Franklin's Coaches: A Breakdown of the New Staff

Justin K. Aller

Though officially unconfirmed, James Franklin's staff is reportedly in place. Here's a look at who should be on the sidelines come fall.

Bob Shoop--Defensive Coordinator

Football Background: Shoop played wide receiver for Yale, graduating in 1987. He went on to spend a number of years as a GA and coordinator in division 2 programs before spending three years as the defensive backs coach at Boston College; that springboarded him into a three-year stint as the head coach for Columbia. After he went winless in the Ivy League in 2005, he spent a season at UMass as the defensive backs coach, then three years at William & Mary as their defensive coordinator before Franklin hired him as the defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt in 2011. His brother John is the offensive coordinator for Purdue.

Connection to James Franklin: Hired by Franklin to be the defensive coordinator for the Commodores in January 2011.

Penn State/PA connection: From Oakmont, PA, and spent a year as the DC for Villanova.

Twitter handle: @Coach_ShoopPSU

Brent Pry--Linebackers/Assistant Head Coach

Football Background: Straight up elite. Graduated from the University of Buffalo in 1993 after having suffered a football-career-ending injury in 1991. He came back from the injury as a student coach for the Bulls until graduation, then continued his coaching career at East Stroudsburg and then Virginia Tech, where he coached the defensive line as a grad assistant. He spent time at Western Carolina, Louisiana Lafayette, Memphis and Georgia Southern before Franklin hired him to be the co-defensive coordinator and linebacker coach at Vanderbilt. He also held the title of Assistant Head Coach in 2013.

Connection to James Franklin: Pry was a coach at East Stroudsburg when Franklin played quarterback there in 1993 and 1994. When he got his first head coaching gig, Pry joined Franklin's staff; he turned down the head coaching position at Georgia Southern to stay with Franklin.

Penn State/PA connection: From Altoona, PA.

Twitter handle: @CoachPry_LBU

Sean Spencer--Defensive Line

Football Background: Spencer was a free safety at Clarion through 1995, and upon graduation immediately entered the coaching ranks as a running backs and defensive line coach on the lower division level. He made stops in Shippensburg, Trinity College, UMass (when it was FCS), Holy Cross, Villanova and Hofstra before coaching the line again at UMass in 2007 and 2008 before coaching the line at Bowling Green, then joining Franklin at Vanderbilt.

Connection to James Franklin: Was hired by Franklin to join the staff in Nashville in 2011.

Penn State/PA connection: Graduated with a degree in political science from Clarion University. Coached at Villanova and Shippensburg.

Twitter handle: @SpenceChaos

Terry Smith--Secondary*

Football Background: A four-year letter winner at Penn State, Smith is sixth on the PSU career receptions list. He was selected in the 1992 draft by the Washington Redskins, but soon entered the coaching ranks. He spent 11 years as the head coach of his high school alma mater, WPIAL's Gateway High School, and was hired away by Temple to coach their wide receivers in 2013.

Connection to James Franklin: None.

Penn State/PA connection: Graduated from Penn State with a degree in business management. Is the uncle of former Penn State football player Justin King.

Twitter handle: @CoachTerryPSU

John Donovan--Offensive Coordinator

Football Background: Donovan played for Johns Hopkins from 1993-1996 as a Defensive Back. Right after graduation, he entered the college coaching ranks, starting out as the cornerbacks coach at Villanova before moving through the George O'Leary/Ralph Friedgen ranks at Georgia Tech and Maryland, serving as recruiting coordinator, running backs, and quarterbacks coach at various times. He moved with Franklin to Vanderbilt as his offensive coordinator, his first time in that position.

Connection to James Franklin: Donovan first worked under Franklin as the running backs coach to Franklin's OC for the Terps from 2008 to 2010, and followed him to Vandy.

Penn State/PA connection: None. He's from the PSU recruiting hotbed of New Jersey, though.

Twitter handle: @CoachJ_Donovan

Herb Hand--Offensive Line

Football Background: Hand graduated from Hamilton College in 1990 and got a Master's in Business from Wesleyan while working as a defensive GA for their football program. He worked his way through the '90s in lower division football before landing at Clemson as a GA, and spent time at West Virginia and Tulsa under Todd Graham before leaving to coach the Vanderbilt offensive line under Franklin's predecessor, Robbie Caldwell, in his sole season at the helm of the Commodores.

Connection to James Franklin: Coached the offensive line under Franklin at Vanderbilt.

Penn State/PA connection: None, but he is from New York.

Twitter handle: @CoachHand

Ricky Rahne--Quarterbacks

Football Background: Rahne graduated from Cornell in 2002 as the Bears' leader in many receiving categories, and entered the coaching ranks almost immediately. He spent a year at Holy Cross before returning to Cornell for one year, and then spending five years at Kansas State as a GA, running backs coach, and tight ends coach. When Franklin took over at Vanderbilt, Rahne joined him on staff.

Connection to James Franklin: Franklin was Offensive Coordinator/QB coach at K-State when Rahne joined the staff, and Rahne stayed with the Wildcats until Franklin took over at Vanderbilt.

Penn State/PA connection: None

Twitter handle: @RickyRahne

Josh Gattis--Wide Receivers*

Football Background: Gattis was a two-time all-ACC safety at Wake Forest and, at the age of 30, is the youngest player on staff. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft by Chicago and played for the Bears for two seasons. He started his coaching career as a GA at UNC; he spent one year coaching wide receivers at Western Michigan before Franklin hired him for that same position (plus offensive recruiting coordinator) at Vanderbilt.

Connection to James Franklin: He was the wide receivers coach for two years under Franklin at Vanderbilt, and had coached with the brother of defensive coordinator Bob Shoop.

Penn State/PA connection: None

Twitter handle: @Coach_Gattis

Charles Huff--Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator

Football Background: From Maryland, Huff played for and graduated from Hampton in 2005 before spending three years right out of college serving on the Tennessee State coaching staff. After a year at Maryland, he was the offensive line and run game coordinator at his alma mater before spending one year as the offensive quality control assistant/special teams & running back assistant under Franklin at Vanderbilt. He was hired away to the League, spending the 2012 season as an assistant running backs coach with the Buffalo Bills before spending 2013 as the Running Backs coach for Western Michigan.

Connection to James Franklin: Served as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt in 2011.

Penn State/PA connection: None

Twitter handle: @CoachHuff

Dwight Galt III--Strength & Conditioning

Football Background: Galt started his strength coaching career at the University of Maryland in 1984, and worked his way through the ranks there until Franklin hired him away to head the Commodore program in 2011. He trained former Penn State strength & conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald, who went to school at UMD.

Connection to James Franklin: Galt served as the Head Strength Coach at Maryland when Franklin was offensive coordinator and Head Coach in Waiting.

Penn State/PA connection: His son, Dwight Galt IV, served as an assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach under Fitzgerald.

Twitter handle: @DGalt3

*Note: as nothing has been confirmed from the University, these position groups are not set. As of now, we are speculating that Smith will coach defensive backs and Gattis will coach wide receivers; however, their groups may be flipped, as both have experience with both positions.

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