Penn State assistants Vanderlinden, Fisher resign

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Less than three days into the offseason, the Penn State football team has already been shaken up. On Tuesday, coach Bill O’Brien announced that linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden and quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher had resigned.

At their home on Tuesday afternoon, neither Fisher nor Vanderlinden would speak to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In a release, O’Brien said they resigned to pursue other opportunities.

“I appreciate all of Ron and Charlie’s hard work and thank them for their dedication and service to Penn State,” he said. “I wish them well in all their future endeavors.”

The development was first reported Monday on Twitter by recent Penn State graduate Macy Golder.

Vanderlinden coached at Penn State for 13 years, mentoring some of Penn State’s best linebackers, including Michael Mauti, Dan Connor, Sean Lee and Paul Posluszny. Now that Vanderlinden is gone, defensive line coach Larry Johnson is the lone holdover from the Joe Paterno era.

This season Penn State gave up 28.7 points per game — slightly less than last season — and 174 rushing yards per game, about 20 percent more than last season.

“I’ve greatly enjoyed my 13 years at Penn State and all the student-athletes I had an opportunity to work with,” Vanderlinden said in a release. “I wish coach O’Brien and Penn State nothing but the best in the future.”

Fisher spent the past two seasons at Penn State after coaching the past decade at Vanderbilt and Miami of Ohio. He helped turn Matt McGloin from an occasional starter into a Penn State record holder last season and now NFL quarterback. This year, he tutored Christian Hackenberg, who was named Big Ten freshman of the year.

“I want to thank Penn State and coach O’Brien for the opportunity to be a part of the program the past two seasons,” Fisher said in a release. “It was a great experience and I am very proud of what we accomplished. Now I’m looking forward to the next chapter and making a positive impact on the next group of players I have the privilege of working with.”

O’Brien said in the release that he would begin a search to fill the vacant positions immediately.

NOTE — Quarterback Christian Hackenberg was named the Big Ten’s freshman of the year Tuesday. He was the conference’s rookie of the week five times this season. Hackenberg finished this season with 2,955 passing yards, third in the Big Ten. He had 20 touchdown passes, second in the Big Ten. Hackenberg is the second consecutive Penn State player to win the award. Defensive end Deion Barnes won it last year.


Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com, 412-439-3791 and Twitter @mdent05.

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