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Coaches Caravan: Day VIII - Youngstown and Cleveland

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Photo Gallery: Youngstown Stop

Photo Gallery: Cleveland Stop

YOUNGSTOWN and CLEVELAND - Following two stops in Pennsylvania, the Penn State Coaches Caravan moved into Ohio for a pair of events on Tuesday.

Nearly 100 fans and alums greeted Bill O'Brien, Coquese Washington, Guy Gadowsky and Mark Pavlik for lunch in Youngstown.  The Penn State-themed coach bus took a short drive across the Ohio Turnpike and north on Interstate 77 to Cleveland for the second stop on day eight of the nine-day caravan.

Take a look through highlights of the two Ohio stops on the final week of the Coaches Caravan.

Stop XV - Youngstown
With some audio difficulties during the introduction to stop 15, Coach O'Brien took things into his own hands with a rousing We Are...Penn State chant in the Grand Ballroom at the Holiday Inn located just south of Youngstown, kicking off a very good stop in Northeast Ohio.  Coaches Pavlik, Gadowsky and Washington, respectively, delivered candid messages to say thank you to the Penn State fans and alums in the room.

Although we keep stating it, the reception and interaction from the fans at every stop has been tremendous.  The fans have made the traveling caravan a resounding success.  The coaches repeat themselves time and time again on the importance of receiving support from the attendees in the room.  The alums and fans across the nation are a big part of the success Penn State Athletics is able to achieve on a yearly basis.  In many ways, the coaches have used the Caravan as an opportunity to remind the fans and alums of their role in the department's success and a way to say thanks for everything they do.

Coach O'Brien talks about recruiting at every stop.  One of the points he really drove home to the Youngstown crowd on the recruiting front is the importance of finding the right guys who fit into the football program.  Sure he is looking for talented athletes, but Coach O'Brien wants high integrity individuals who will work hard every day on the field and in the classroom.

Stop XVI: Cleveland
The Caravan bus rolled into downtown Cleveland shortly before 3 p.m. on a warm afternoon along Lake Erie.  Tuesday evening's event was held at the City Club of Cleveland in front of nearly 200 people.  The same cast of coaches - Bill O'Brien, Coquese Washington, Guy Gadowsky and Mark Pavlik - spoke at the evening festivities.  Tuesday's program was among the best evening events with energetic, entertaining and humorous speeches from all four individuals.

As you hear each coach speak more and more on the Caravan, it has become extremely apparent just how much the opportunity to coach at Penn State means to each of them.  Coach Pavlik, like a number of veteran coaches on the University Park campus, is a tremendous ambassador for the entire athletic department.  And while they have not been in Happy Valley quite as long as Coach Pavlik, Coaches Gadowsky and Washington are cut from the same mold.

"There are a lot of special things about Penn State and the athletic department that you don't see at other places," Coach Gadowsky said.

"It is truly an honor for us to be a part of this special community," Coach Washington said.

Coach O'Brien is exactly the same way.  His passion for Penn State oozes from every speech on the Caravan.  When he is finished with the evening PowerPoint presentation you are ready to put pads on and start playing for the University everyone in the presentation room loves.

The evening in Cleveland was another great representation of Penn State's contingent of great coaches, and it was a superb stop to cap off a day in Ohio.

Before shifting into coverage of the day nine stops in Erie and Buffalo, Coach O'Brien filled the media in Cleveland in on a number of football topics pertaining to the roster, depth chart and schedule, among other things.  Coach O'Brien was asked what he is looking forward to most about his first gameday in Beaver Stadium.

Boarding the blue buses and riding from the Lasch Football Building to Beaver Stadium and running onto the field out of the tunnel for the first time topped his list.  The countdown is on for the season-opener against Ohio on Sept. 1.  Take a look at the video below for more football talk in Cleveland.

VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Talks Football In Cleveland
Coach O'Brien talks about the team, depth chart and more during his meeting with the media in Cleveland on Tuesday.

Caravan_Cleveland 1.jpgCaravan_Cleveland 2.jpgCaravan_Cleveland 3.jpg Caravan_Cleveland 4.jpg

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 Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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