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Franklin Completes Penn State Football Staff: Former Nittany Lion Terry Smith, Ex-Vandy O-Line Coach Herb Hand

by on January 20, 2014 9:55 PM

On one hand...

New PSU head coach James Franklin on Sunday added the sole Penn Stater to his coaching staff -- former Nittany Lion wide receiver Terry Smith.

On the other hand...

Franklin just added a ninth former Vanderbilt assistant, offensive line coach Herb Hand, on Monday night, according to

Hand, who lost out in his bid to succeed Franklin as Vandy’s next head coach – Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason got the job – announced via Twitter at around 8:30 p.m. Monday that he is leaving Vanderbilt.

And just like that, Franklin filled his final coaching vacancy by hiring Hand. Franklin will have almost two hands full of former Vanderbilt assistants – eight on-the-field coaches, plus strength and conditioning coach Dwight Galt. Four of that group also coached with Franklin at either Maryland or Kansas State.

At Vanderbilt in 2013, Hand was offensive line coach and run game coordinator. Hand is a 1990 graduate of Hamilton College who arrived at Vandy one year prior to Franklin. He coached at Tulsa, West Virginia and Clemson prior to that. At Tulsa (2007-09), he was assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. At West Virginia (2001-06), he coached tight ends and was recruiting coordinator.

Smith, a 1991 Penn State grad with a degree in business management, spent the 2013 college football season coaching wide receivers at Temple, where another Penn Stater, Matt Rhule, is the head coach. He has strong ties to Western PA, a real boon to the PSU recruiting efforts.

Smith is projected to coach either the wide receivers or the secondary. Josh Gattis, who coached wide receivers for the past three seasons at Vandy with Franklin, has already joined the new Penn State staff.

Smith was a four-year letter-winner (1988-91) at wide receiver for Penn State. When he graduated Smith held at least a share of 12 receiving records and ranked third on Penn State’s all-time receiving list, with 108 receptions. His 55 catches, 846 yards and eight TD catches – all achieved in 1991, when he was a co-captain with current Miami (Fla.) head coach Al Golden -- were all Penn State records when he finished his career. He currently ranks fifth in single-season receptions and 11th in career receptions in Penn State’s record book.

With Smith, Franklin got a twofer – a former outstanding Penn State player and an assistant with deep Western PA roots.

In 11 seasons as head coach of Gateway High School in Monroeville, Smith’s Gators went 101-30, with 11 WPIAL playoff appearances, seven conference championships and appearances in four AAA title games. His stepson, Justin King, was a standout Nittany Lion cornerback in 2005-07 who went on to play several seasons in the NFL. Smith also was an assistant coach for Duquesne in 1997-2000.


Here is Franklin’s staff:

John Donovan (Johns Hopkins, 1997) offensive coordinator

Dwight Galt (Maryland, 1981), strength and conditioning

Josh Gattis (Wake Forest, 2006), wide receivers OR secondary

Herb Hand (Hamilton College, 1990), offensive line

Charles Huff (Hampton, 2005), running backs

Brent Pry (Buffalo, 1993), linebackers

Ricky Rahne (Cornell, 2002), quarterbacks

Bob Shoop (Yale, 1988), defensive coordinator

Terry Smith (Penn State, 1991), wide receivers OR secondary

Sean Spencer (Clarion, 1995), defensive line

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Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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