Penn State hires co-defensive coordinator, safeties coach
January 18, 2016 10:02 PM
Mark Jones/University of Illinois athletics department
Tim Banks has been hired by Penn State coach James Franklin to be the teams co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
David Mercer/Associated Press
Penn State hired former Illinois defensive coordinator Tim Banks as its co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
By Audrey Snyder / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State filled its final coaching staff vacancy Monday when James Franklin announced the hiring of co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Tim Banks.
Banks comes to Penn State after spending the previous four seasons at Illinois, where he was the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach. Before Illinois, Banks coached at Cincinnati and Central Michigan, his alma mater. He will work under Brent Pry, Penn State’s defensive coordinator who was promoted to his position a week ago, thus freeing up the co-defensive coordinator position that Pry previously held. The vacancy coaching the safeties was created when former defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, also the former coach of the safeties, recently took the defensive coordinator job at Tennessee.
“I am excited about having an opportunity to work with Coach Franklin and his staff,” Banks said in a statement. “James is one of the brightest football minds in the country, and it was just an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. Growing up in the Midwest, I saw Penn State play on TV almost every weekend and I know the history and tradition that this program has, so this is very much an honor and a humbling experience to join the Penn State family.”
Franklin, who said since the day of his arrival that he keeps an updated list of assistants he would like to one day coach with, shares a connection with Banks that dates to 2003-04. The two were on the same coaching staff at Maryland, where Franklin coached the receivers and Banks worked with the inside linebackers.
“Tim and I worked together at Maryland and built a great relationship there,” Franklin said in a statement. “He is a veteran coach with experience as a Big Ten coordinator and has strong Big Ten and regional recruiting ties. He is a fantastic person and will have a strong impact on our players and our program.”
Banks’ hiring looks to be the end of six weeks of change for the Nittany Lions. Gone are Shoop and offensive line coach Herb Hand, who left to take the same positions at Tennessee and Auburn, respectively.
Offensive coordinator John Donovan was fired at the end of the regular season and was replaced by former Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead.
In addition to the hiring of Banks and Pry’s promotion, former Minnesota assistant Matt Limegrover was named the Lions offensive line coach last week.
Banks graduated from Detroit’s Martin Luther King High School, which could work in Penn State’s favor in recruiting. Saturday, Rivals four-star cornerback Lavert Hill, who attends that school, was introduced at a Penn State men’s ice hockey game while on his official visit. Penn State faces an uphill battle to lure Hill away from Michigan between now and National Signing Day Feb. 3, but strengthening the Lions’ recruiting ties in Big Ten territory is a plus for the staff.
Illinois’ defense finished 15th in the Football Bowl Subdivision this past season in passing yards allowed (184.4). At Penn State, Banks will inherit a group of seven safeties who finished the season on scholarship, including returning starter Marcus Allen and reserve Malik Golden, who was thrust into the starting role toward the end of the season. Cornerbacks coach Terry Smith maintains his role in the secondary and added the title of assistant head coach a week ago.
Audrey Snyder: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @audsnyder4.
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