It has been a hectic few days in College Football with teams like USC, LSU, and Florida acquiring some of the top head coaches in the nation. The Virginia Tech Hokies did this technique in late November of 2015 after the retirement of Frank Beamer by hiring Memphis’ hot head coaching candidate in Justin Fuente. After two solid years in 2015 and 2016, the Hokies continuously declined into this 2021 season. Fuente was fired after a 5-5 start to 2021.
On Tuesday, November 30th, Virginia Tech looked to utilize a different angle by hiring one of the most established assistant coaches from a power five school in Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry. He was chosen over Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator and former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien.
From 2014 to this season, Pry has been Penn State’s defensive coordinator under head coach James Franklin. In the three previous seasons, Pry has been the defensive coordinator of the Vanderbilt Commodores, also under Franklin. During his eight years at Penn State, Pry has developed elite defenses and many defensive players that would impact the NFL. Penn State had four seasons where they ranked in the top ten in scoring defense under the leadership of Pry.
Pry has developed several NFL defensive stars at Penn State, including two first-rounders in the 2021 NFL Draft in linebacker Micah Parsons and edge rusher Odafe Oweh. Parsons is turning into a potential NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year this season. He has also developed edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos, a two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection.
Pry has experience leading a series of coaches and players into a season of high-volume production and efficiency. He has been looking for a chance to take over a top power five football program as a first-time head coach. He will finally get his chance to do so with the Hokies, a program where he served as a graduate assistant for three seasons from 1995 to 1997.
Pry’s first move as head coach is retaining J.C.Price as the associate head coach/defensive line coach. Price is currently serving as the interim head coach of the Hokies after the team dismissed Fuente as head coach. The Hokies are 1-1 with Price as the interim coach. This past Saturday, Virginia Tech’s latest win was their 29-24 road win over their rivals in the Virginia Cavaliers.
The Hokies are looking to learn from their mistakes after the last few seasons with Fuente as head coach. Pry is more than ready to lead a program into a potential conference championship contender, especially with the fall of Clemson as a powerhouse. The biggest goal for Pry and Virginia Tech during the off-season is to keep the recruits they have acquired in the 2022 Recruiting Class. They also need to step up their recruiting efficiency. The Hokies have been inconsistent when it comes to the recruiting field. Their worst was in the 2020 National Recruiting Class when they finished 76th in the nation and last in the ACC, according to 247Sports.
Pry will take the process to develop his coaching staff through the remainder of the 2021 season as Penn State gets ready for their bowl game. Now that Virginia Tech has one of the most respected and consistent assistants from a power five school as their head coach, Pry’s priorities and goals will expand even more.