Penn State shows appreciation using coaches


Natalie Sommer, Staff Writer

Penn State University shows fan appreciation through Coaches Caravan.

The Penn State Coaches Caravan stopped Pittsburgh last week at the Omni William Penn Hotel downtown, offering a meet and greet, refreshments, and a Q&A session.

The coaches caravan was open to members of the alumni association, the Blue and White Society, and the Nittany Lion Club.

The event was first brought to Penn State in 2013 by then football coach Bill O’Brien. Football Coach James Franklin continued the tradition in 2014, but it was not held the past two years.

Along with Franklin, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, women’s soccer Coach Erica Dambach, and swimming and diving Coach Tim Murphy also attended. The coaches had a chance to answer fans’ questions and discuss the school’s athletic accomplishments.

Fans also had an opportunity to meet and take pictures with Penn State alumni and assistant coaches, including former quarterback Wally Richardson and wide receivers Coach Terry Smith.

Barbour began the Q&A session with a discussion about the upcoming plans for the renovations expected to take place over the next 20 years to the sports facilities. Plans include a new lacrosse field and swimming center, along with upgrades to Jeffrey Field and Beaver Stadium.

The coaches discussed the importance of academics and praised the success of the students on and off the field. Their biggest source of pride was the many students who continue until graduation, giving the school an 88 percent athlete graduation rate. That is 5 percent greater than the NCAA student athlete graduation average.

During the 2016- 2017 season, Penn State won seven Big Ten championships. Winning teams include football, hockey, wrestling, women’s soccer, field hockey, men’s track and field, and women’s indoor track and field.

The coaches shared their appreciation over the strong alumni and fan base that the school carries, and they expressed their excitement over the program’s future.

The event ended like all the university’s sporting events do, with the singing of the school’s alma mater.