Virginia Tech names Penn State DC Brent Pry as new head football coach

ByMark Schlabach and Adam Rittenberg ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry has been named the new head football coach at Virginia Tech, the Hokies announced Tuesday.

Pry, 51, replaces former Hokies coach Justin Fuente, who was out as Hokies coach as of Nov. 16 after his teams went 43-31 in six seasons. Pry returns to Blacksburg, where he served as a defensive graduate assistant for the Hokies from 1995 to 1997 under head coach Frank Beamer and defensive coordinator Bud Foster.

"On behalf of Amy and our family, we are extremely grateful to President [Timothy] Sands and [athletic director] Whit [Babcock] for extending us this opportunity at Virginia Tech," Pry said in a statement released by the school. "Working for Coach Beamer and Coach Foster as a graduate assistant in the 1990s, I was privileged to have been a part of this program as the Hokies established themselves as a national power, consistently proving they could beat anyone in the nation.

"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. But just as importantly, the opportunity to raise our children in a community like Blacksburg also has great appeal. We can't wait to meet the team, the support staff, and Hokie Nation. We will be prepared to hit the ground running in order to attract the type of student-athletes to Virginia Tech who can help us achieve sustained success. Go Hokies!"

Pry is expected to be formally introduced at a news conference at 9 a.m. ET Thursday in Blacksburg.

"We are excited to welcome Coach Pry, Amy, and their family to Virginia Tech and the Blacksburg community," Babcock said in a statement. "I'm confident that Hokies everywhere will come together to embrace and support them as we enter this new chapter in the history of Virginia Tech Football."

Pry, who has worked the past six seasons as the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator, has helped produce top-25 units in total defense in eight of his past 12 seasons, including four at Penn State, three at Vanderbilt and one at Georgia Southern. The Nittany Lions rank seventh in scoring defense this season, allowing 16.8 points per game.

ESPN reported last week that the Hokies were focused on Pry after two candidates -- Wake Forest's Dave Clawson and Louisiana's Billy Napier -- declined interest in the job. Clawson signed a contract extension with the Demon Deacons, and Napier accepted the head-coaching position at Florida.

Pry, a native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, has worked under James Franklin at Penn State and at Vanderbilt and is in his 30th year of coaching. Early in his career, Pry was a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech in the mid-1990s.

The Hokies finished 6-6 after beating rival Virginia 29-24 on the road last week. Defensive line coach J.C. Price will serve as interim coach in the bowl game.

Pry indicated that Price will remain on his staff as associate head coach/defensive coach.

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