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Looking Back at the Top Events from 2013-'14

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the calendar begins to shift towards the start of the 2014-'15 athletic season, GoPSUsports.com wanted to take a look back at a tremendous campaign for Penn State Athletics.

Fueled by national championships from women's volleyball, wrestling and fencing, Penn State accumulated a record point total in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup in 2013-'14.

Penn State's three NCAA Championships are its most since winning three in 1999-2000. Penn State student-athletes, who have an 88 percent graduation rate, won a school record-tying and conference-best eight Big Ten titles in 2013-'14 and 16 over the past two years, easily topping second place Michigan (9) in combined titles the last two years.

Take a look back at some of the top events from a stellar Penn State sports season.


Men's Hockey: Oct. 11, 2013 - Penn State 4, Army 1 (First Game in Pegula)

HKY_Pegula_First Game.jpgIt was a night fans in Hockey Valley had been dreaming of for years. The Nittany Lion men's hockey team christened the state-of-the-art Pegula Ice Arena with a dominant performance before a boisterous sold out crowd on opening night for the 2013-'14 season.

At 8:14 p.m., the puck dropped in the first game inside Penn State's sparkling new home for hockey.

Nate Jenson owns the honor of tallying the first goal for the Nittany Lions in Pegula. He took a feed from Taylor Holstrom early in the first period and beat Army goalie Rob Tadazak to the high corner, glove side. Just as Jensen scored, the crowd of 6,370 exploded and Zombie Nation blared through the speakers.

An early third-period two-on-one shorthanded goal from Curtis Loik and a breakaway goal from David Goodwin would spark the same reaction. Leading 3-1, Eric Scheid notched a last-second empty net goal to seal the first win in their inaugural game in Pegula.

Hockey Valley could not have any been prouder of its team following the 4-1 victory, and the student section made that very clear. The Roar Zone was full song from the moment it walked into the building 90 minutes before faceoff.

The Nittany Lions went on to win four games inside Pegula Ice Arena during their first Big Ten season. The list of victories included a thrilling 4-0 win over Michigan and a 4-2 triumph over Ohio State during conference play.



Football: Oct. 12, 2013 - Penn State 43, Michigan 40 (Beaver Stadium)

FB_Robinson Michigan.jpegDown by 34-27 at its own 20-yard line with 50 seconds on the clock and no timeouts, Penn State found itself in a difficult situation in sold out Beaver Stadium against rival Michigan.

The stakes were simple. Drive down the field and score a touchdown or the game was over.

True freshman and 18-year old signal-caller Christian Hackenberg jogged onto the field to lead the offense during the 2-minute drill with the game on the line.

On first down at the 20, Hackenberg connected with Robinson, who dragged his toe just inside the sideline paint in front of the Penn State bench for a 14-yard gain.

One play later, it was Brandon Felder's turn.

Hackenberg's toss to Felder in front of the Michigan bench covered 29 yards and set up another first down at the Michigan 37-yard line.

Two plays later, Robinson returned to the spotlight with the play of the game.

Hackenberg fielded Ty Howle's snap and looked to Robinson, who was lined up wide on the left side of the formation. Robinson stuttered in the first 10 yards of his route, attempting to freeze the Michigan defensive back. As he regained full speed, Hackenberg's pass was in the air.

Robinson skied over the Michigan defender and plucked the ball at the highest point in his jump before falling to a rest at the 1-yard line.

Hackenberg finished the drive off with a plunge into the end zone, capping off a five-play, 80-yard game-tying touchdown drive that covered just 23 seconds on the clock.

The teams exchanged blows in the overtime frames before Bill Belton became the hero. Belton trotted into the north end zone of Beaver Stadium for a game-winning touchdown in the fourth OT, capping off an epic comeback and a victory that will live in Penn State history for decades.



 
Women's Volleyball: Dec. 21, 2013 - Penn State 3, Wisconsin 1 (Championship Match)

WVB_Title.jpegPenn State's road to the national semifinals in Seattle was not an easy one in 2013. After knocking off LIU Brooklyn and Utah inside Rec Hall to open the NCAA Tournament, the Nittany Lions traveled to Kentucky for the regional round of the 64-team tournament.

Penn State rallied from 1-0 down to defeat Michigan State in the regional semifinals, which set up a showdown against seventh-seeded Stanford for a trip to the national semifinals.

The Lions and Cardinal battled to a fifth set in what evolved into an epic clash among two of volleyball's heavyweights. Penn State trailed Stanford 9-6 in the fifth before head coach Russ Rose used a timeout. Out of the break, the Lions were not going to be denied.

Penn State scored the next six points in the decisive set on the way to punching a ticket to the national semifinals in Seattle.

Playing in the NCAA semis for the 11th time in program history, Penn State rolled over Washington (3-0), which was playing just four miles from its campus, with a truly dominant performance.

The national title match, the Lions' ninth all-time appearance, was next. Facing off against Wisconsin in the first all Big Ten national final, Penn State jumped out to a hard-fought 2-0 lead before the Badgers rallied to make it 2-1.

Wisconsin took a 23-20 lead in the fourth and was just two points from forcing a fifth set, but the Lions were not done. A service error from the Badgers made it 23-21. With ice water in her veins, ESPY nominee Micha Hancock stepped to the service line. The junior delivered four potent jump serves, two of which dropped for aces, before senior Deja McClendon's kill clinched the program's sixth national title and fifth in the last seven years.

In six NCAA Tournament matches this season, the Nittany Lions dropped just four total sets.


 
Men's Basketball: Jan. 29, 2014 - Penn State 71, Ohio State 70 (Value City Arena)

MBB_Newbill_Craft copy.jpgThe Nittany Lion basketball team trailed Ohio State, 59-48, with 7:58 to play in Columbus after Buckeyes capped off a 10-2 scoring run.

Penn State never panicked, largely thanks to a dominant performance from D.J. Newbill down the stretch.

A pair of buckets from Jordan Dickerson and two free throws from Newbill set the score at 62-59, Buckeyes, with 2:20 to play.

Newbill then fielded a long pass moving right to left across the floor from Frazier before burying a corner three, which tied the game at 62-62 with 1:08 to go. Ohio State scored the next three points to make it 65-62.

Newbill answered in the form of a second clutch 3-pointer with 11.0 seconds to play.

After Ohio State's final possession in regulation came up empty, the game headed into overtime.

The Buckeyes took a 70-67 lead on a pair of Lenzelle Smith Jr. free throws in the extra frame, but Newbill was not done.

The Philly product snaked through the Ohio State defense for a lay-in with 45 seconds to play, pulling the Lions to within one (70-69). The Buckeyes turned the ball over on the next possession, setting up an inbounds play with 13.2 seconds.

Tim Frazier inbounded to Jordan Dickerson, who handed the ball off to D.J. Newbill in front of the scorer's table. Down one with 11 seconds to play in overtime as he crossed halfcourt, Newbill raced to the right side of the floor.

The Philly native wanted the ball in his dominant hand. With one of the Big Ten's top defenders an arm's length away, Newbill began his move with 5.4 seconds on the clock.

After one power dribble to his right, he sent the ball to his left hand under Aaron Craft's extended right arm. Newbill took one more power dribble with his left hand before elevating at the right elbow with 3.5 seconds on the clock.

The ball never touched the rim as it sailed through the cylinder to give the Lions a 71-70 victory. Penn State's win at Ohio State was its first since 2001.



Women's Basketball: March 1, 2014 - Penn State 77, Michigan 62 (Bryce Jordan Center)

WBB_Big Ten.jpegTo put it simply, Senior Day couldn't have gone any better for Penn State's four seniors in 2014.

Maggie Lucas, Talia East, Dara Taylor and Ariel Edwards all were double figure scorers on a day where they were honored with friends and family in attendance as the team claimed its third consecutive Big Ten title with a 77-62 over Michigan.

Edwards led the Lady Lions with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field while Lucas, East and Taylor added 17, 16 and 11 points respectively.

Penn State had control of the game from start to finish as they shot 54 percent from the field, missed just one free throw on 19 attempts and collected seven blocks and 11 steals.

The group of seniors combined for 65 of the team's 77 points; epitomizing their leadership during their time at Penn State in their last regular season home game.

That was expected from a group of four leaders who ensured a team of seven freshmen didn't miss a beat coming off of two-straight conference titles heading into the season.

Edwards, Lucas and East left Penn State as one of the winningest classes ever. They finished with 101 wins, good for second in program history. Taylor was at Penn State for 75 of the 101 wins after transferring from Maryland.

With all of the championships, accolades and wins, it was a perfect way for Lucas, East and Taylor to complete their Penn State careers.

Penn State's third-straight Big Ten title put the Lady Lions in elite company with Iowa and Ohio State as the only programs in the conference to win three or more consecutive conference crowns. The title also fueled the Lady Lions' second run to the Sweet 16 in past three years.




Wrestling: March 22, 2013 - Nittany Lions Clinch Fourth-Straight NCAA Title

WR_Title.jpegPenn State's reign over the college wrestling world continued in March when the Nittany Lions captured their unprecedented fourth-straight NCAA team title in Oklahoma City.

Fueled by NCAA individual crowns from seniors Ed Ruth at 184 pounds and David Taylor at 165 pounds, the Lions celebrated on the sport's grandest stage inside Chesapeake Energy Arena as the 2014 national champions.

By no means was the fourth title an easy one for the Nittany Lions, who edged Minnesota by 5.5 points in the final team standings. Following a victory from Ruth at 184 pounds, the Lions pulled ahead of the Gophers by 1.5 points after two championship bouts.

Minnesota suffered setbacks in its two national title bouts, with the second coming in the ninth match of the evening. As the 157-pound bout ticked to zero on the clock, the white-clad Penn State fans rose to their feet to celebrate the program's fifth national championship.

But the work was not quite done for the Nittany Lions, as Taylor was on deck in the final championship match of night against Oklahoma State's Chris Perry.

You could not have scripted a better way for Taylor's career to end in a Penn State singlet than the way it did on Saturday night. The epitome of a team player, Taylor's imprint on the program goes far beyond his stellar accolades. He didn't miss a match at the national tournament because he wanted to support his fellow teammates. On Saturday morning, he did not need to be at the arena, but he was the first to greet fellow senior James English as he came off the mat after his critical win in the seventh-place match at 149 pounds.

Thanks to another dominant performance, Taylor finished off his collegiate career with a victory in the final match of the national tournament, an individual national title and a team title. 

Taylor and Ruth played a paramount role in Penn State's fourth-straight title, but the Nittany Lions will remain atop the NCAA wrestling mountain because of a hard-fought team effort in the 2014 NCAA Championships.



Fencing: March 23, 2014 - Nittany Lions Clinch 13th NCAA Title

FEN_Title.jpegNo program in Penn State's illustrious sports history has won more national titles than the fencing team. Under the direction of interim head coach Wes Glon, Penn State mounted a furious charge on the final day of the NCAA Championships in Columbus to clinch its 13th national championship.

As a team, Penn State finished the competition with 180 bout victories, toppling Princeton in second-place (159 victories), and St. John's in third (156 victories).

Individually, sophomore Kaito Streets claimed the 2014 men's saber NCAA title. Streets became the 13th individual champion for the Nittany Lions in program history.

In the team race, the Nittany Lions were neck and neck with Princeton throughout much of the competition. The Lions began pulling away from the Tigers on day three of the competition. Penn State clinched the program's third title in the past six seasons on day four.

Streets held the number one spot in the men's saber event heading into the final competition. He knocked off Ferenc Valkai from St. John's to become an individual champion.

Glon has been with the Nittany Lions for 29 seasons, and he has seen all 13 national titles. But the 2014 crown marked his first as the leader of the program.




Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Maryland and Rutgers Officially Join the Big Ten

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Big Ten expanded to 14 institutions on Tuesday when Maryland and Rutgers became official members of the conference. Additionally, Johns Hopkins became a sport affiliate member for men's lacrosse.

Three years ago to the day when Nebraska became the Big Ten's 12th member, the Penn State Blue and White Golf Courses hosted a ceremonial flag-raising of the Maryland and Rutgers flags before the Scarlet Terrapin Open golf scramble to commemorate the conference's historic day.

10168230.jpegMaryland and Rutgers will begin competition in the Big Ten when the fall season begins. Johns Hopkins commences its first year of men's lacrosse play in the spring of 2015.

The Terps and Scarlet Knights will take part in their first athletic competition as members of the Big Ten with a pair of women's soccer games on Aug. 22. The two institutions open conference play on Sept. 12 when they collide in men's and women's soccer.

With the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, the 2014 Big Ten football season will mark the first of a new division alignment. The newcomers join Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State in the East Division. Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin will play in the West Division. A representative from each division will play in the Big Ten Football Championship Game on Dec. 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The inaugural season of Big Ten men's and women's lacrosse will begin in 2015, with Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers playing both sports, and Johns Hopkins participating in men's lacrosse and Northwestern competing in women's lacrosse. The two new schools will host their first Big Ten Tournaments beginning in April, with the inaugural men's tournament held from April 30 to May 2 at Maryland and the first women's event hosted by Rutgers from April 30 to May 3.

Penn State's first game against the new institutions will take place on Sept. 13 under the lights inside High Point Solutions Stadium when the Nittany Lions and Scarlet Knights collide on the gridiron (8 p.m. on BTN). The game marks the first Big Ten football game for Rutgers. Penn State hosts Maryland on Nov. 1 in Beaver Stadium.

The first Penn State contest against Maryland will take place on Oct. 11 when the Nittany Lion field hockey team travels to College Park to meet the Terps. One day later, the men's soccer team takes on Maryland in College Park.

Here is the fall lineup for Penn State clashes with the Maryland and Rutgers:


Sept. 13 - Football - Penn State at Rutgers

Oct. 4 - Men's Soccer - Rutgers at Penn State

Oct. 11 - Women's Soccer - Rutgers at Penn State

Oct. 11 - Field Hockey - Penn State at Maryland

Oct. 12 - Men's Soccer - Penn State at Maryland

Oct. 17 - Field Hockey - Rutgers at Penn State

Oct. 30 - Women's Soccer - Maryland at Penn State

Nov. 1 - Football - Maryland at Penn State

Nov. 7 - Women's Volleyball - Rutgers at Penn State

Nov. 8 - Women's Volleyball - Maryland at Penn State

Nov. 22 - Women's Volleyball - Penn State at Maryland



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony


VIDEO: Inside Summer Workouts with the Nittany Lions

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion football team is five weeks from walking onto the practice field for training camp under the direction of head coach James Franklin.

For now, though, the team is in the heart of its summer workout program with Director of Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt. Under a new NCAA rule adopted last fall, student-athletes are allowed to participate in preparations for the season during an eight-week period each summer. Those eight weeks can include eight hours per week of required weight training and conditioning. Up to two of the eight hours can consist of film review.

The new NCAA rule enables GoPSUsports.com to take fans inside summer conditioning with the Nittany Lions for the first time. Take a look at a lifting session in the weight room and conditioning on the turf adjacent to the Lasch Football Building during a warm afternoon.






Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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.

GoPSUsports.com 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: http://espn.go.com/espys/2014/





Follow GoPSUsports.com'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.





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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.







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'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".

CQ1908_Four-Fathers_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni10col.jpg


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VIDEO: Athletes Volunteer at Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games

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wvb_special olympics.jpg
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."






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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.



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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.