Coaches Caravan: Day IV - Hazleton and Lehigh Valley

VIDEO FEATURE: The Coaches Caravan from a Fan Perspective


Photo Gallery - Hazleton Stop


Coaches Caravan Registration


HAZLETON and BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Week two of the Coaches Caravan kicked off on Tuesday morning when the Penn State-themed Fullington Trailways coach bus rolled out of the Bryce Jordan Center parking lot with football head coach Bill O'Brien, Lady Lions head coach Coquese Washington and men's golf coach Greg Nye aboard en route to Hazleton.

Day four included a lunch stop on the Penn State Hazleton campus and an evening program in the Lehigh Valley.  The nine-day event co-hosted by the Nittany Lion Club and the Penn State Alumni Association will continue on Wednesday and Thursday this week.  Take a look through highlights from the first day of week two on the caravan.

Stop VII - Hazleton
More than 200 Penn State fans and alums greeted the head coaches inside the gymnasium at the 1,300-student Hazleton Campus on Tuesday morning.  Coaches Nye and Washington each spoke for the first during the caravan.  Coach Nye addressed the crowd about the history of successes the men's golf program has endured during his tenure as head coach.

 

Coach Washington highlighted the Lady Lions' journey to a Big Ten title this spring.  She also spoke at great length about the exciting season ahead for Penn State across the athletic department.

 "It's poised to be a season for the ages for Penn State Athletics," Coach Washington said.

Coach O'Brien gave his colleague a great deal of praise during the opening portion of his speech.

 

"There is no better women's basketball coach in the country than Coquese Washington," Coach O'Brien said.

 

In addition to explaining his vision for the football program, Coach O'Brien told the crowd in Hazleton that he has spent time recently working on the future schedules for Penn State Football.  With the schedules set for the next three seasons, Coach O'Brien said that he eventually wants to add a marquee game at the beginning of each season.  Among the teams he mentioned were - Alabama, Stanford and Southern California - and possibly at neutral sites.

Take a look through some photos during the lunch in Hazleton.

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VIDEO: Media Interviews in Hazleton
Watch Bill O'Brien and Coquese Washington talk to the media in Hazleton.  Coach O'Brien speaks about football in the northeastern portion of Pennsylvania.



Stop VIII: Lehigh Valley
The eighth stop on the Coaches Caravan visited the Sands Hotel and Casino in Bethlehem, Pa.  The evening program was the first ever event held by the Sands Events Center.  A crowd of nearly 400 Penn State fans attended the program on Tuesday night.  The Lehigh Valley fans were energetic and engaged throughout the program, providing a great atmosphere for Tuesday night's stop.

All three coaches spent time talking about the importance of a close-knit community in the athletic department moving forward.  Coach Nye informed the crowd of the brown bag lunches that the golf clubhouse hosts from time to time for the head coaches across the athletic department to attend.  Coach O'Brien was among the attendees to a lunch in March where he got to know several coaches.  Coach Nye's message plays off of the "One Team" mentality Coach O'Brien has adopted for the Nittany Lion football team and its place in the athletic department.

The leader of Penn State football delivered an impassioned, informative presentation in the Lehigh Valley.  He told the crowd that he likes to adjust his presentation at every stop of the Coaches Caravan.  Having been at all eight stops, Coach O'Brien talks about a lot of the same topics, but the variation of his speech makes the presentation riveting every time he delivers it.

On Tuesday (for the first time on the caravan), Coach O'Brien said that he caught the coaching bug at 8 or 9 years old.  He grew up in Massachusetts watching Penn State games on TV with his dad.  As we have written before, what you see is what you get with Coach O'Brien.  He is a passionate, competitive individual who loves the game of football, and his speeches on the Coaches Caravan are a great representation of that.

The fan reaction to all three coaches was terrific in the Lehigh Valley.  The fan response has been the most impressive thing about the first eight stops of the caravan.  The crowd gave Coach O'Brien a standing ovation when he finished his PowerPoint presentation on Tuesday.  Coach Washington directed her final remarks to the crowd on a great night at the Sands Events Center.

"Thank you for being the best fans," Coach Washington said.



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VIDEO: Lehigh Valley Press Conference
Coach O'Brien and Coach Washington addressed the media at a joint press conference at the Lehigh Valley event.



For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can call 1-800-648-8269 (1-800-NITTANY) weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Ticket Center.


Follow GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony