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VIDEO: Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year David Taylor

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It has been a big week for former Nittany Lion wrestling great and two-time NCAA champion David Taylor. The four-time All-American was named Jesse Owens Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year on Monday. Taylor then earned an ESPY nomination for Best Male College Athlete on Wednesday. caught up with Taylor to talk about his remarkable achievements and the next steps for his career.

Vote for Taylor in the ESPY Awards here:

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Nittany Lions Say Thank You to Brad 'Spider' Caldwell

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Feature: Caldwell's Dedication to Penn State Football Unmatched

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - To honor beloved equipment manager Brad "Spider" Caldwell on his final day as a Penn State Football employee, the Nittany Lions wanted to take a few moments to say thank you for all that Caldwell has done for Penn State. After working with more than 1,000 football student-athletes, Caldwell will retire from the University after 31 years of service on Friday.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Pegula Ice Arena Playing Surface Set for Year Two

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The playing surface inside Pegula Ice Arena was a hub of activity on Wednesday as a crew worked to paint the lines and center logo in preparation for the 2014-'15 season.

Led Chris Whittemore, head of facilities management at Pegula Ice Arena, the line painting on the surface took roughly four to six hours, while the intricate process of putting the ice back into the arena takes a few days before it is at the ideal thickness for competition.

Whittemore said the crew of six to eight people installs four to five layers of water (ice) before applying three coats of white paint. Another five to six layers of water are added before the lines, logo and creases are painted. From there, the crew seals the playing surface before adding an inch to an inch and a half of ice to build thickness, a process that takes three to four days. The ice then strengthens over time as more skating takes place on the surface.

Penn State's second season inside the sparkling facility begins in the fall.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

'Chopped' Episode Featuring Coach Hand Set to Debut

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State offensive line coach and run game coordinator Herb Hand will be a competitor on Tuesday night's episode of "Chopped" on Food Network (10 p.m. ET).

Hand was invited to put his cooking skills to the test on the competitive show last fall. During a Vanderbilt bye week, Hand and his family flew to New York to film the episode known as "Four Fathers". The show pits four contestants against one another who have minimal time to make an appetizer, main course and dessert with unusual ingredients.

The contestants are judged after each round, with the worst contestant being "chopped" until one contestant remains. According to Food Network, the "Four Fathers" episode features an appetizer round with fish and salt and vinegar potato chips, and in the dessert round rice pudding and pretzel dessert.

"It's basically a dad's who cook show. It combines food and competition, two of my favorite things," Hand said. "I'm looking forward to watching the show. I think everyone will be excited about it."

The full description of Tuesday's "Four Fathers" episode from Food Network is:

"Making their kids proud, four daring dads take on the pressure cooker that is the Chopped Kitchen, but how will the fathers-turned-competitors fare with fish and salt and vinegar potato chips in the appetizer round? The dads get the gift of a bottle of scotch in the entree basket. And after the two fathers fight it out in the dessert round, the judges debate whose rice pudding and pretzel dessert was more successful." (Episode: CQ1908H)

The episode debuts on Food Network Tuesday at 10 p.m. It will re-air four times, as well - June 11 at 1 a.m. ET, June 15 at 7 p.m. ET, June 19 at 8 p.m. ET and June 20 at 3 a.m. ET. The Food Network is distributed to more than 100 million households in the U.S.

Tune in to watch Coach Hand in his quest to dominate the kitchen on the latest episode of "Chopped".


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Athletes Volunteer at Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - More than 2,000 athletes from across Pennsylvania competed on Penn State's campus this weekend as part of the 2014 Special Olympics Summer Games.

The Opening Ceremonies took place on Thursday inside Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, kicking off a weekend of competition. Student-athletes from across a number of Penn State teams volunteered at the Summer Games over the weekend.

"I love to give back to the community. We feel like the community does so much for us, so we can't wait to give back," football redshirt freshman Andrew Nelson said.

"I love helping out at the Special Olmypics," women's volleyball sophomore Kelly Robertson said. "It's a great atmosphere, and it's really fun to see everyone get excited about sports like we do."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Chambers Leading the Fight Against Cancer at CVC Golf Outing

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VIDEO: Patrick Chambers Press Conference at CVC Golf Outing | Photo Gallery

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Attitude is everything for Patrick Chambers.

He and the Nittany Lion basketball program live by the motto of approaching any type of adversity with a choice.  You can either face challenges with a positive attitude or dwell on them with a negative attitude.

For Chambers, there really is no choice.

Everything he touches has a positive tone involved with it.

chambers_cvc_1.jpgThe atmosphere at Friday's 18th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Tournament at the Penn State Golf Courses was living proof of that.

Chambers was hired on the day of the CVC golf outing in 2011, and a sun-splashed Friday provided the setting for another positive step for he and the outstanding event held at the Penn State Blue and White Golf Courses.  More than 300 golfers took the courses on Friday, including several Penn State head coaches.  Baseball's Rob Cooper, women's lacrosse's Missy Doherty, men's volleyball's Mark Pavlik, women's hockey's Josh Brandwene, women's gymnastics's Jeff Thompson, men's golf's Greg Nye and men's soccer's Bob Warming participated in this year's outing.

For Chambers, this year's version of the tournament took on a different meaning.  Chambers lost his brother, Greg, to lung cancer at age 60 on March 18, and the CVC event touched him personally unlike the previous three years.

"For the first time in my life, this event hits close to home," Chambers said.  "It hit me at home with one of your older brothers.  It's been a trying time, yet a time to reflect on great memories with him growing up...I'll mention this today, I saw a Johns Hopkins study on this.  Not only do you need to eat well and stay in shape and take care of yourself, but you need to laugh and have to keep your mind clear of any negativity.  I needed to see something like that heading into last night's event and today.  I feel like he knows that I'm here putting forth more of an effort."

Chambers spent the morning session making the rounds on the golf course saying hello and greeting the participants before playing golf in the afternoon in a group with five-time NBA champion Ron Harper.  Chambers has the perfect attitude to lead a fight against a deadly disease.

"I want this to be a happy event.  I want this to be a celebration.  I want people to have a good time," Chambers said.  "It's a first-class event that everybody looks forward to every year."

harper_CVC_1.jpgChambers and Harper kept the mood light in their six-man group.  Harper provided music in a portable speaker system as the group made its way around the Blue Course.

Beyond the laughs and lighthearted talk on the course, Chambers is among a group of many leaders who play an integral role in a battle much bigger than a win or loss on the court or field of play.  A great deal of credit goes out to former Nittany Lion basketball leaders Bruce Parkhill, Jerry Dunn (both of which were in attendance on Friday) and Ed DeChellis for helping lead the Penn State CVC into what it has become today.

"This runs like a well-oiled machine right now, so I can't even fathom what they went through to get this thing off the ground," Chambers said.  "The level that it is at now is unbelievable...To get this thing off the ground the way they did, and now have $2 million raised in the 18th year.  That's pretty amazing with what these coaches have started.  I am going to carry the torch as long as I can to keep it going. 

The CVC Golf Tournament is the flagship event of the organization created to raise funds year-round to support the American Cancer Society affected by the disease in Centre County through the Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund (BCAF).  In addition to the golf tournament, Coaches vs. Cancer conducts a year-round calendar of seven events.

The golf tournament has more than doubled in size since it began in 1996-'97, and there could not be a better man with a better attitude continuing to lead the Penn State CVC fight than Coach Chambers.

With the funds raised last year, the CVC eclipsed $2 million raised in the fight against cancer.  While it was a fun day on the golf course, the bigger fight cannot be stated enough. 
To get involved as a sponsor or participant in Penn State Coaches vs. Cancer please visit CVCPENNSTATE.ORG or call 814-330-3337.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Patrick Chambers Press Conference at CVC Golf Outing

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hear from head coach Patrick Chambers as he addresses the media at the 18th Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Outing on Friday.

Beloved Caldwell's Dedication to Penn State Football Unmatched

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Few men have poured more time, effort and energy into the betterment of Penn State Football than Brad Caldwell.

Affectionately known as "Spider" around the program, the beloved equipment manager of the Nittany Lions left a mark on the program that no one may ever touch. 

For the past 31 years, Caldwell didn't do his job for notoriety or recognition.  He worked, often from sun up to sun down, in Happy Valley because he loved his profession, and more importantly, he loved making a positive impact on those around him.

His journey to the Penn State sideline started at Curwensville High School (45 miles west of State College).  Caldwell's eighth grade science teacher talked him into being a manager for the junior high football team.  Before finishing a season with the junior high team, Caldwell was invited to become the manager of the Golden Tide's varsity team.

"I was a manager in high school for four years for three different sports, and I fell in love with it," Caldwell said.  "My eighth grade science teacher, who was a junior high coach, called me going into my ninth grade year and said I'd love to have you be a manager for my team...The varsity coach saw me, and then I went straight into varsity that year.  I did football, wrestling and baseball during my four years there.  I just loved it.  I think it was something I was supposed to do, and I really enjoyed it."

spider_4.jpgAfter graduating from Curwensville in 1982, Caldwell spent one year at Penn State's DuBois campus.  He watched the Nittany Lions win their first national title, and he knew that he wanted to be a part of the program.  Caldwell enrolled in classes at the University Park campus in the fall of 1983 with an eye on becoming a student manager.

Caldwell's first game on the Penn State sideline was at the 1983 Kickoff Classic in Giants Stadium against No. 1 Nebraska.

"Here I am, I'm from small Curwensville, and I'm in awe standing in Giants Stadium," Caldwell said.  "I'm standing there looking at the New York City skyline saying, 'what the heck am I doing here.'  What a dream come true."

On the heels of a national title, the Nittany Lions opened the '83 season with losses to Nebraska, Cincinnati and Iowa.  Staring at a 0-3 mark, members of the team and staff jokingly blamed the new guy on the block.

Penn State went on to finish 8-4-1 in Caldwell's first season as a student manager, including a victory over Washington in the Aloha Bowl.  He was part of Penn State's second national title during the 1986 season as a student.  Caldwell had classes with All-Americans Shane Conlan and D.J. Dozier.

"It was a dream come true to be a part of.  That was just so special to be a part of," Caldwell said.

For his efforts as a student, Caldwell was hired as Assistant Equipment Manager after receiving his bachelor's degree in recreation and park management in 1986.  And he has perfect attendance.

"I've never missed a game since I started," Caldwell said.  "I've been sick at a couple games.  I missed family weddings for games.  I haven't missed one since I started."

Caldwell's rapport with the players on the roster is what makes him so special.  For more than 30 years, Penn State Football and its student-athletes have been central figures in Caldwell's family.

spider_3.jpg"The thing that has made this so special is the players," Caldwell said.  "There really, truly is a Penn State family.  Karen and I never had any kids.  These were my kids.  It's kept me young.  It's the same with the student managers.  I still have four or five student managers to this day that still call me dad."

The players knew they could count on Caldwell to be at his post in the equipment room when they needed something.  He greeted them with a smile time after time after time when he tossed a new pair of socks or fixed shoulder pads.  He looked out for the players because he genuinely cared for them.

"I've outfitted more than 1,000 Penn State Football players, and it is just such a rewarding feeling.  It's a family," Caldwell said.

Spider and Karen are both members of the football community.  Karen's behind the scenes role speaks volumes about the type of people the Caldwells are.

She has sewn the bowl patch on Penn State's jerseys for 11 games, beginning with the 1993 Blockbuster Bowl when the Nittany Lions wore a Big Ten shield to promote joining the conference one season later.

"At the time, the players didn't really want the patches because they thought it was sacrilegious to put something on the uniform," Caldwell said. 

Karen Caldwell sewed all of the 100th anniversary Big Ten patches on the Penn State's 1995 Rose Bowl pants, in addition to the 1997 Fiesta Bowl jersey patch.  Beginning with the 1999 Alamo Bowl, the Nittany Lions have worn a patch on their jerseys in the past nine bowl games.

"Karen has sewn every single bowl patch," Caldwell said.

Spider packed 30 jerseys at a time into a travel bag and took them home to Karen, who sewed each patch in their log cabin outside of State College.

Prior to the 2012 season, Karen was busy.

"I took all of the jerseys home and had her sew the Big Ten patch on them," Caldwell said.  "Then, Coach O'Brien decided to go with the names on the jerseys.  I took them all home again in August, and Karen sewed all of the name panels on."

spider_1.jpgSpider did not have time to send the jerseys to Nike for the stitching of each name onto name plates, so he heat pressed them prior to the season-opener.  Nonetheless, the letters started peeling off, so he took the jerseys back home to Karen.

"I took them all back, and she started sewing each individual letter on every jersey," Caldwell said. 

A man who has a lifetime of memories as a member of the Penn State Football staff, Caldwell pinpointed one season as a favorite.

"The 1994 year was the most fun to watch," Caldwell said.  "To be on the sidelines, those guys were just machines.  I don't ever remember seeing 11 guys do everything exactly the way they were supposed to on every single play."

"I still have Kerry Collins's wristband from the Rose Bowl, and it had 10 plays on it.  That's it.  They were goal line plays," Caldwell said.  "It was just so much fun watching those guys go up and down the field."

Sifting through 31 years of memories, Caldwell's proudest moment may have come on Nov. 12, 1994 in Champaign, Ill., when the Lions rallied back from 21-0 down in the first quarter in what is likely the program's greatest comeback.

Down 31-28 and a perfect season on the line at their own 4-yard line, the Nittany Lions started an infamous drive with 6:07 on the clock.  Penn State fans across the country can envision Kerry Collins leading the team down the field for a game-winning score at Memorial Stadium, but Caldwell had a slightly different view of "The Drive."

As Collins took the snap of the first play at the 4-yard line, it began to rain.

"At the time, that game was on AstroTurf.  We had these turf shoes for the rain called 'Destroyers'," Caldwell said.  "We would change the players' shoes as it started raining because the turf would get slippery."

"So on that day, we were literally on the sideline cutting shoestrings off to get their shoes off...during the series," Caldwell said.  "We started on the 4-yard line and started working our way up during a 96-yard drive."

spider_2.jpgAs the Nittany Lions marched down the field, Caldwell was busy on the sideline feverishly cutting shoestrings off the first pair of game shoes and then putting players in the "Destroyer" rain shoes as they came off the field.  Just as the ball reached mid-field, Caldwell had changed the shoes of the last guy - All-American tight end Kyle Brady.

"I really felt part of that drive," Caldwell said.  "We were exhausted on the sideline, but to watch the score, it was just so rewarding.  I was part of that drive.  It was a neat feeling after the game to be a part of that win."

Collins finished 7-for-7 on the 96-yard drive, leading the Nittany Lions to a 35-31 victory over Illinois, and Caldwell will forever have a place in history during the epic comeback.

"Penn State is a special place because of how this program feels," Caldwell said.  "It is a classic team.  When you run out of that tunnel, you feel it.  I've been so proud to be the caretaker of the Penn State uniform."

Caldwell's place in Penn State Football history will be as an unsung, behind-the-scenes leader, but the impact he had on the student-athletes for more than 30 years is truly special.

"To think a guy from Curwensville can have the keys to Beaver Stadium is so humbling," Caldwell said.  "It's just so special to think about how many fans and alums have reached out to me over the years.  I just can't believe it.  I'm just a guy who fixes helmets and shoulder pads.  People related to me, and they made me feel so special."

To say Caldwell is grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Penn State Football for more than three decades doesn't do him justice.  The equipment room and sideline were home to him.

"I can't thank the fans, former players, former managers and coaches who made me feel so special," Caldwell said.  "It's tough to walk away from that, but I know that I have so many great memories."

Now, Caldwell's next chapter will enable him to do something he has never experienced.

"I can actually come back and watch a game without having to worry about fixing something that breaks," Caldwell said with a laugh.  "I'm going to be able to tailgate for the first time in my life."

We wish Caldwell the best of luck in his relocation to Vermont and new position at Fair Haven Union High School.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: One-on-One with Sean Spencer on the Coaches Caravan

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with defensive line coach Sean Spencer at the Coaches Caravan stop in Lehigh Valley.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: One-on-One with John Donovan on the Coaches Caravan

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with offensive coordinator and tight ends coach John Donovan at the Coaches Caravan stop in Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony