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A familiar face: Former Penn State coach makes return to the Big Ten East

One of Franklin’s former assistants is returning to the division.



Former Penn State coach
Apr 12, 2014; State College, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions offensive recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach Josh Gattis walks off the field in the second quarter of the Blue White spring game at Beaver Stadium. The Blue team defeated the White team 37-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the University of Maryland football program made a huge announcement: Mike Locksley’s Terrapins have hired former Michigan and Penn State coach Josh Gattis as their new offensive coordinator. The move came not long after Gattis was fired from his offensive coordinator position at the University of Miami (FL). Now, the former Penn State coach will roam the sidelines of his third Big Ten East school.

Former Penn State coach returns to the Big Ten East

Maryland’s decision to get a new offensive coordinator is not all that surprising; after all, the Terrapins were embarrassed by Penn State in Beaver Stadium in 2022 to the tune of a 30-0 Nittany Lion win. Gattis is very familiar with the Big Ten East as he has seven years of coaching experience with two Big Ten East teams since 2014. He also has plenty of experience with Penn State head coach James Franklin, as he served on Franklin’s staff for two years at Vanderbilt (2012-13) and for four seasons at Penn State (2014-17).

After leaving State College following Penn State’s Fiesta Bowl-winning season in 2017, the former Penn State coach headed to Alabama for one season before taking the offensive coordinator role on Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan football staff in 2019. From 2019-2021 Gattis served as the Wolverines’ offensive coordinator — going 1-2 against Penn State — before leaving the program after the Wolverines’ first Big Ten title in nearly 20 years.

Gattis accepted the OC role at Miami (FL) for the 2022 season, where the Hurricanes crashed and burned under Gattis’s instruction, leading to him being fired after just one season in the ACC.

On Thursday, Maryland officially announced that Gattis will be their offensive play-caller for the 2023 season, meaning he must face two of his former head coaches: James Franklin (Penn State) and Jim Harbaugh (Michigan). Both games will be in College Park, MA.

“The additions of Josh and Zac really bolsters our already strong coaching staff,” said Maryland head coach Mike Locksley. “Josh and I have a strong relationship and a proven track record of working together to produce a potent offense. He and I share many of the same philosophies and it should be a very smooth transition.”

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