Brent Pry named Virginia Tech Football head coach
Penn State defensive coordinator served as defensive graduate assistant for Tech in 1990s under Frank Beamer, Bud Foster; J.C. Price to serve as associate head coach/defensive line coach on Pry’s staff
BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech President Tim Sands and Director of Athletics Whit Babcock announced on Tuesday that Brent Pry has accepted the Virginia Tech Football head coaching position. The Altoona, Pennsylvania, native joins the Hokies after serving the past eight seasons as defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Penn State. Pry returns to Blacksburg after working as a defensive graduate assistant for the Hokies from 1995-97 under head coach Frank Beamer and defensive coordinator Bud Foster.
Pry will be formally introduced to Hokie Nation at 9 a.m. ET Thursday in Blacksburg. Details on the press conference will be shared with the media when finalized. The media session is not open to the public, but will be streamed live at HokieSports.com/Watch.
About Brent Pry:
- A native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Brent Pry’s coaching career enters its 30th year and began during James Franklin’s final two seasons as an All-PSAC quarterback at East Stroudsburg University.
- Pry has helped each program he’s coached to success, including 14 bowl appearances, with top-25 finishes in total defense in eight of his last 11 seasons (4 at Penn State; 3 at Vanderbilt; 1 at Georgia Southern).
- He has played an instrumental role in working with top 10 defenses at Penn State, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Georgia Southern and Western Carolina.
- Pry was promoted to defensive coordinator at Penn State Jan. 10, 2016.
- Penn State’s defense under Pry has been disruptive over the last five seasons. According to Coaches by the Numbers and Pro Football Focus, PSU ranks third nationally in QB hurries (876), fourth in total pressures generated (1305), tied for fourth in sacks (195), fifth in fewest passing TDs allowed per game (1.16), seventh in tackles for loss percentage (10.76) and ninth in fewest rushing yards per attempt (3.51) over that span.
- In 2020, Penn State ranked third in the Big Ten in total defense (328.8; 17th nationally), second in in passing defense (198.6; 24th), second in tackles for loss (6.7 per game) and fourth in rushing defense (130.2).
- The Nittany Lions earned nine All-Big Ten honors on defense in 2020, including first team laurels for defensive ends Jayson Oweh and Shaka Toney, who became the first Penn State defensive end duo to receive first team honors since Courtney Brown and Brad Scioli in 1998.
- In 2019, Penn State (16.0 ppg) ranked eighth nationally in scoring defense and boasted a stingy rushing defense that led the nation in fewest yards per carry (2.6) and was fifth in rushing yards allowed per game (95.0).
- The 16.0 points allowed per game in 2019 were the fewest for the Nittany Lions since the 2009 squad gave up 12.2 tallies per contest.
- On top of leading the nation in forced fumbles (22), the Nittany Lions posted 45 sacks (3.46 per game; 7th nationally), marking their fifth consecutive season with 40 or more sacks.
- Linebacker Micah Parsons became Penn State’s 43rd all-time Consensus All-American and was named the Big Ten Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year, while linebacker Jan Johnson was a Pro Football Focus All-America honorable mention.
- Penn State had 10 All-Big Ten selections on defense in 2019, led by first team honors for Parsons and defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos.
- The Penn State defense was a permanent fixture in the opposition’s backfield in 2018, leading the country in sacks (3.62) for the second time in the last four years and ranking fourth in tackles for loss (8.2).
- In 2018, the defense paced the Lions, finishing in the top 20 nationally in yards per pass attempt (5th; 5.67), passing efficiency (8th; 106.10), red zone defense (11th; .750), passing yards allowed (15th; 181.5), yards per play (15th; 4.72) and third down conversion defense (19th; .336).
- The Nittany Lions landed a pair of players on the 2018 All-Big Ten first team (Amani Oruwariye, Gross-Matos) and had six defensive selections on the all-conference squad.
- Parsons became the first freshman (true or redshirt) in Penn State history to lead the team in tackles with 83 stops in 2018.
- In 2017, All-Big Ten linebacker Jason Cabinda was the leader of the defense that helped the Nittany Lions to a second-straight New Year’s Six bowl game for the first time since 1985 (Orange) and 1986 (Fiesta).
- Pry, who was a 2017 Broyles Award nominee for top assistant coach in the country, developed a dominant defense that finished in the top 25 in the FBS in scoring defense (7th; 16.5), sacks (7th; 3.23), rushing defense (14th; 118.0), total defense (17th; 329.5), team passing efficiency defense (21st; 114.88), turnovers gained (23rd; 25) and tackles for loss (25th; 7.2).
- In his first season as defensive coordinator, Pry helped the Nittany Lions to the 2016 Big Ten Championship by guiding a defense that finished 37th in FBS total defense (367.9), seventh in tackles for loss (8.1) and 19th in sacks (2.86) despite a significant number of injuries to the linebacking corps.
- As co-defensive coordinator for Penn State, Pry helped direct a unit that had back-to-back Top 15 finishes in total defense. In 2015, the Nittany Lions finished 14th, giving up 324.5 yards per game. Under Pry’s tutelage in 2014, the Penn State defense finished second in FBS in total defense, allowing just 278.7 yards per game, improving 46 spots from the 2013 season when the Lions finished 48th while giving up 381.3 yards per game.
- In 2014, Pry was a finalist for Football Scoop’s Linebackers Coach of the Year to continue the “Linebacker U” tradition.
- Mike Hull earned the Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year award and eight All-America honors in 2014. Hull led the Big Ten with 140 tackles, tied for fourth in school season history.
- Pry tutored the Vanderbilt linebackers and was co-defensive coordinator from 2011-13. The linebackers led the team in tackles for loss during each of Pry’s three seasons and he helped Chris Marve earn All-SEC honors in 2011.
- While at Georgia Southern in 2010, his defensive unit helped the Eagles to a win over No. 1 Appalachian State and an appearance in the NCAA FCS semifinals.
- A member of the Memphis staff from 2007-09, Pry’s defensive line corps helped the Tigers to back-to-back bowl appearances.
- He also coached at Louisiana-Lafayette (2002-06), boosting the Ragin’ Cajuns to their first Sun Belt Conference championship, Western Carolina (1998-2001) and Virginia Tech (1995-97), helping the Hokies to three bowl games as a graduate assistant, including a win in the 1995 Sugar Bowl.
- Pry coached the East Stroudsburg outside linebackers and defensive backs in 1993-94. Pry’s father, Jim, was a college football coach for 40 years and was Franklin’s offensive coordinator at East Stroudsburg.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS A PLAYER
- Lettered as a defensive back at the University of Buffalo, before suffering a career-ending injury, which launched his coaching career as an undergraduate student in 1992.
PROMINENT PLAYERS COACHED
- Cam Brown (Penn State) – New York Giants; 2020 NFL Draft sixth-round pick
- Jan Johnson (Penn State) – Houston Texans
- Koa Farmer (Penn State) -Las Vegas Raiders
- Jason Cabinda (Penn State) – Detroit Lions
- Mike Hull (Penn State) – NFL (2015-19); 2014 Big Ten Linebacker of the Year
- Brandon Bell (Penn State) – Cincinnati Bengals (2017-18)
- Oren Burks (Vanderbilt) – Green Bay Packers; 2018 NFL Draft third-round pick
- Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) – Houston Texans; 2017 NFL Draft second-round pick
- Clinton McDonald (Memphis) – NFL (2009-19); Super Bowl XLVIII Champion
- Dontari Poe (Memphis) – Dallas Cowboys; 2012 NFL Draft first-round pick
- Charles Tillman (Louisiana-Lafayette) – NFL (2003-15); Two-time Pro Bowler
- Ike Taylor (Louisiana-Lafayette) – Two-time Super Bowl Champion; Pittsburgh Steelers (2003-14)
- Chris Marve (Vanderbilt) – Three-time All-SEC
- Hall Davis (Louisiana-Lafayette) – NFL (2010-14); 2010 NFL Draft fifth-round pick
- C.C. Brown (Louisiana-Lafayette) – NFL (2005-11); Two-Time All-Sun Belt
- Michael Adams (Louisiana-Lafayette) – NFL (2007-14)
- Antwain Spann (Louisiana-Lafayette) – NFL (2005-09)
- Darius Eubanks (Georgia Southern) – NFL (2013-15)
- Brent Russell (Georgia Southern) – 2010 Consensus All-American
- Lavelle Westbrooks (Georgia Southern) – 2014 NFL Draft seventh-round pick
- Laron Scott (Georgia Southern) – NFL (2012-13); CFL (2014)
THE PRY FILE
Year at Penn State: Eighth
Hometown: Altoona, Pa.
Education: University of Buffalo, 1993 – B.A. History
Family: Wife: Amy; Son: Colby; Daughters: Madeline, Catherine
2018-present – Penn State (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
2016-17 – Penn State (Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
2014-15 – Penn State (Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
2013 – Vanderbilt (Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
2011-12 – Vanderbilt (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
2010 – Georgia Southern (Defensive Coordinator and Safeties)
2007-09 – Memphis (Defensive Line)
2004-06 – Louisiana-Lafayette (Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers)
2002-03 – Louisiana-Lafayette (Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers)
2000-01 – Western Carolina (Defensive Backs and Special Teams)
1998-99 – Western Carolina (Defensive Line)
1995-98 – Virginia Tech (Graduate Assistant, Defensive Line)
1993-94 – East Stroudsburg (Outside Linebackers and Defensive Backs)
Bowl Games as a Coach
- 2019 Goodyear Cotton Bowl – Penn State
- 2019 VRBO Citrus Bowl – Penn State
- 2017 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl – Penn State
- 2017 Rose Bowl – Penn State
- 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl – Penn State
- 2014 Pinstripe Bowl – Penn State
- 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl – Vanderbilt
- 2012 Music City Bowl – Vanderbilt
- 2011 Liberty Bowl – Vanderbilt
- 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl – Memphis
- 2007 New Orleans Bowl – Memphis
- 1998 Gator Bowl – Virginia Tech
- 1996 Orange Bowl – Virginia Tech
- 1995 Sugar Bowl – Virginia Tech