Meet the PSU staff: Offensive coordinator John Donovan

Hometown: River Edge, N.J.

Family: wife, Stacy; son John Patrick; daughters, Cate and Shea

Education: Bachelor’s in sociology, Johns Hopkins; master’s in Economics, Georgia Tech

Playing experience: defensive back at Johns Hopkins

Coaching experience: 1997: Villanova, assistant secondary; 1998-2000: Georgia Tech, offensive graduate assistant; 2001-04: Maryland, assistant recruiting coordinator; 2005: Maryland, running backs; 2006-07: Maryland, quarterbacks; 2008-10: Maryland, running backs; 2011-13: Vanderbilt, offensive coordinator/running backs; 2014: Penn State, offensive coordinator, tight ends

Why did you get into coaching?: “I was done playing, and I still wanted to be involved in athletics. Ultimately I love sports in general, and I really fell in love with the game. To be honest, I’ve heard of guys being graduate assistants and being able to get grad school paid for and do this with football, so that was what I tried to do. Right off the bat, even though I was trying to get a master’s degree and I eventually did, I got the bug of coaching and I liked it. I like still being involved and competing. It wasn’t what I was always planning to do because of how much I loved playing, but I just wanted to stay involved.”

What is your primary coaching philosophy?: “Be prepared. If you’re prepared for anything, you have confidence. If you have confidence, you believe. If you believe, you can execute or do whatever you want to do to get the job done. So as long as you prepare in a way that you feel good about going into something, then let the chips fall where they may.”

What do you enjoy most about being at Penn State?: “It’s nice to be back North. My wife and I are both closer to home. We’ve got good kids here, too.”

What is your best memory or story about James Franklin?: “When we first got to Vanderbilt, he had the head job and I was going down there as the offensive coordinator. He was taking me around the facilities saying, ‘We need to get this fixed and that fixed.’ He was so excited and we were so excited. But the place was just a mess. There were ceiling tiles down, the walls had holes in them. For a Division I place, we probably didn’t look the part, but he was as excited as anybody. I was excited. But at the same time I was thinking, ‘Wow, we’ve got a long way to go.'”

– Compiled by Kristen Nelson