Nittany Lions reshuffle their coaching staff Longtime offensive coordinator Fran Ganter has taken a new post. Galen Hall assumes his duties.

Posted: February 18, 2004

In an attempt to revive its sagging football program, Penn State yesterday announced that longtime offensive coordinator Fran Ganter, a fixture alongside head coach Joe Paterno for more than three decades, has accepted an administrative position and that former Nittany Lions quarterback Mike McQueary is the new recruiting coordinator.

Ganter has been replaced by Galen Hall, 63, who will oversee the offense and coach the running backs. Ganter will serve as associate athletic director for football operations. McQueary, an administrative assistant last season, also will assist in coaching the wide receivers.

Widely regarded as an innovative offensive strategist, Hall was a quarterback at Penn State from 1959 to 1961, when Paterno coached the quarterbacks under head coach Rip Engle.

The announcements were made by Tim Curley, the director of athletics, in a news release. A news conference is scheduled for today. No one at the university was available for comment last night.

The release did not address the status of Jay Paterno, the coach's oldest son. Jay Paterno was the recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and in the last few years had become more involved in play-calling. During the 2003 season, when Penn State finished 3-9 - its worst record since Joe Paterno became head coach in 1966 and the Nittany Lions' third losing season in the last four - Paterno said he, Jay and Ganter were involved in the play-calling. Penn State's offense was ranked among the worst in the nation.

When the normally accommodating Ganter declined to speak to reporters as the grim season progressed, speculation grew that he had become disenchanted with the system. Ganter, who has been at Penn State as a player and coach for 37 years, was widely believed to be the heir apparent to Paterno, who is 77 and entering the final season of a five-year contract.

"In making my decision, I carefully weighed the prospect of continuing in my current role coaching or pursuing this new endeavor," Ganter said in the release. "I've spoken at length with my sons and the rest of the Ganter Penn State family, and we all feel that this position is an opportunity I should not pass up."

In the release, Paterno praised Ganter.

"He understands all aspects of the program and will help to provide leadership. Galen has a brilliant football mind, is a very fine teacher, and will be great for our offense. Mike McQueary has been a tireless contributor since he has been with us and will be a fine addition to our coaching staff."

A running back for Penn State from 1967 to 1970, Ganter joined the coaching staff as a graduate assistant. He was named offensive coordinator in 1984 and assistant head coach in 2000. After Penn State went unbeaten and finished No. 2 in the polls in 1994, Ganter declined an offer to become Michigan State's head coach.

Hall has a long resume as a coach. He was named coach of the year after leading Florida to a 9-1-1 record in 1984, as the Gators won the Southeastern Conference championship and finished No. 3 in the country.

Before coaching Florida, Hall was offensive coordinator at Oklahoma from 1966 to 1983. While he was at Oklahoma, the Sooners had two unbeaten and five one-loss seasons. Hall also was a head coach in NFL Europe during much of the 1990s. After one season with the XFL's Orlando Rage, Hall joined the Dallas Cowboys to coach the running backs in 2002. He was expected to serve as offensive coordinator of the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe this year.

Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or rparrillo@phillynews.com.

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