Go Long …..with Grant Long
Written by: Grant Long on Monday, May 13th, 2013
Being that everyone knows that I am a huge Penn State fan, it wouldn’t be likely for me to pass up an opportunity such as this. I recently had the honor to attend a Media Conference at Penn State DuBois for the Penn State Coaches Caravan and interview Penn State Football Head Coach Bill O’Brien and Penn State Men’s Hockey Head Coach, Guy Gadowsky. I was a little nervous going into the Press Room and the thought, “I am about to talk one-on-one, mono-y-mono, with one my idols!” ran through my head many times. It was an awesome experience and I am grateful for it.
What was the hardest part of taking the job just over a year ago?
“There were many challenges along the way. The NCAA sanctions were tough to get past. State College has a great passion for football and it has been a great opportunity for me to coach here.”
Is Happy Valley excited for football season after the turn out at the Blue-White Game?
“I think so…It was tough weather that day, almost blizzard conditions for part of that spring game and we still had upwards of 35,000 people there which is fantastic and says a lot about Penn State. It’s a fantastic place to watch football. We have a great home schedule. We got some night games, and we got Michigan coming in too. We are excited about the fall and I know our players love to see a full stadium. I believe there is excitement for the ’13 team.”
Are there any local high school players that you are looking at?
“We are interested in many local kids and kids in the Pittsburgh area, which is very tough for recruiting.”
What is the outlook for the upcoming season?
“The outlook is very positive. There are some core players that are stepping up and as a whole we need to stay healthy. If our QB’s practice well, we will be well on our way for the fall.”
I am a huge hockey fan as many people also know. Interviewing Guy Gadowsky; the Penn State Men’s Hockey Head Coach; was also a great honor.
Is recruiting difficult due to not many high schools having hockey programs?
“Well, in hockey, it’s a little different. About 90% of Division One players come from Junior Hockey; whether it’s in the Midwest in the UCHL or here in the east. You may be familiar with the Youngstown Phantoms which is in the UCHL. College hockey doesn’t necessarily recruit out of high school as it does Junior programs all across North America. I am hoping that the Big Ten Conference, with Penn State coming in, does improve the level of play in high school and in Pennsylvania. But I still think you are going to see the best players go on to play “junior” somewhere.”
Does State College seem to be responding well to the microscope of Division 1 hockey?
“Yes, I think there is a lot of excitement and support from the community. The local area is also excited for the Pegula Ice Center, the new arena near Beaver Stadium. It should have a “rocking” student section right behind the opposing goal for two periods. It should be a lot of fun.”
I just want to say thanks to Mr. Steve Harmic, public information officer at Penn State DuBois and Mr. Bundy for telling me about the caravan and setting up my attendance at PSU DuBois.
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