way up the coaching ranks, and we believe he is the right person to lead Virginia Tech Football and to achieve the goals that we all aspire to attaining. He and his staff will aggressively recruit our region to keep in-state recruits home and attract the talent necessary to win championships in Blacksburg."

Pry and Franklin met in the 1990s at East Stroudsburg University, where Pry was a defensive assistant and Franklin played quarterback. Pry's next coaching stop was Virginia Tech, where he spent three seasons (1995-97) as a defensive graduate assistant.

Franklin and Pry reunited at Vanderbilt in 2011, when Franklin hired Pry as his co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Pry was promoted to coordinator and assistant head coach and followed Franklin to Penn State in 2014.

"I'm truly excited for Brent and his family," Franklin said in a statement. “He’s a passionate leader who'll inspire his team to play their best football; but his greatest strengths are his dedication, relatability and humility. It's those characteristics combined with his deep understanding of X&Os that will serve Virginia Tech and the entire Blacksburg community best."

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The departure is significant for Penn State. While Franklin has had five offensive coordinators, he has employed just two defensive coordinators: Bob Shoop and Pry. And Pry has coordinator some consistently strong defenses, ranking among the top nationally three times in fewest points allowed.

This season, Pry's defense shook its shaky 2020 campaign by returning among the nation's elite. Penn State, which lost several key players on the defensive line, ranks seventh nationally in scoring defense (16.8 ppg) and tied for second in touchdowns allowed (21).

Pry is scheduled to make his head-coaching debut in 2022 at Old Dominion, coached by former Penn State offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne.

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