Posts tagged ‘Ron Vanderlinden’

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 4, 2013

Dreaming of a Blue Christmas: Actually, it’s no dream. The video below is the very real holiday light display set up by Robert Witt ’01 of Schwenksville, Pa. It started blowing up the internet yesterday, and it is something else:

I’m not gonna lie: I’m not sure I’d want to live right next door to that. But it is impressive work.

Hump day hoops: The 10th-ranked Lady Lions continue a tough non-conference schedule tonight when they host No. 4 Notre Dame in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The match-up marks the first meeting between Penn State coach Coquese Washington and her Fighting Irish counterpart, Muffet McGraw, but as the Daily Collegian tells us, the two have serious history: Washington played for and later coached under McGraw at Notre Dame, which won the 2001 national championship while she was an assistant.

The Nittany Lions fell at Pitt last night, 78-69, in their Big Ten/ACC match-up. It was a close game throughout, and an impressive showing for the Lions, who were playing their fifth game in 10 days. Pitt, unbeaten this season, is 106-3 all-time at the Petersen Events Center against non-conference opponents.

Getting a read: Americanah, a novel by the Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has been chosen as the Penn State Reads common book for the incoming class of 2014. (more…)

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December 4, 2013 at 11:25 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 3, 2013

Coaching changes: Penn State’s longtime linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden and second-year quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher will not return for the 2014 season. Details of the coaches’ departures are still unclear, and Coach Bill O’Brien has not commented. Vanderlinden was one of only two members of Joe Paterno’s coaching staff to work under O’Brien. No word yet on possible replacements.

Here to help: Developmental psychologist Jennie Noll has been helping victims of child sexual abuse since she was a child herself, as Noll explains in a piece from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. Noll, who started at Penn State in September as director of research and education for the study and prevention of child abuse, is one of five experts hired by the university to study and educate others about child abuse. According to the article, Noll is helping Penn State hire more experts in various disciplines to further examine the issue. Says Karen L. Bierman, director of the Child Study Center: “Penn State has grieved, but we’ve pulled together to try to make something positive and large out of this tragedy.”

That smarts: It’s not news to most Penn Staters that John Urschel ’12, ’13g is a smart guy. But thanks to this CBS News piece, more people know about the Penn State offensive guard—who also happens to have a masters in mathematics and is working on a second. In an interview with CBS, Coach Bill O’Brien talks about Urschel’s constant need for numbers: “If you give him a percentage of how many times this team blitzes, he wants to know the whole survey size and what games we looked at and how many numbers related. John, just take it from us: They blitz a lot.'”

We’re No. 3: State College is the third-best college town in the U.S., according to the American Institute for Economic Research, which based the rankings on how easy it is for students to get around, recreational opportunities, and cost of living, among other factors. Ithaca, N.Y. came in first, and Ames, Iowa took second.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

December 3, 2013 at 11:49 am 1 comment

Sign of a New Era

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof fields questions from the press.

Reporters lingered in the lobby of the Lasch Building on Wednesday afternoon, many still in awe of what just occurred.

If there was ever a sign that Penn State football is embarking in a new era, this might have been it: Nittany Lion players and coaches were made available to the media—for in-person interviews—on national signing day.

“It’s a new twist,” junior defensive tackle Jordan Hill said, with a laugh. “It’s a new staff and there’s a lot of new things going on.”

New indeed.

Penn State football was notorious for running a closed door operation under Joe Paterno. No reporters at practice. No unsupervised interviews with players. No exceptions.

Longtime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Ron Musselman ’81 remembered that not that long ago, Penn State wouldn’t even release the names of their new recruits. Sports information director Jeff Nelson could recall only one occasion where Paterno addressed the media in person on national signing day. And Paterno’s availability that day lasted about 10 minutes.

But Wednesday was different. Five assistant coaches and four players arrived at the Lasch Building to field any questions that came their way.

The mood was relaxed. The players filed in one by one at their leisure. The coaches hung around, laughed, and shook hands with their new beat writers.

It was new ground for everyone.

“This has never been Penn State’s way,” said linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden, one of two assistants Bill O’Brien retained from Paterno’s staff. “I have done that in years past at other universities. But here, it feels a little awkward.”

Nelson said he pitched the idea of making coaches and players available to O’Brien, who is still fulfilling his duties with the New England Patriots, who are playing the New York Giants in Sunday’s Super Bowl. O’Brien had no qualms with the request.

Nelson said this could be the first of many new policies O’Brien might implement.

“[Talking to reporters] on a Wednesday? You didn’t really see that too much when Coach Paterno was our coach,” said running back Silas Redd, one of the most well spoken and thoughtful players on the team. “But Coach O’Brien is a little more lenient with that. I’m guessing that it’s because he’s in the NFL and they’re dealing with media all the time.”

Whatever the reason, it seems everyone’s embracing the change. That includes Larry Johnson, the most tenured coach on O’Brien’s staff. Johnson is entering his 17th year at Penn State. And while things might be different this year, Johnson displayed his usual grin and casual demeanor on Wednesday. For him, it’s just business as usual.

“It’s not necessarily a different culture,” Johnson said. “It’s just something we’re doing moving forward in trying to be transparent. That’s the biggest thing.”

Emily Kaplan, intern

February 2, 2012 at 8:54 am 3 comments

A Few More Thoughts on Bill O’Brien

The news hasn’t stopped since Bill O’Brien was announced Saturday as Penn State’s new football coach.

As he promised in his introductory press conference, O’Brien is working to fill out his coaching staff even as he completes his current job of preparing the New England Patriots’ offense for its playoff run. In addition to  defensive line coach Larry Johnson, O’Brien announced he will keep linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden from the Nittany Lions’ existing staff. It looks increasingly like the rest of O’Brien’s staff will come from elsewhere.

Already on board is Charles London, an offensive assistant with the Tennessee Titans with whom O’Brien coached at Duke; he’ll coach the Nittany Lion running backs. And reports Monday stated that O’Brien was set to name Ball State offensive line coach John Strollo (another former Duke colleague) and Buffalo Bills wide receivers coach Stan Hixon (with whom O’Brien coached at Georgia Tech) to his staff soon. Rumors abound about the makeup of the rest of the staff.

Opinions about O’Brien’s hiring abound as well, of course, and most have been (more…)

January 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm 4 comments

A High-Profile Introduction for Bill O’Brien

Bill_OBrienWhat a difference 46 years makes.

After Rip Engle retired as Penn State’s football coach, Joe Paterno was introduced at his successor at a news conference on Saturday morning, Feb. 19, 1966. On the front page of the next issue of The Daily Collegian, this was the top headline: “Model U.N. Whips USSR Bloc.”

Underneath, there were stories about whether changing the rules on female students living in apartments would lead to moral ruin (one student testified that at other schools with similar rules, “they have no trouble with pregnancies”), about the Collegian’s new editor and business manager, and about the concert that kicked off Greek Week 1966: Simon and Garfunkel in Recreation Building.

Paterno was mentioned on page 6. At the bottom. In a story headlined “Paterno Retains Staff.”

To be fair, the Collegian published Tuesday through Saturday in those days, so the news was a couple of days old. But it’s still remarkable to contrast the introduction of Paterno with that of his successor, Bill O’Brien, who was introduced Saturday morning at the Nittany Lion Inn in a ballroom full of media members, donors, university officials, alumni, and what seemed like some fans who wandered in. O’Brien’s news conference was televised and streamed live by the Big Ten Network (if you missed it, you can watch it here), and dozens of media tweeted his every word to an eager Penn State fan base and a national audience.

And, of course, the composition of O’Brien’s staff, while important, wasn’t the big story. It was how and why he was chosen to lead Penn State after the Sandusky scandal.

O’Brien’s Friday evening flight from Boston to State College was tracked online by media, and shortly after the plane landed at University Park Airport, photos started to show up on Twitter. The photos, taken in the dark, weren’t great—Jim Seip of the York Daily Record tweeted that he’d seen better definition in photos of Sasquatch.

Photographers got better shots Saturday before the new coach actually met the media; O’Brien’s 5-year-old son, Michael, (more…)

January 9, 2012 at 8:52 am 1 comment


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