Another Penn State defensive assistant will reportedly leave Lions for head-coaching job

Centre Daily Times (TNS)
Anthony Poindexter

Penn State will reportedly lose another assistant coach on the defensive side of the ball.

The hiring of Anthony Poindexter as Virginia's new head football coach is imminent, Virginia beat reporter Jerry Ratcliffe reported Monday evening. The announcement is set to come no later than Wednesday, he reported.

According to Ratcliffe, Virginia athletic director Carla Williams flew to Las Vegas on Sunday to meet with Poindexter — who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame there Tuesday — about the Virginia head coaching vacancy.

Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced on Thursday evening that he would be stepping down as the team's head coach following the team's bowl game at the end of the season. Former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry was hired as Virginia Tech's head coach last Tuesday.

Poindexter, 45, has 18 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, coaching at Virginia, Connecticut and Purdue, prior to his time at Penn State — beginning in 2021. Penn State safeties Jaquan Brisker and Ji'Ayir Brown were named as first-team and third-team All-Big Ten selections respectively this season. The Nittany Lions' defense as a whole ranks seventh nationally in scoring defense (16.75 ppg) and 36th (344.3 ypg) in total defense.

Purdue's defense saw a marked improvement under Poindexter in 2017, allowing 38.2 points per game in 2016 to 20.5. The following year, the Boilermakers allowed 30 points per game to rank 83rd in the country, followed by 30.6 allowed per game in 2019 and 29.8 per game in 2020.

Poindexter served as Connecticut's defensive coordinator and safeties coach from 2014-2016 under head coach Bob Diaco. Connecticut went to the St. Petersburg Bowl in 2015. Poindexter's defense led the American Athletic Conference, giving up just 19.5 points per game.

He's now expected to return to his alma mater, having played for Virginia (1995-1998) and was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020. In 40 games for the Cavaliers, Poindexter had 12 interceptions for 141 yards. He compiled a team-high 98 tackles in 1996, finished with 78 tackles his junior year and he finished off his senior season with 73 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions.