Penn State acted quickly to fill the latest vacancy on its coaching staff.
The program announced Thursday afternoon it hired veteran assistant Joe Lorig as its special teams coordinator. He replaces Phil Galiano, whose kicking and return units struggled in his only season as coordinator before he accepted an assistant special teams position with the New Orleans Saints last week.
Lorig spent the 2018 season at Memphis, where the Tigers — who hadn’t returned a kickoff for a touchdown in 21 years — brought three kickoffs to the house in his third year at the helm. A consistent trait among assistants hired at Penn State in recent years, Lorig has a prior working relationship with Nittany Lions coach James Franklin; both were assistants on head coach Larry Lewis’ staff at Idaho State in 1999.
Franklin said a “comprehensive study” of special teams coordinators nationwide identified Lorig as the best candidate to rebuild the Nittany Lions special teams.
“We are looking forward to having Joe join our staff,” Franklin said in a statement. “His special teams units have a history of being among the best in the country, and we know he can continue that success here.”
Lorig spent time as a special teams coordinator at Memphis and Arizona State, and in January, he agreed to become special teams coordinator at Texas Tech, a job he left a little more than a month later to accept the Penn State position. At Memphis, Lorig’s special teams units twice finished in the top five in the nation in kick return average, and in the top 20 in kick return defense every season. The Tigers also didn’t allow a punt or kickoff return for a touchdown during his tenure.