Penn State coach James Franklin and his staff held a barbecue lunch for members of the PSU football beat at Lasch Building Thursday afternoon.
While the annual event is designed for all parties to get to know one another on more of a social level than the usual professional interactions, Franklin did spend some time talking business. During a roughly 40-minute, on-the-record Q&A session following the lunch, Franklin revealed that his entire staff had recently received contract extensions.
Entering his third season with the Nittany Lions, Franklin is under contract through the 2019 season. But when his staff was hired in January of 2014, the members only received two-year deals.
“Our entire staff just this summer got multiple-year contracts,” Franklin revealed Thursday. “All of the assistants, their first contracts just ran out, and they all just signed multiple-year, guaranteed contracts. All the strength coaches did. All the administrators. Everybody.
“So that’s really good from a stability standpoint,” he added. “It’s helpful.”
Franklin added that the two-year deals include possible buyouts, so the university and his assistants both have a measure of protection.
This comes after significant turnover in the staff following the 2015 season. After the regular season concluded, offensive coordinator John Donovan was fired. In January, offensive line coach Herb Hand took the same job at Auburn and defensive coordinator Bob Shoop took the same job at Tennessee.
Former Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead was hired as offensive coordinator and former Minnesota assistant Matt Limegrover was hired as offensive line coach. Linebackers coach Brent Pry was promoted to DC, and former Illinois assistant Tim Banks was brought in to coach safeties.
Franklin said all three new assistants have already set down roots in Happy Valley.
“Now, you have Coach Moorhead, you have Coach Banks and you have Coach Limegrover who have all bought houses here and their families have all come,” Franklin said. “As you know, with the first staff, we had some guys that their families didn’t move — ever.”
Team sources say neither Shoop nor Hand had purchased houses in the State College area. That, coupled with the fact that their entire families never moved to the region, caused many to wonder (rightfully so, as it turned out) how long they would be around.
So Franklin was happy to see his new staffers enter the Happy Valley real estate market.
“Them buying houses is a good sign,” Franklin said. “As a head coach, you always like to see that. But just their families being here, too.”