Penn State Football

Penn State football notes: Coaches with Penn State ties filling Big East vacancies

Own a Penn State degree? Spend any time coaching under Joe Paterno? Looking for work in a Bowl Championship Series conference?

Those who fit two of the three descriptions might be positioned to receive a Big East coaching job.

Connecticut announced Wednesday that former Penn State assistant Kermit Buggs will coach the school’s running backs and special teams.

Buggs is the first former Nittany Lion assistant involved in last winter’s coaching purge to return to the Division I level. He spent last season as Division II Lock Haven’s defensive coordinator, helping the Bald Eagles snap a 52-game losing streak with a 15-7 season-ending victory over Cheyney.

His ascent at Penn State was a methodical one. He joined the staff as a graduate assistant in 2003, served as the coordinator of player personnel and development from 2006-07 and coached safeties from 2007-10. Buggs was promoted to secondary coach in 2011. He was one of seven Paterno assistants not retained by Bill O’Brien.

Connecticut head coach Paul Pasqualoni is a 1972 Penn State graduate who played for Paterno. The Huskies are 10-14 in two seasons under the 63-year-old Pasqualoni.

Buggs’ wife, Kristy, is an elementary school teacher in the State College Area School District.

Temple head coach Matt Rhule is using Penn State ties to complete his first coaching staff.

Rhule created a stir in the Pennsylvania high school football community by hiring Terry Smith as wide receivers coach. Smith, a former Penn State wide receiver, spent the past 11 seasons as the head coach at District 7 talent-producer Gateway.

Smith’s connections and reputation could provide a major boost to the Owls’ western Pennsylvania recruiting efforts.The Gators went 101-30 and sent more than 20 scholarship players to Division I schools during his tenure. Smith’s stepson, Justin King, played at Penn State from 2005-08.

Smith also worked as Gateway’s athletic director. A new school district policy would have prevented the athletic director from also serving as a head coach beginning this summer.

Brandon Noble, one of Rhule’s former Penn State teammates, will coach Temple’s defensive line. Noble played nine NFL seasons, including three as a starter with the Dallas Cowboys.

Noble spent last season as the defensive line and special teams coach at Division I-AA Coastal Carolina. He also worked four seasons at Division II West Chester.

Shrive elected chapter president

Senior offensive lineman Eric Shrive has been elected by teammates as president of Penn State’s Uplifting Athletes chapter, which organizes the annual Life for Life fundraiser benefiting the Kidney Cancer Association.

Shrive served as the chapter’s vice president the past two years. Former chapter president Mike Farrell ended his Penn State career last fall. Shrive, who attended District 2 West Scranton High School, has raised $70,000 in his career.

Senior tackle Adam Gress (vice president), senior center Ty Howle (head of operations), sophomore cornerback Da’Quan Davis (secretary) and freshman tight end Adam Breneman (fundraising chairman) are other 2013 chapter officers.

Lift for Life will be held in July.


Ohio State announced Wednesday that freshman offensive lineman Joey O’Connor will transfer to a school closer to his Windsor, Colo., home. O’Connor committed to Penn State in 2011. He signed with Ohio State following early revelations in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. ....The Johnstown Tomahawks, a first-year franchise in the North American Hockey League, are holding a “Jack Ham Bobblehead Night” on Jan. 31. Ham, a former Penn State linebacker and the school’s current football radio analyst, is a Johnstown native and part of the Tomahawks ownership group.