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Virginia Tech announces Penn State DC Brent Pry as new football coach

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Former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry is the new head football coach at Virginia Tech.

On Nov. 16, 2021, Va. Tech AD Whit Babcock talked about national search for new football coach.

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech has finalized a deal with Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry to be its next head coach.

According to multiple sources, Tech athletic director Whit Babcock spent the morning putting the finishing touches on the deal with Pry and the athletic department put out an official statement confirming the news at noon.

"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," Babcock said in a released statement. "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, 51, is a defensive assistant with three decades of coaching experience who got his first big break at the collegiate level as a graduate assistant for the defensive line at Virginia Tech in 1995.

He spent the last eight seasons working for James Franklin at Penn State. The partnership started when Franklin was hired at Vanderbilt and the coach brought Pry with him to State College in 2014.

Pry has been the program’s sole defensive coordinator and linebackers coach since 2016. Penn State finished in the top 20 in total defense twice in the last five years and he was nominated for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in the country, in 2017.

"Even after I departed Blacksburg, I always continued to appreciate Virginia Tech, its great players, its championship teams, and its wonderful traditions from afar," Pry said in a released statement. "The resources, facilities, university backing of athletics, and phenomenal fan support that Virginia Tech enjoys made this a very desirable situation."

The move ends a coaching search that started more than two weeks ago in the midst of unprecedented turnover in the coaching ranks with LSU, USC, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Florida among the nearly two dozen programs with job openings.

Tech announced it had “mutually agreed” to part ways with former coach Justin Fuente on Nov. 16. Fuente had an overall record of 43-31 in five-plus seasons and guided the team to four bowl appearances. The two sides reached an agreement to pay Fuente an $8.75 million buyout.

Babcock hired Fuente to replace longtime coach Frank Beamer after the 2015 season. Beamer stepped down after coaching the Hokies for 29 seasons.

According to sources with knowledge of the search process, Babcock initially targeted then-University of Louisiana at Lafayette coach Billy Napier. There was optimism about a deal getting done, but talks fell through once Napier emerged as the top candidate to replace Florida coach Dan Mullen.

The Gators fired Mullen on Nov. 21 after Missouri handed them their fourth loss in five games. The stretch included a blowout loss to South Carolina and a close call against Samford, an FCS opponent.

Tech's official announcement also confirmed that Pry will keep interim coach J.C. Price on the staff as associate head coach and defensive line coach.

Babcock said Price would remain in place as the interim coach through the team’s bowl game. The Hokies clinched bowl eligibility on Saturday with a 29-24 win over the University of Virginia in the Commonwealth Cup.

The team’s bowl assignment is expected to be announced on Sunday.


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