Brent Pry has a huge rebuild ahead of him as Virginia Tech looks to return to its former winning ways. He has assembled a strong recruiting staff for the Hokies, but can he regain some of the team’s past success and bring championships back to Blacksburg?
Virginia Tech Hokies Coaching Staff
Head Coach, Brent Pry
The Hokies turned to Pry after a disappointing 6-7 campaign in 2021. His debut year didn’t feature a magical start, though. After a mass exodus of transfers and limited time to compile his first class, Pry’s Hokies went 3-8 in his inaugural season.
Pry came to Blacksburg via Penn State, where he was the defensive coordinator under James Franklin for eight years. He arrived there from Vanderbilt, where he served as Franklin’s defensive coordinator.
Considered an excellent schematic mind and relentless recruiter, Pry has put dozens of players in the NFL, highlighted by former defensive backs Charles Tillman and Ike Taylor.
Pry has been in the coaching business for nearly three decades, dating back to his time as a graduate assistant under the legendary Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. The veteran coach has made stops along the way at the following places.
- East Stroudsburg (OLBs/DBs, 1993-1994)
- Virginia Tech (Grad Assistant/DL, 1995-1997)
- Western Carolina (DL and DB/Special Teams, 1998-2001)
- Louisiana Lafayette (DBs, LBs, Special Teams and DC, 2002-2006)
- Memphis (DL, 2007-2009)
- Georgia Southern (DC/Safeties, 2010)
- Vanderbilt (DC and LBs, 2011-2013)
- Penn State (DC and LBs, 2014-2021)
- Virginia Tech (HC, 2022-2023)
Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers, Chris Marve
When looking for someone to help call the defense, Pry turned to a rising star in the coaching world — someone who played for him at Vanderbilt. Marve made a name for himself as a run game coordinator at both Mississippi State and Florida State before Pry pegged him as his defensive coordinator in Blacksburg.
Marve was a star linebacker for the Commodores in the early 2010s, finishing as an All-SEC defender all four years of his career. The star power of former players under his coaching tutelage is impressive, highlighted by former Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham and 2022 first-round pick Jermaine Johnson.
His resume is short but impressive.
- Vanderbilt (Graduate Assistant and Linebackers, 2014-2018)
- Mississippi State (Linebackers and Defensive Run Game Coordinator, 2019)
- Florida State (Linebackers and Defensive Run Game Coordinator, 2020-2021)
- Virginia Tech (Linebackers and Defensive Coordinator, 2022-2023)
Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach, Tyler Bowen
Like he did with Marve, Pry turned to a young up-and-comer to run his offense, grabbing former colleague Tyler Bowen out of the NFL ranks.
Bowen was with the Jaguars in 2021, but he made his biggest impact at the college level. He’s coached nearly every position on offense in his nine years as a position coach and has put multiple players in the NFL, including Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth.
Last year, Bowen coached tight ends, as the Virginia Tech offense struggled with inconsistent quarterback play. This year, he moved to quarterback coach, and the position seems to have improved dramatically.
- Maryland (Graduate Assistant, 2010-2012)
- Towson (Tight Ends, 2013)
- Penn State (Graduate Assistant, 2014)
- Fordham (Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line, 2015-2016)
- Maryland (Offensive Line, 2017)
- Penn State (Offensive Recruiting Coordinator and Tight Ends, 2018-2020)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (Tight Ends, 2021)
- Virginia Tech (Offensive Coordinator and Tight Ends/Quarterbacks, 2022-2023)
Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends, Stu Holt
The son of a Hall of Fame high school coach, Holt is a longtime coaching veteran who has served in a variety of roles. He has been a special teams coordinator at five different FBS schools over the last 15 years.
Pry has put an emphasis on special teams like Frank Beamer did years ago. Holt is a big part of that with multiple specialists holding school and national records.
At Appalachian State in 2018, Holt’s unit led the nation with four special teams touchdowns.
Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line, J.C. Price
Price was born in Maryland, but is a Virginia guy through and through. An All-American defensive lineman with the Hokies in the 1990s, Price had a promising playing career cut short by injury. He joined the staff at his alma mater in the strength and conditioning program.
He moved to high school ball before re-emerging in the college ranks as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech. He moved to James Madison in 2004 in an on-field coaching role as defensive line coach where he worked for eight years. Next, he moved to Marshall in 2012. Eventually, he worked up to defensive coordinator before returning to Virginia Tech in 2021.
He was one of the few holdovers from Justine Fuente’s staff and was the interim head coach for the end of the 2021 season.
Cornerbacks Coach/Defensive Recruiting Coordinator, Derek Jones
He has been working with defensive backs in some capacity for over 20 years — most of those in a recruiting coordinator role, as well. He’s a master of social media, boasting nearly 100,000 Twitter followers, including high-profile coaches, recruits, and former players.
A two-time All-SEC selection at Ole Miss, the South Carolina native has also authored a book. The proceeds go toward helping students from his hometown pay for college.
Wide Receivers/Offensive Recruiting Coordinator, Fontel Mines
Pry knew what he was doing when he assigned his recruiting coordinator roles and pegged Mines for the offense. In addition to his role as receivers coach, Mines is one of the top recruiters in the conference, and like Jones, he’s incredibly savvy when it comes to social media.
Mines has coached tight ends and receivers for the better part of a decade and is a relentless recruiter, focusing on the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Safeties, Pierson Prioleau
A 12-year NFL veteran and Super Bowl-winning safety, Prioleau spent eight years at the high school level before moving to Virginia Tech in 2019. He’s worked on the high school side and the player development side for years and is considered an excellent teacher of the game.
When Pry was hired, not only did he retain Prioleau, but he promoted him to an on-field role — a testament to his talent. His playing days at Virginia Tech overlapped with Pry’s first stint in Blacksburg, and the head coach has tremendous respect for Prioleau.
Stars/Nickels, Shawn Quinn
The Hokies break their secondary down into three different coaching groups, and Quinn handles the guys on the inside. He worked under Pry as a linebackers coach at Georgia Southern in the early 2010s when Pry was defensive coordinator there.
A former Savannah State head coach, Quinn has coached all over the defensive side of the ball, from the defensive line to the secondary. His experience includes defensive ends coach under Les Miles at LSU and defensive coordinator at Western Carolina. Last year, he helped with the linebackers at Virginia Tech and has shifted out just a bit to nickels and stars.
Running Backs, Elijah Brooks
A strong DMV recruiter, Brooks came to Virginia Tech after several successful years at Maryland, where he put four running backs in the NFL in four years of coaching. Brooks’ coaching career was jumpstarted when he led Maryland high school powerhouse DeMatha Catholic to its best eight-year stretch in school history (72-20).
Brooks is a strong recruiter and developer, putting multiple players in the NFL, both as a high school and a college coach. He’s a DMV guy through and through, and he finished his career at William & Mary as an all-conference back.
Offensive Line, Ron Crook
Crook brings three decades of offensive line coaching experience to the Virginia Tech coaching staff. The newest addition to the coaching staff, Crook spent the 2022 season at South Dakota after coaching the offensive line at Cincinnati for six years.
He brings extra experience to a mostly younger staff. That should help the offense move the ball a bit better this season.