Virginia Tech hires Penn State DC Brent Pry as next head coach

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech reached into its archives to find its next coach, hiring Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry, a disciple of longtime Hokies assistant Bud Foster.

Pry was a graduate assistant working with the defensive line under Foster, the hugely successful coordinator, as the Hokies rose to national prominence. Pry was in Blacksburg, Virginia, from 1995-97, going to three straight bowl games.

Pry said he will keep former Hokies star defensive lineman and interim coach J.C. Price on his staff as associate head coach/defensive coach. Price also will continue to serve as head coach through Virginia Tech’s bowl game.

“Coach Pry owns a winning track record on the football field, as well as a history of developing young men into leaders off the field and in the classroom,” athletic director Whit Babcock said in a statement.

“He’s earned his way up the coaching ranks, and we believe he is the right person to lead Virginia Tech football and to achieve the goals that we all aspire to attaining. He and his staff will aggressively recruit our region to keep in-state recruits home and attract the talent necessary to win championships.”

Pry has been with Penn State since 2014, first as co-defensive coordinator before becoming the defensive coordinator in 2016. Penn State’s defense has been ranked in the top half of the Big Ten every season he’s been there.

His hiring also received an endorsement from Foster, a Hokies icon who retired after the 2019 season.

“It’s been such a pleasure to watch Brent grow, mature and excel at a very high level in the coaching profession,” Foster said. “I’m so excited that he’s earned this opportunity to lead our football program. The best coaches are the ones who are always striving to get better, who are open to new ideas and who can put their players in the best position to be successful. Brent embodies all of those qualities and so many others that it takes to be a leader.”

Pry said the opportunity to return to Blacksburg is exciting for him and his family.

“Even after I departed Blacksburg, I always continued to appreciate Virginia Tech, its great players, its championship teams, and its wonderful traditions from afar. The resources, facilities, university backing of athletics, and phenomenal fan support that Virginia Tech enjoys made this a very desirable situation,” he said in the statement. “But just as importantly, the opportunity to raise our children in a community like Blacksburg also has great appeal.”

Coach Justin Fuente left Virginia Tech earlier this month after he went 43-31 in six seasons. Informed in a meeting with Babcock that his return was not certain, the sides agreed to part ways immediately.

Fuente’s tenure started with a 10-win season and Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year honors. But the program was hurt by a rash of transfers and declining results. The Hokies went 6-7 in 2018, their first losing season since 1992, and 5-6 last season when they were hit hard by the pandemic. It marked the end of a 27-year streak of going to bowl games, the longest at the time in the country.

Under Price, the Hokies lost 38-26 at Miami, but rebounded to beat Virginia 29-24 on Saturday. It was their 17th victory in the last 18 meetings in the rivalry and, at 6-6, secured bowl eligibility for the 28th time in 29 years.

Former Navy coach Niumatalolo joins UCLA staff

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LOS ANGELES – Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo is joining UCLA’s coaching staff as director of leadership.

The school said in an announcement Friday that Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the Bruins’ football staff and players.

Niumatalolo led Navy for 15 years and was the winningest coach in school history at 109-83. The Midshipmen, however, finished with losing records the past three seasons, including 4-8 the past two.

Navy played in 10 bowl games under Niumatalolo. He also was the only coach to win his first eight games in the storied Army-Navy rivalry.

Troy, Jon Sumrall agree to new 4-year contract through 2026

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TROY, Ala. ⁠— Jon Sumrall agreed to a new four-year contract as Troy’s coach after leading the Trojans to a Sun Belt Conference championship and national ranking in his debut season.

The school announced the deal, which runs through 2026, but didn’t release details.

The Trojans went 12-2 and won their final 11 games, second only to national champion Georgia, including the league championship game and the Cure Bowl against UTSA. For the first time, they finished a season ranked, ending up 19th in The Associated Press Top 25.

“When we appointed Coach Sumrall in December 2021, we challenged him to return Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “It didn’t take long, as the 2022 season was the best in our FBS history.”

Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under their season average in scoring, beating UTSA 18-12. The Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt title game.

“Last year was an amazing accomplishment for everyone associated with Troy football and was the product of relentless effort from our players and staff, athletic administration and university leaders,” Sumrall said.