Altoona’s Pry on the rise as PSU’s LB coach

Rarely has a Penn State assistant gone on to become a head coach somewhere else, but linebackers coach and Altoona native Brent Pry could have that opportunity in the not-too-distant future.

Pry, finishing up his first season on the staff after coming along with head coach James Franklin from Vanderbilt, recently was named one of three finalists for the nation’s top linebackers coach by FootballScoop.com. He has “all the qualities” it takes to be a head coach, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said, including an “engaging personality” that is so sought after nowadays.

“He impressed me for four years now,” Shoop said.

When the coaches all arrived at Vanderbilt, many of them were relatively unknown.

“I came from William and Mary, (Pry) came from Georgia Southern and (defensive line coach Sean Spencer) came from Bowling Green,” Shoop said. “It wasn’t exactly like we were ready to kick (butt) and take names in the SEC.”

An article in a local newspaper, Shoop added, “said be prepared to be underwhelmed by these guys.”

Instead, Franklin and his coaches have enjoyed success, and with that success undoubtedly will come other opportunities for the assistants.

Pry had a chance to be head coach at Georgia Southern in January but turned it down,

“For me and Amy, we just felt like we were in a fantastic situation with James,” Pry said earlier this season. “We didn’t want to take that lightly. We hold him in high regard. Coach has been very, very good to myself and my family. We knew there was an opportunity to potentially be at Penn State, which was exciting to us.”

At some point, however, a better opportunity could land in Pry’s lap, as long as Penn State succeeds in the coming years under Franklin.

“Brent, I’ve said this before, he’s my conscience,” Shoop said. “He’s got the title co-coordinator, and he’s my right-hand guy. When we game plan, his feedback is incredibly important to me. And he’s an old-school coach, meaning I think he coaches fundamentals and techniques really about as well as anybody I’ve ever been around.”

Pry comes from a coaching family – his father, Jim, is a longtime college coach – and he also has the title of assistant head coach for the Lions.

“I think if (being a head coach is) what Brent wants to do, I think everybody on our staff would support him,” Shoop said. “And I think everybody on our staff feels he has the potential to be an outstanding head coach anywhere he wanted to. He’s as good as there is.”