Under Deege: Meet the New Strength Coach

Ties to Craig Fitzgerald should translate into a smooth transition for Dwight Galt III and the Nittany Lions. Get to know the well-respected assistant who followed James Franklin from Vandy to PSU. VIDEO INCLUDED.

Of all the strength and conditioning coaches in college football, it is doubtful Penn State could have hired a better fit for the program than Dwight Galt III. Galt, nicknamed “Deege,” was on James Franklin's staff at Vanderbilt, and decided to come along to Happy Valley when Franklin was named head coach of the Nittany Lions.

It is not just that Galt has 25 years of experience -- including 22 years at Maryland -- and is well-respected in the field. But he is also following in the footsteps of Craig Fitzgerald, his one-time protégée with the Terps and the man who completely overhauled PSU's strength program in two years under Bill O'Brien.

“It's just an unbelievable opportunity for me and my staff to hit the ground running, and continue to build on what Craig did,” Galt said Friday.

So the Nittany Lions now have a strength coach (his official title is director of performance enhancement) who is completely comfortable with the new head coach, and who actually taught Fitzgerald (who followed O'Brien to the NFL's Houston Texans) much of what he knows.

That should also make for a relatively easy transition for the players, who had their eyes opened when Fitzgerald arrived and significantly changed the focus of the strength program (from HIT to Olympic-style) and took months to modernize the team's weight room.

Galt, who inherited poor facilities when he joined Franklin at Vanderbilt in 2011, feels fortunate for the foundation Fitzgerald set at PSU.

“I get maybe the nicest weight room in the country,” he said. “I've died and gone to heaven.”

All of that said, Galt is not quite as high-strung as Fitzgerald, who was known for ripping off his shirt before games, and wearing shorts and T-shirts even in freezing weather.

You can get a feel for his personality in the video above. He talks about how often he's in touch with Fitzgerald (more often than you probably think), Penn State's facilities, the chance to work with his son (former Fitzgerald assistant Dwight Galt IV) and much more.

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