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Penn State Football: Ganter to Retire after 46 Years with Penn State Football Program

by on February 27, 2013 8:32 AM

He was an iconic part of Penn State's rise as a national football power. On the field, Fran Ganter was a familiar sight, never far from Joe Paterno. And many believed that Ganter would one day take over for his legendary mentor. It didn't turn out that way. And now, after nearly a half-century of service as a player, coach and administrator, Fran Ganter has announced his retirement.

Ganter played for the Nittany Lions as a running back from 1967-70 and in 1971 took the sideline assuming duties as the freshman coach. Ganter would stay on the Beaver Stadium sideline for the next 33 years. Ganter was named offensive coordinator in 1984 and Assistant Head Coach in 2000, leaving the sidelines in 2004 to serve as Associate Athletic Director for Football Administration.

"I am very proud and thankful to have been a member of the Penn State Football family for the past 46 years," Ganter said in a university release.

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"I will always owe a debt of gratitude to Coach Bob Phillips for recruiting me to play at Penn State, and to Coach (Joe) Paterno for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime when he hired me onto his staff," Ganter said. "Outside of my Dad (Fran), who passed away when I was a young man and prior to being a father myself, Coach Paterno was the most influential and constant figure in my life. He was tough as my coach and demanding as my boss, but was always thoughtful and understanding when it came to my family."

"Life for a football coach's family can be difficult, but my late wife Karen and our four boys loved being a part of Penn State Football because Coach Paterno genuinely cared for them and always tried to make them feel that they were an important part of the program -- and for that I am eternally grateful."

While at Penn State, Ganter helped lead the Nittany Lions to 28 bowl berths as a coach, three more as a player, five undefeated seasons and the 1982 and 1986 national championships. 

During the Bill O'Brien era, Ganter could still be seen walking the sideline at practice, observing and talking to coaches and visitors alike. Ganter's lst day on the job is tomorrow.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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