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PSU hires co-defensive coordinator

DEREK LEVARSE
(Wilkes-Barre) Times Leader (TNS)

Three assistants who helped James Franklin get his head coaching career off the ground are gone.

So when it came time to fill one final vacancy on his staff this month, the Penn State coach chose a familiar face.

Franklin has hired another former Big Ten coordinator in Tim Banks, whom he previously worked with at Maryland. Penn State announced Monday that Banks has come aboard as the safeties coach, also naming him co-defensive coordinator.

“I am excited about having an opportunity to work with Coach Franklin and his staff,” Banks said in a news release. “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.”

The Nittany Lions are now back to a full complement of nine assistants as they prepare for their biggest recruiting weekend ahead of national signing day.

Franklin and Banks spent two seasons together on Ralph Friedgen’s staff at Maryland in 2003 and 2004. Franklin was the receivers coach and Banks oversaw the inside linebackers. Former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien was the Terrapins’ running backs coach at the time, as well.

That familiarity could be helpful for Franklin, who fired offensive coordinator John Donovan in November and saw defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and offensive line coach Herb Hand leave for the same jobs in the SEC earlier this month. All three had been with Franklin since he took over at Vanderbilt in 2011, and all three had followed him to Penn State.

“I am excited to have Tim join our Penn State Football family,” Franklin said in a release. “Tim and I worked together at Maryland and built a great relationship there. 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, 44, is a Detroit native who has worked with linebackers as well as defensive backs throughout his career. He spent the last four seasons running Illinois’ defense, hired by Penn State nemesis Tim Beckman when he took over the Fighting Illini in 2012.

But the Illini’s defense hovered around the bottom of the Big Ten statistically from 2012-14. Last season Banks split duties with another assistant, Mike Phair, and the numbers improved.

That led to Banks leaving Champaign last month after coach Bill Cubit told him he wanted to give more input to Phair.

“I tried to mesh it a little and (Banks) wasn’t comfortable,” Cubit said.

In all, Banks has been an FBS assistant for 17 seasons, also serving as defensive coordinator at Cincinnati (2010-11 as co-coordinator) as well as at his alma mater, Central Michigan (2007-09).

Prior to that, Banks was a position coach at Maryland, Memphis and Bowling Green after getting his start at Division II Ferris State.

Banks’ hiring caps off an eventful offseason for the Lions’ coaching staff. Only four of Penn State’s nine assistants will be in the same position they were in last year — Charles Huff (special teams and running backs), Josh Gattis (wide receivers), Sean Spencer (defensive line) and Terry Smith (cornerbacks).

Brent Pry will continue to coach linebackers after being promoted to defensive coordinator. Pry will now apparently share the defensive coordinating duties with Banks. Ricky Rahne shifts from coaching quarterbacks to tight ends.

The three new guys are Banks, Joe Moorhead (offensive coordinator, quarterbacks) and Matt Limegrover (offensive line).

Tim Banks

Tim Banks Coaching Experience

2012-15: Illinois – Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach

2010-11: Cincinnati – Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach

2007-09: Central Michigan – Defensive Coordinator

2003-06: Maryland – Defensive Backs Coach (2006); Inside Linebackers Coach (2003-05)

2001-02: Memphis – Defensive Backs Coach (2002); Outside Linebacker Coach (2001)

1999-00: Bowling Green - Defensive Backs Coach (2000); Running Backs Coach (1999)

1997-98: Ferris State - Defensive Backs Coach

1996: Bowling Green – Graduate Assistant