With heavy hearts we continue our look at the new era of Penn State coaches. Today, the focus is on John Strollo, new tight ends coach and recruiter to the New Jersey stars. Strollo is a career journeyman, with Penn State being his 13th stop in a 35-year career.
Playing Experience. Boston College, for one letter-winning year. Anything else is unknown. It's likely he's played catch with his father/brother/neighbor. But as of now, that remains unconfirmed.
Coaching Experience. This is where we've got some information to discuss. Strollo graduated Boston College in 1976 and immediately went to work. Initially a high school coach in New Jersey along the Jersey Shore (Strike One, John.), Strollo becamse a Graduate Assistant at Springfield College in 1980. This is where his journey begins...
Over the next 32 years, Strollo would work on 12 separate collegiate staffs, beginning with the northeast, then to Tobacco Road, and ending in the Midwest prior to accepting the Penn State job.
Springfield College, graduate assistant, 1980
Northeastern, assistant coach, 1981-82
Washburn, assistant coach, 1983
Northeastern, assistant coach, 1984-90
Massachusetts, assistant coach, 1991-95
Lafayette, assistant coach, 1996-2000
Cornell, assistant coach, 2001-03
Maine, assistant coach, 2004
Duke, assistant coach, 2005-07
Elon, assistant coach, 2008-10
Ball State, offensive line coach, 2011
With only one BCS-conference team on his resume, it's hard to look at this hire in a positive light. He'll be given the benefit of the doubt initially, but it appears that he's a rolling stone that crossed paths with the right guy six years ago.
His official Ball State videohas some fire to it, but that's about all we have of the man. Has anyone ever watched an Elon football game? Did anyone know that Elon had a football team?
Recruiting. While at Ball State, he was the recruiter for part of Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, but I'm fairly certain this isn't the man to go against Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke. Originally from the New Jersey area, Strollo will likely be assigned portions of the Garden State beat. The one knock I've read from others that claim to have some knowledge of his past is that he's not a terribly effective recruiter, so putting him in an area that traditionally isn't very strong is probably a wise choice.
Cupboards. Strollo will be coaching the tight ends at Penn State, a position that is relatively stocked depending on who is on the roster and where they are practicing that day. Garry Gilliam and Kevin Hapleaare the returning upperclassmen, with Kyle Carter coming off a redshirt freshman year in 2011. Brent Wilkerson and Jesse James are incoming freshmen, but who knows if either will stick at the position.
Anything Else? Really, no. He turned 58 last Friday, his Ball State picture makes me depressed, and he has two Syracuse University graduate daughters (they better know who to root for on August 31, 2013). Finally, there's his video with GoPSUSports.com; come to see John Strollo compare Bill O'Brien to pizza, stay for the unbelievably...slow...cadence...of...Strollo's...speech.