Penn State Nittany Lions Coaching Staff 2024

    James Franklin and the Penn State coaching staff have been perennial bridesmaids in the Big Ten. Can they go one step further in 2024?

    James Franklin and the Penn State Nittany Lions coaching staff consistently produce competitive rosters and professional talent but have been unable to overcome the Big Ten powerhouses in recent seasons.

    It has led to some turnover on the coaching staff in Happy Valley as Franklin tries to finally dethrone the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes atop the Big Ten.

    Penn State Nittany Lions Coaching Staff

    Head Coach: James Franklin

    2024 marks Franklin’s 11th season in charge of the Nittany Lions and his 14th overall as a college football head coach. The long-serving leader was named the 16th football coach at Penn State in 2014 and holds an 88-38 overall record in Happy Valley.

    It makes Franklin the fourth-winningest head coach in Penn State history, three wins behind third-place Bob Higgins and 16 behind second-place Rip Engle.

    Franklin was a quarterback at East Stroudsburg between 1991 and 1994, and the Penn State head coach has had an extensive coaching career that has spanned close to three decades.

    His coaching career began as a wide receivers coach at Kutztown University in 1995, before Franklin returned to his alma mater as a defensive backs coach in 1996, followed by stops as a WR coach at James Madison (1997), TE coach at Washington State (1998), WR coach at Idaho State (1999), and WR coach at Maryland (2000-2004).

    In 2005, Franklin had a brief stint in the NFL, working on the Green Bay Packers coaching staff.

    However, he returned to the college game a year later, becoming offensive coordinator at Kansas State between 2006 and 2007, coaching the likes of Jordy Nelson with the Wildcats.

    He returned to Maryland between 2008 and 2010 as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. Franklin was seen as a head coach elect with the Terps but took the head coaching job at Vanderbilt before Maryland could offer him the job.

    Franklin spent three seasons at Vanderbilt, leading the Commodores to winning seasons in each of them with two bowl victories, finishing with a 24-15 overall record in Nashville before being hired as Penn State head coach in 2014.

    Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach: Tom Allen

    Tom Allen enters his first season as Penn State’s defensive coordinator following Manny Diaz’s departure to become head coach at Duke. Allen was fired as head coach of Indiana in November 2023 but found new employment almost immediately.

    The Penn State DC spent eight seasons as head coach of the Hoosiers, finishing with a 33-49 record with only two winning seasons. However, he won Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2020, and Indiana became known as one of the most aggressive defenses in the Big Ten under his leadership.

    Allen’s career stretches back 32 years to his first coaching job at Temple Heights High School in 1992. There, he was a DC and head coach before coaching at several other high schools until 2007.

    Allen’s first step into the college game was being hired as special teams and defensive backs coach at Wabash in 2007. He then served as defensive coordinator at Lambuth (2008-2009) and Drake (2010) before the Penn State DC stepped up to the FBS level in 2011 with Arkansas State as an assistant head coach.

    Hugh Freeze then hired Allen at Ole Miss to be special teams coordinator and linebackers coach between 2012 and 2014, dramatically improving the linebacker core under his leadership in Oxford.

    After a stop as DC at South Florida in 2015, Allen landed with Indiana in 2016 as a defensive coordinator and was promoted to head coach in the 2017 season.

    • Temple Heights HS (Defensive Coordinator, 1992-1993, Head Coach, 1994)
    • Armwood HS (Defensive Coordinator, 1995-1996)
    • Marion HS (Defensive Coordinator, 1997)
    • Ben Davis HS (Defensive Coordinator, 1998-2003, Head Coach, 2004-2006)
    • Wabash (Special Teams/Defensive Backs, 2007)
    • Lambuth (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, 2008-2009)
    • Drake (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, 2010)
    • Arkansas State (Assistant Head Coach, 2011)
    • Ole Miss (Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers, 2012-2014)
    • South Florida (Defensive Coordinator, 2015)
    • Indiana (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, 2016)
    • Indiana (Head Coach, 20178-2023)
    • Penn State (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, 2024-Present)

    Offensive Coordinator: Andy Kotelnicki

    Compared to his counterparts, Andy Kotelnicki has had a shorter coaching career but has established a reputation for developing explosive offenses. He is coaching his first season as offensive coordinator in Happy Valley after Penn State fired Mike Yurcich in Nov. 2023.

    Kotelnicki joins the Nittany Lions with a massive offensive pedigree, having turned around a Kansas Jayhawks program alongside Lance Leipold.

    The Jayhawks’ offense consistently ranked among the best in college football in Kotelnicki’s three seasons in Lawrence, and the Penn State OC was involved in head coaching position discussions before moving on to University Park.

    It is Kotelnicki’s first major coaching role not under Leipold, who the Penn State OC coached beneath at Kansas, Buffalo, and Wisconsin-Whitewater. Leipold and Kotelnicki have been by each other’s side throughout their journey through the college football ranks.

    The Penn State OC’s coaching career began in 2005 as an offensive assistant at Western Illinois fresh out of college, where he played center for Wisconsin-River Falls between 2001 and 2003.

    In 2006, Kotelnicki joined Wisconsin-River Falls as offensive coordinator and moved to the University of Mary in 2011 to be their offensive coordinator.

    Kotelnicki retained the same position when Leipold hired him at Wisconsin-Whitewater before moving with his head coach to Buffalo between 2015 and 2020. Alongside Leipold, Kotelnicki moved to Kansas between 2021 and 2023 before linking up with Franklin at Penn State.

    • Western Illinois (Offensive Assistant, 2004-2005)
    • Wisconsin-River Falls (Offensive Coordinator, 2006-2010)
    • Mary (Offensive Coordinator, 2011-2012)
    • Wisconsin-Whitewater (Offensive Coordinator, 2013-2014)
    • Buffalo (Offensive Coordinator, 2015-2020)
    • Kansas (Offensive Coordinator, 2021-2023)
    • Penn State (Offensive Coordinator, 2024-Present)

    Special Teams Coordinator/Outside Linebackers/Nickel Coach: Justin Lustig

    2024 is Justin Lustig’s first season as special teams coordinator at Penn State, replacing Stacy Collins.

    Lustig moves to Happy Valley from Vanderbilt, where he spent three seasons as special teams coordinator. The assistant joins the Nittany Lions as an exciting hire, having been nominated for the 2022 Broyles Award — given to the top assistant coach in the nation.

    During his time in Nashville, Lustig turned a special teams core that ranked among the worst in the nation into a top-40 unit. Vanderbilt also had two specialists earn All-SEC honors in 2023 for the first time in school history.

    Lustig’s coaching career began in 2001 when he became a defensive backs coach at Christopher Newport. In 2003, Lusting spent a year at Villanova before returning to Christopher Newport as special teams coordinator.

    It marked the start of Lustig’s special teams coordinator journey, a role he has held ever since. The only exception has been with Edinboro in 2016 when he was the head coach.

    With stops early in his career at Eastern Illinois, Louisiana Lafayette, and Ball State, Lustig headed to Syracuse in 2017 as special teams coordinator, a role he stayed in until 2020. With the Orange, Lustig’s special teams unit was one of the best in the country in every metric, and he coached six specialists to All-ACC honors.

    He then moved to Vanderbilt in 2021 before being hired by Franklin in 2024.

    • Christopher Newport (Defensive Backs, 2001-2002)
    • Villanova (Cornerbacks, 2003)
    • Christopher Newport (Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Backs, 2004-2005)
    • Eastern Illinois (Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs, 2006-2008)
    • Louisiana Lafayette (Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs, 2009-2010)
    • Ball State (Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs, 2011-2014)
    • Edinboro (Head Coach, 2016)
    • Syracuse (Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs, 2017)
    • Syracuse (Special Teams Coordinator/Outside Receivers, 2018)
    • Syracuse (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Outside Receivers, 2019-2020)
    • Vanderbilt (Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends, 2021)
    • Vanderbilt (Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends. 2022-2023)
    • Penn State (Special Teams Coordinator/Outside Linebackers/Nickel Coach, 2024-Present)

    Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach: Anthony Poindexter

    Anthony Poindexter is a two-time All-American, three-time All-ACC, the 1998 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and a college football Hall of Famer who has coached Penn State safeties since 2021.

    MORE: 2024 Big Ten Weekly Football Schedule

    With over two decades of coaching experience, Poindexter coached eight NFL players in his 10 years at Virginia. Before joining Penn State, he held a defensive coordinator job with UConn (2014-2016) and a co-defensive coordinator role with Purdue (2017-2020).

    Co-Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach: Ty Howle

    2024 will mark Ty Howle’s fourth season coaching with the Nittany Lions after a decorated playing career in Happy Valley. Howle is a former standout offensive lineman who played for Penn State between 2009 and 2013 and transitioned to coaching in 2014.

    His coaching journey started as a graduate assistant at NC State between 2014 and 2015, where he helped mold Joe Thuney into a third-round draft pick. Howle joined Western Illinois in 2016-2017 before linking up with his alma mater in 2020. He was promoted to co-offensive coordinator in 2022.

    Assistant Head Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Coach: Ja’Juan Seider

    Ja’Juan Seider is in his seventh season coaching running backs in Happy Valley. Over his 17 years coaching college football, he has developed some of the top rushers in the nation.

    His coaching career began in the high school ranks, where he coached running backs at Glades Central HS. It was 2008 before Seider coached college football when he joined his alma mater, West Virginia, as a graduate assistant.

    Seider then coached running backs at Marshall (2010-2012), West Virginia (2013-2016), and Florida (2017), before moving to Happy Valley in 2018.

    Associate Head Coach/Defensive Recruiting Coordinator/Cornerbacks Coach: Terry M. Smith

    Terry M. Smith is in his 11th year coaching at Penn State as a defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach and his fourth as an associate head coach. In recent seasons, he has developed some of the country’s most outstanding cornerbacks in Happy Valley, including Joey Porter Jr., Tariq Castro-Fields, and Zech McPhearson.

    MORE: 2024 Penn State Nittany Lions Roster

    A former Nittany Lions receiver in the 1980s, Smith coached high school football between 1996 and 2013, when he moved to college football to become wide receivers coach at Temple. After just one season, Franklin poached him to become Penn State’s cornerbacks coach, a role he has stayed in since 2014.

    Defensive Line Coach: Deion Barnes

    2024 is Deion Barnes’ fifth year with the Nittany Lions but his second as defensive lines coach. Before his promotion in 2023, Barnes was a graduate assistant working with the defensive line and has already developed a reputation for developing talent.

    Chop Robinson, Adisa Isaac, Arnold Ebiketie, Jesse Luketa, and Odafe Oweh are some names that Barnes has turned into draft picks since he started coaching in 2020. Before coaching, Barnes played defensive end for Penn State, winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year and spending some time playing in the NFL and AAF.

    Offensive Recruiting Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach: Marques Hagans

    Marques Hagans is entering his second season on the Penn State staff after spending 11 seasons as a wide receivers coach at Virginia.

    Hagans was a quarterback with the Cavaliers before being drafted in 2006. He spent time with St Louis, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Washington before leaving the NFL and becoming a coach.

    At Virginia, Hagan mentored Olamide Zaccheus to become the program’s all-time receptions leader and 10 of the top 15 leaders in career reception in program history.

    Offensive Line Coach: Phil Trautwein

    Phil Trautwein will enter his fourth season as offensive line coach in Happy Valley and has had a significant impact on the unit. Seen as a rising star in coaching circles, Trautwein was named to The American Football Coaches Association Class of 2021 “35 Under 35” list.

    Starting as a graduate assistant at Boston College in 2013, Trautwein spent 2016 and 2017 at Davidson before returning to the Eagles in 2018, where he coached Chris Lindstrom into a first-round draft pick.

    Trautwein was hired by Franklin in 2020 and has helped develop Olu Fashanu and Juice Scruggs into recent draft selections. He also helped mold Will Fries, Mike Miranda, Michal Menet, and Rasheed Walker to earn All-Big Ten honors under his leadership.

    Quarterbacks Coach: Danny O’Brien

    Danny O’Brien enters his first season as quarterbacks coach in Happy Valley, having spent 2023 as an offensive graduate assistant. He was promoted after Yurcich was fired at the end of the 2023 season and will help develop Drew Allar.

    KEEP READING: Penn State Nittany Lion’s Top 10 Returning Players in 2024

    The quarterback coach played college football at Maryland, Wisconsin, and Catawba but went undrafted in 2014. He then spent five seasons playing in the CFL before becoming a coach.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

    Related Articles