Penn State athletics announced on Sunday afternoon that offensive coordinator and tight ends coach John Donovan has been fired.
The announcement followed a 55-16 loss to Michigan State that marked the end of Penn State’s regular season, and is effective immediately.
I have tremendous respect for John and the work he has put in over the last five years. I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.
Head coach James Franklin
“I have tremendous respect for John and the work he has put in over the last five years,” said head coach James Franklin, in a statement released to media. “I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”
Senior linebacker Ben Kline was one of few to further comment on Donovan’s dismissal, via Twitter.
“Utmost respect for John Donovan,” he wrote. “Class act.”
A source close to the team said that players were told about the decision to fire Donovan in a team meeting at noon on Sunday.
Donovan has been a member of Franklin’s staff for five years (three years at Vanderbilt) as the offensive coordinator.
Penn State posted a 7-5 record this season, and ranked 82nd in the nation in passing, 106th in the nation in rushing and 108th in the nation in total offense. The Nittany Lions averaged 23.7 points per game this season, No. 101 in the nation. In Donovan’s first year as Penn State’s offensive coordinator, the team scored a conference-worst 20.3 points per game and returned all but three key offensive starters (Donovan Smith, Bill Belton and Jesse James) this season.
After Saturday night’s blowout loss to Michigan State, Franklin was asked when discussions with and evaluation of personnel would take place.
“We're evaluating every single day. The evaluation will happen between now and the bowl and after the bowl when the season is over,” he said.
“The season is not over, but we will have some conversations with a number of guys and come up with a plan that makes sense for them and makes sense for Penn State and we look forward to doing that here in the next couple of weeks.”
Franklin said, per Sunday’s release, that a national search for a replacement will begin immediately.
Representatives from Penn State athletics had no further comment.