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VIDEO: One-on-One with Bob Shoop & Terry Smith in Pittsburgh

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - talks with Pittsburgh area natives Bob Shoop and Terry Smith at the Coaches Caravan stop in Pittsburgh.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: One-on-One with Charles Huff on the Coaches Caravan

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - catches up with special teams coordinator and running backs coach Charles Huff during the 2014 Coaches Caravan stop in Washington, D.C.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Men's Tennis NCAA Tournament Preview

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time since 2008, the Nittany Lion men's tennis team is set to compete in the NCAA Tournament.  No. 23 Penn State takes on UNC Wilmington in the first round on Saturday at 9 a.m. in Charlottesville, Virginia.  On the heels of a record-breaking regular season, watch a video preview heading into the tournament.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Coaches Caravan Day III - Uniontown and Pittsburgh

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Uniontown Photo Gallery | Pittsburgh Photo Gallery | Coaches Caravan Registration

VIDEO: Day I Recap - York & Hershey | VIDEO: Day II Recap - Baltimore & Washington, D.C.

PITTSBURGH - The 2014 Coaches Caravan capped off its first full week on the road with two stops in the western half of Pennsylvania.

Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus played host to the final lunch stop of the week.  From there, the modified bus rolled north to Station Square in Pittsburgh for an evening reception.  Take a look through highlights from the third day on the road for the 2014 Coaches Caravan.

Stop No. 6 - Uniontown (Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus)

The Coaches Caravan bus departed Washington, D.C., just before 7 a.m. on Thursday for a scenic trek through the Appalachian Mountains en route to Uniontown for the sixth stop on the 17-event tour during May.  Thursday's stop at the Penn State Fayette campus was the first for the Coaches Caravan in its three-year existence.  The scenic campus is situated in a place with superb views in every direction.

"This is my first trip here, and this place is absolutely beautiful," women's soccer head coach Erica Walsh said.

Walsh, along with men's soccer head coach Bob Warming and football coach James Franklin again headlined the final day of the first week.  Walsh captivated the audience with another rendition of her visualization story of taking a prospective student-athlete on a recruiting visit.

Coaches Walsh and Warming have spent portions of the bus rides from event to event educating him on college and professional soccer.  Warming used it as a lighthearted joke with Penn State Fayette crowd.

"It has been so great to be on the bus to educate Coach Franklin about the most popular sport in the world - soccer," Warming said.

caravan_uniontown_1.jpg Having now been on the road for three days on the Coaches Caravan, Coach Franklin has gotten an opportunity to meet fans and supporters from several areas in Pennsylvania and surrounding region.  Since the day he arrived in Happy Valley, the support has stood out to him.  He is passionate towards the fan base and wants to meet as many folks as possible.

"It's great to get out around the state and connect with as many people as possible," Franklin said.  "The support has been the most impressive thing for me.  We need your support."

With two more weeks ahead, Franklin is eager to meet as many fans as possible.  The tone of his message has been constant over the first week of the Caravan.  He's thrilled to be the head coach of Penn State, and he wants to make the fan base proud of the football program.

Stop No. 7 - Pittsburgh (Sheraton Station Square)

The Caravan's first week on the road wrapped up in front of 450 fans in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.  Home to 56,000 alums in the greater metro area, the Steel City is home to some of Penn State's most loyal supporters.  The room was filled with energy from the moment the doors opened prior to the reception at 6 p.m., and  all three head coaches received a warm reception during their speeches.

Additionally, Pittsburgh area natives and assistant coaches Bob Shoop and Terry Smith joined Franklin, Walsh and Warming for the evening event.  Shoop (Oakmont) and Smith (Aliquippa) recruited in the area during the day before shaking hands with countless Nittany Lion fans at the evening event.  Nittany Lion great and former NFL quarterback Chuck Fusina was among the Pittsburgh area lettermen inside the Sheraton Station Square saying hello to Coach Franklin, as well.

caravan_pittsburgh_1.jpg All six stops this week featured passionate Penn State fans.  The individuals sitting in the rooms listening to the coaches speak are among the undying supporters the University's athletic department has.  However, Pittsburgh's rich history as a sports town, especially when it comes to football, always makes it an exciting evening event on the Coaches Caravan.  Thursday's event was no exception.

The NIttany Lions will begin a four-game series with rival Pitt beginning in 2016 (Sept. 10) when the two teams meet at Heinz Field.  The Penn State fan base in Pittsburgh is fired up for the team's return to the city, and it was clear on Thursday how excited the group is for the new era of the football program under the direction of Coach Franklin.

"This is your football program, not mine," Franklin said.  "I am so proud to be your head coach."

Thursday was the final day for Coach Warming to be on the Caravan.  The leader of the men's soccer program was terrific all week long.  He was candid, lighthearted and passionate when it came to delivering a message to illustrate how much he loves Penn State and how much he enjoys the support of Nittany Nation.

The Coaches Caravan returns to the road on Tuesday for a stop in King of Prussia.  Week two also includes a lunch stop in Philadelphia, dinner in Scranton, lunch in Northern New Jersey and an evening in New York City.

Miles Traveled:
Day I - 165 miles

Day II - 130 miles
Day III - 387 miles

Total - 682 miles


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Senior Hurler Getting Things "Dunn"

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By Matt Allibone, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY Park, Pa. - Entering his senior season, Penn State pitcher Tim Dunn wasn't exactly sure what role he would have under new head coach Rob Cooper and new pitching coach Brian Anderson.

Used almost exclusively as a reliever his first three years under the previous coaching staff, the left-hander had always had aspirations earn a role as a starter but felt as though the opportunity might never come.

"I was ready for whatever role they saw me in but I wasn't quite sure what (my role) would be," Dunn said. "If anything, I was thinking long-relief."

For the first month of the season, that's mostly the role that Dunn occupied, coming out of the bullpen five times in Penn State's first 19 games. At that point, it seemed like the senior was destined to be a career bullpen guy.

That all changed on March 22nd when the Nittany Lions played the first of back-to-back doubleheaders against Bucknell. In desperate need of an extra arm, Anderson and Cooper decided to give Dunn a shot, and he responded with a five inning, one-run performance in a 4-3 Penn State victory.

Since then, Dunn hasn't looked back, establishing himself as the Nittany Lions most consistent and reliable starter the second half of the season. Entering this weekend's series against Indiana, the Coto De Caza, California, native boasts a 2.23 ERA along with a 2-2 record.

For a guy who had only three career starts in 26 appearacnes going into the season, Dunn has had little difficulty dealing with the increase in innings, going at least five innings in all six of his starts in 2014, including a five-hit, two-run complete game on April 25 at Minnesota.

"I haven't necessarily tried to change anything I've just tried to pound the zone with my fastball and get ahead in the count," Dunn said. "I definitely like starting more because you get to be out there for a while."

While Dunn may not have changed much about his pitching approach, he definitely has benefitted from having the chance to work with a new pitching coach in Anderson.

The senior hurler admitted that although he believes he always had the ability to be a starter, he might never have gotten there without Anderson's tutelage and willingness to give him a shot.

"Working with coach Anderson, I've been able to attack hitters a little differently," Dunn said. "He stresses those things along with throwing strikes and he creates a mindset that makes it easier to pitch."

When Anderson looks at Dunn now compared to when he first saw him throw at the beginning of the year, what he notices is not so much a change in technique but a change in demeanor.

For the 6-foot-3, 205 pounder to slide into the role of the ace of the staff, he had to first believe that he could do it, and Anderson thinks that adapting that mindset has been Dunn's biggest growth.

"I don't think his stuff has gotten better, I think his confidence and his ability to attack hitters has improved," Anderson said. "He's throwing on Friday nights for us and it takes a special guy to go out there against another team's number one (starter)."

Anderson admitted that Dunn was originally not one of the guys he expected to end up as a starter on a staff that includes pitchers with more starting experience like Nick Hedge, Patton Taylor, and Greg Welsh, but that the team's leader in ERA never let what role he was given change his attitude.

At the same time, seeing him embrace being a workhorse for the team, especially during the team's most challenging portion of the season against their Big Ten opponents, has easily been one of the Nittany Lions most positive developments in the past month for the coaches.

"What's impressed me the most has been the fact that he didn't have a set role going into the season and he's been able to take advantage of a starting role without letting go of it," Anderson said. "He's welcomed it with open arms."

Dunn has been so focused on pitching this season that he's barely had a chance to think about the fact that his career as a Nittany Lion is winding down.

An Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2012, Dunn has already taken advantage of his upcoming degree in business by getting a job with an investment company in Newport Beach, California, though he is not quite ready to hang up his glove yet.

For a kid who traveled across the country to realize his dream of becoming a college baseball player, Dunn wants to make the most of his last few starts so that he can leave the Penn State program with no regrets.

 "I haven't thought about it (graduating) that much but it's a strange feeling and it's definitely bittersweet," Dunn said. "Being able to be a starter has definitely been a nice way to end my college career."



Nittany Lions Draw Familiar Foe To Begin NCAA Tournament

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By Michael Renahan, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Right around 9:15 p.m. on Sunday, room 133 in the East Area Locker Room exploded as the Penn State Nittany Lions learned they had been selected as one of 26 teams to compete for a national championship in the NCAA Tournament.

The celebration lasted around 60 seconds before head coach Missy Doherty addressed her team and the focus shifted from celebrating to preparing.

Penn State drew Princeton in the first round of the tournament, and will travel to the Charlottesville, Va., home of the University of Virginia to open play on Friday.

"I think it's awesome," Doherty said of her program making the tournament. "This is where Penn State should be. I'm excited for our team, that we made it to the NCAAs again. It's a great goal to have every year. And to be ranked as high as we are in the country as well is just a credit to what they have done all year."

The Nittany Lions and Tigers have become very familiar with one another over the years and the two programs just met on the lacrosse field 11 days ago. Penn State defeated Princeton, 13-12, in their regular-season finale.

"Yeah, I mean, I think it's been a good week," Doherty said. "I think we could rest after our ALC tournament; the girls have been in exams all week, so it's been a good pace to work up towards this weekend. [We] potentially have two tough games, especially facing Princeton, who we just beat by a narrow margin, we know it's going to be a battle come Friday."

Princeton poses an interesting challenge for Doherty's squad. The Tigers will enter the game hungry for a win after falling to the Nittany Lions in their last matchup. They are a quick team, who likes to outhustle their opponents, and they are very effective on offense.

In their matchup on April 26, the Nittany Lions ended the first half with an 8-4 lead after outscoring the Tigers 5-1 over the last 12:44. A strong start to the second half widened the lead to 13-7. Princeton responded well, but the stingy defense from the Nittany Lions limited the Tigers offense and helped secure the victory.

For Doherty and her team, the schedule will remain the same and their focus will remain the same - win. Penn State has been hungry for this opportunity all season long. The Nittany Lions have qualified for the NCAA Tournament the previous two seasons, and have yet to advance beyond the quarterfinals. This season, they feel they have a better opportunity to make their mark on this tournament and move beyond the quarterfinals.

One of the factors heading into this game is the Nittany Lions already having experience playing at Klöckner Stadium. They traveled down to Virginia earlier this season to take on the Cavaliers and have become familiar with the stadium and all its nuances.

Historically, balanced teams also have tremendous success in this tournament. Nineteen Nittany Lions have registered at least one point this season, and it seems as if the offense can come from anyone on the roster. Heading into this first round game, the balanced attack Penn State has should be very helpful as they try to make a postseason run.

The Tigers enter their matchup with the Nittany Lions after falling to the University of Penn in the Ivy League title game, 9-6, while Penn State enters after falling to Johns Hopkins in the first round of the ALC tournament.

After a long week of practice, the moment has finally arrived in just a few days. Game time is set for 4 p.m., on Friday and you can bet Doherty and the Nittany Lions will be ready to go.

"NCAAs are one-and-done," Doherty said. "You have to go in, be ready to take advantage of each play, each moment, and play those out and have a good game."

2014 Coaches Caravan Day II - Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

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Baltimore Photo Gallery | Washington, D.C. Photo Gallery

VIDEO: Day I Recap - York & HersheyCoaches Caravan Registration

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  The Coaches Caravan bus rolled south for day two of the first travel leg on Wednesday morning for stops at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

A sold out crowd of more than 230 enthusiastic fans greeted a cast of Penn State coaches, which included James Franklin, Erica Walsh and Bob Warming, in Baltimore.  Take a look through highlights from the second full day on the road for the 2014 Coaches Caravan.

Stop No. 4 - Baltimore (Marriott Inner Harbor)

Wednesday's lunch stop in Baltimore marked the third-straight sold out crowd during the initial leg of the 2014 Coaches Caravan.  On the heels of Tuesday's announcement that the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament is headed to the area (Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.) in 2017, the Penn State fans in the room were excited about what is ahead as the conference's footprint extends to the East Coast.

"It's so great to be in your area," Walsh said.

The 2014-'15 athletic season marks the first with Maryland as a member of the Big Ten.  That being said, the 12,000 Penn State alums in the Baltimore area are thrilled to have Penn State's teams competing in Maryland on an annual basis.  The Nittany Lion football team is slated to return to Baltimore on Oct. 24, 2015 when it will take on Maryland inside M&T Bank Stadium.

Coach Franklin lived on and off in Maryland for eight years, a place he calls home.

"It's awesome to be back," Franklin said.

caravan_baltimore_1.jpgIn all, 10 players currently on the football roster or 2014 signees are from Maryland.  For the men's and women's soccer programs, the story is much of the same.  Walsh highlighted former Nittany Lion great and U.S. National Team standout Ali Krieger and former All-American and current National Women's Soccer League member Christine Nairn, who are both from the local area.  Warming's men's soccer team has three members from Maryland on it.

Like day one on the Caravan, each coach explained how the loyal supporters of Penn State play such an instrumental role in the success of the athletic programs.  Without the unrivaled support of the fan base, Penn State Athletics would not be what it is today.  That's what makes the Coaches Caravan a special three weeks.  It gives the coaches a chance to say thank you and provide some insight on what makes the programs tick.

"Penn State is a remarkable place for learning as a student," Warming said.  "And it's a remarkable place to learn as a coach."

"Success is about being able to do the little things better than anyone else," Franklin said.

caravan_baltimore_2.jpg The day ended with a lighthearted question for all three coaches on the stage.  A fan asked which flavor of ice cream at Berkey Creamery is their favorite.  Coach Walsh said that she likes to stick with vanilla.  Coach Warming likes strawberry.  Coach Franklin's answer was a bit different.

"My mission is to taste every flavor," Franklin said.

Stop No. 5 - Washington, D.C. (Marriott Wardman Park)

A crowd of more than 425 fans greeted the Penn State coaches in the nation's capital on Wednesday night.  The Washington, D.C., metro area is home to more than 25,000 alums.  Like the Baltimore event, the individuals in attendance were fired up to see Penn State teams making annual trips to the area with Maryland joining the Big Ten.

Coach Walsh opened the evening speeches with her great visualization story of a recruiting visit.  Before getting into the step-by-step process of recruiting, she had a joke for the attentive D.C. crowd.

"They usually put the key note speaker last, but we are switching things up on the Caravan," Walsh said.

Warming followed a standing ovation for Walsh with a speech to highlight his passion for Penn State and appreciation of the fans.  Additionally, he informed the crowd of the exponential growth of soccer around the country.  The leader of Penn State soccer spent much of the one-hour reception before the program began talking with fans about the sport.

caravan_DC_1.jpg "I love this crowd.  I've talked more soccer at this stop than any other we've been to," Warming said.

Warming, who was a member of the search committee to hire the new football coach in January, introduced Coach Franklin as one of the finest men that he has ever met.  Franklin then took the microphone in front of the room to a rousing cheer.

Franklin told the crowd how excited he is about the direction things are headed, largely because of the high-quality human beings that are on the team right now.  Following the individual meetings with every player on the roster in the past two weeks, Franklin said he has been incredibly impressed with the student-athletes since he took the job.

"We are in a really good place right now," Franklin said.  "They are really excited about the direction we are heading in."

As the fourth program drew to a close, Coach Franklin encouraged the group to return each Saturday in the fall.  He was genuinely happy to be in Maryland and D.C. on Wednesday to meet another group of passionate fans.

"I include Maryland and D.C. as part of our state in the Penn State family," Franklin said.

The Caravan heads to Penn State Fayette in Uniontown and Pittsburgh on Thursday to wrap up week one of the traveling events.

Miles Traveled:
Day I - 165 miles

Day II - 130 miles

Total - 295 miles


Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

2014 Coaches Caravan Day I - York and Hershey

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York Photo Gallery | Hershey Photo Gallery

Coaches Caravan Registration

HERSHEY, Pa. - The 2014 Penn State Coaches Caravan hit the road on Tuesday with a pair of sold out stops in York and Hershey to kick off the first full week of events.

The Penn State themed Fullington Trailways bus pulled out of the Bryce Jordan Center parking lot at 8:15 a.m. en route to the Penn State York campus.  Take a look through highlights from the first two stops of a six-event week on the Coaches Caravan.

Stop No. 2 - York (Penn State York)

Head coaches James Franklin, Erica Walsh, Bob Warming and Coquese Washington headlined the first stop of the road tour on Tuesday.  After a media session, the coaches took the stage for a lunch program before a sold out crowd of more than 225 enthusiastic Penn State fans on the University's York campus.

Walsh, who will enter her eighth season as head coach of the women's soccer team in the fall, opened the panel of speakers.

"It's amazing to see so many people wearing Blue and White," Walsh said.

york_blog_1.jpgWalsh proceeded to take the fans through a vivid story of what a recruiting trip is like for a prospective student-athlete.  The leader of Penn State Women's Soccer guided the crowd through a recruiting visit weekend with every minute detail of what a trip to the campus is like.  From the academic buildings the soccer program takes recruits inside to a gameday experience in Beaver Stadium, Walsh painted a remarkable picture of what campus would look like for the first time as a 17-year-old prospective student-athlete.

"That is one example of many," Walsh said at the end of her speech.  "That (camaraderie on campus) is why we have won more national titles than anyone (tied with USC) since 2007."

Nittany Lion men's soccer coach Bob Warming addressed the crowd after Walsh.  Warming opened his speech by introducing Bob Little, a member of Penn State men's soccer's 1954 national championship team, who was in the York crowd on Tuesday afternoon.

york_blog_3.jpgWarming went on to joke with the attendees that he was thrilled to see a capacity crowd so excited to see Penn State's two soccer coaches.

"We know all of you came here to see Erica and I since soccer is the most popular sport in the world," Warming said with a laugh.

Lady Lion basketball head coach Coquese Washington kicked of the first of her two stops on the Caravan with a direct message to the loyal supporters in York.

"The fans, the alums, with how much all of you support us, it trickles down," Washington said.  "The student-athletes have such an unbelievable experience.  And your support is what lets provide that for them...You are part of our team."

Franklin stepped to the microphone as the featured speaker of the afternoon.  He first joked with the crowd that after listening to Coach Walsh's description of campus that he needs to get out of his office more and see the sights of what University Park has to offer.  After all, he has been living inside his office for more than month.

york_blog_2.jpgThe new leader of Penn State Football provided an update on the team, coaching staff and recruiting as he talked about the direction of the program.  He told the crowd that he met each player on the roster for 20-25 minutes individually before the spring semester ended.  The student-athletes will return to campus for the first of two summer academic sessions on May 18.

"I've been blown away by these kids since I've been here," Franklin said.  "They are an amazing group of young men."

In addition to winning football games on the field, Franklin wants to achieve new heights in all phases of the program, including highs in team GPA, graduation rates and activity in the community.

"We came to Penn State to make a positive impact in the community," Franklin said.

Stop No. 3 - Hershey (Hershey Lodge)

Tuesday night's evening event inside the Hershey Lodge was all about the fans.  Central Pennsylvania is filled with members of Nittany Nation, and the sold out crowd in Hershey gave the four head coaches a warm welcome to cap off a great first day on the road.

More than 750 Penn State fans filled the ballroom inside Hershey Lodge with great energy and enthusiasm.  The Penn State coaches all talked about how important the fan support is for the success of the sports programs in Happy Valley.

"What you guys can embrace is that we are truly a family of coaches and take the responsibility of representing you very seriously," said Washington.

caravan_hershey.jpgThe fan support, coupled with the strong relationships between the head coaches on campus, is what makes Penn State such a unique place. 

"I'm around such successful people who are at the top of their craft," Warming said.

Coach Franklin opened his evening speech by apologizing in advance that if the phone rang during the event, he was going to walk off the stage and take the call.  True to his word, Franklin stood up and walked to his right, off the stage while answering a phone call during the Q&A portion of the show.

Mid-way through the call, he turned to the crowd and led a rousing "We Are!" chant before getting back on the phone and returning to his seat on stage.

caravan_hershey_1.jpgThe overwhelming excitement from the fans in Hershey about the direction Penn State's teams are headed made it a great evening event.  The coaches are proud to represent the University, and the fans are proud to support the teams.

"I can't begin to tell you what it's been like to come back home and be your football coach," Franklin said.

The Caravan rolls south to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Coaches Caravan Miles Traveled:
Day 1 - 165 miles

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Gadowsky Sees Improvement at Season's End

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By Michael Renahan, Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Not much has changed for men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky since the season ended. With the first season of Big Ten play under the program's belt, Gadowsky's demeanor and energy hasn't changed, nor has his level of excitement about the direction of the Nittany Lions' program.

Simply put, Gadowsky is anxious to start next season, and he's hungry for wins.

There were no "what ifs" when the bench boss reflected on the 2013-14 campaign, only "we did" and "we are." Since the season ended for the men in blue and white, Gadowsky has had a chance to sit in his office at Pegula Ice Arena and think about the moments and the plays that defined his second season at the helm of the Nittany Lions.

Although the season is technically over, Gadowsky knows it never really ends. There are still objectives, and dreams to pursue, and a team to get ready for another long season just a few months away. caught up with the head coach to talk about the season that was, and the future that is.

Battling The Best
On April 14, released their final poll for the 2013-14 season. Of the 20 teams ranked in the poll, the Nittany Lions played eight of them, including four of the top five. The tough schedule was a key component of their growth, and is something Gadowsky thinks will help prepare them for next season.

"This was our second year of Division I hockey and we played a tough, tough schedule," said Gadowsky. "The first year we played a smattering of games all over the board. Obviously, it wasn't our goal to play the second toughest strength of schedule in the nation this year. It just happened to worked out like that. It wasn't by design, but I think we learned a lot, and I think we really benefited from it.

"You can look at the games we played against the Big Ten- Minnesota was ranked No. 1 all year long - and team's like Boston College, who was a top-two team when we played them, and Union, who won the National Championship."

Penn State will need to continue to grow as a program considering the Big Ten Conference won't get any easier. The strength of the 2013-14 schedule will be extremely beneficial to the program as they move forward.

Focusing on Hockey
There were a lot of firsts for the Nittany Lions this season. Whether it was the first Big Ten season, the first of several games against ranked opponents, or the first season in Pegula Ice Arena, these players were still settling in and trying to refine their game under a bright spotlight.

Olczyk-Tommy (3).jpegNow that the Big Ten, ranked opponents, and Pegula Ice Arena are the norm, it will be nice to just focus on playing hockey and getting down the game plan from week to week.

"We are looking forward to playing at more consistent level earlier [next season]," Gadowsky said. "We had to get used to a new building. We moved into the building, had to learn how everything worked, and we had to get ready for opening [night]. There was a lot of buzz around it [the building] and that might sound simple but it was a little distracting. We are very hungry [for next season] and know we have to be ready to play a much more consistent hockey right off the bat."

Pegula Ice Arena is one of many advantages for the Nittany Lions and now that one season in the building under their belt, it is all about hockey from here on out.

Respecting the Process
Because of all of his experiences, Gadowsky knows exactly what goes into building a contender and contending in a tough conference. He has been through it before at previous coaching stops and he's pleased with the progress he has seen from his Nittany Lions.

"We have a long, long way to go and we will always have it in our minds that we need to continue to build our foundation," Gadowsky said. "That's very important to us. We respect the process; we also understand how important it is.

"We will always be cultivating the foundation of this program and making sure that we improve. That is what has made us good in the first place. That had to do with [our players and coaches] pulling the same way and that takes constant cultivation. It's not just like, 'okay we did that, now let's move on.' That's always going to be a focus."

Building a program takes time and effort. Gadowsky knows that all too well, and all signs point that this Penn State team is heading in the right direction.

Fan Base Connection
It's no secret that Pegula Ice Arena is a state-of-the-art arena with top-of-the-line fans. The arena sold out 17 of their 18 home games and every opponent commented on the exceptional supporters that fill the arena. The fans are what drove the team this year and Gadowsky said throughout the season that he believes they are the best fans in college hockey.

Goal_Celebration_Opening_Night_A-13-Army-MS_1919-1.jpg"It is fun to play in Pegula, I can't tell you that," said Gadowsky. "Playing games here is a blast and it's motivating, it's the most fun I have ever had coaching. I just love seeing the students dance, and dressed up and the amount of energy they bring. We love it and it is a big part of what makes Penn State such a great experience. You see it in other Big Ten venues, as well, but I'm optimistic that Penn State will be known for its fan base. I sure there is no better student body."

The connection between the team and their diehards is outstanding. Before, during, and after every game these guys know they have the support of their fans through it all. The fans inspire excellence from the team, and the team wants to give those fans an excellent product on the ice.

Taking Momentum Into Next Season
The 2014-15 season can't come fast enough for Gadowsky and his team. They are just six months away from the opening of the 2014-15 season in Pegula Ice Arena, and the energy around the program is still very high.

Before our chat ended with Gadowsky, we asked the coach to reflect on the season and where he thought Penn State hockey was as a program.

"We are thrilled with the improvement we made last season," Gadowsky said. "We're really happy with the vast improvement that we had from the start of the year. It was a unique year; it was a really fun year. We moved into Pegula Ice Arena, opened the building with a win and started play in a new conference. There are a lot of things that were new and exciting, but at the same time it was a challenge to make sure we stayed focused on what we had to do.

"We're thrilled with the improvements we've made, but are looking forward to being 100 percent hockey moving forward."


Frazier Continuing to Work Towards Next Level

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On track to receive his second degree from Penn State this weekend, Tim Frazier is ready to solely focus on basketball during the next phase in the process to continue his basketball career at the next level.

Since the Nittany Lion basketball season ended in March, the two-time All-Big Ten guard has been busy in his quest to prepare for the upcoming NBA Draft (June 26).

Frazier was invited to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in mid-April to showcase his skills to professional scouts from every NBA team and several international leagues.  The trip included NBA combine testing and three games.  Frazier's team - Norfolk Sports Club - reached the tournament's final game before falling at the buzzer.

"Portsmouth went great," Frazier said.  "It was a blessing and an honor to be able to attend the invitational.  Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be on a good team with a great group of guys and a great group of coaches.  We played together, and we made it to the championship.  We lost at the buzzer in the championship.  For me personally, I played well down there.  I was able to improve and show as much as I could to the NBA scouts in attendance."

Averaging 8.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.3 rebounds, Frazier had a very productive three games in Portsmouth.  The Texas native, who is one of just two Big Ten players to reach 1,500 points, 600 assists and 500 rebounds in his career, took an unselfish approach in his trip to the showcase tournament.

"I am just continuing to try and get better overall," Frazier said.  "I think my main focus going down there was there to be a leader on the floor.  I wanted to get as many guys involved as possible, and to make the other guys on my team better.  I've always been a pass-first point guard.  I tried to make the best assists I could make, and then I tried to score when the opportunities were there.  Overall, I think I did that."

With the Portsmouth tournament complete, Frazier has been working out two to three times a day in preparation for upcoming individual workouts.  He said that it is all about refining each aspect of his game in the coming weeks to get ready for the next chapter.

"I feel great right now," Frazier said.  "The guys I've been working out with here have done a great job.  The coaches and strength coaches have been awesome.  I've been working out two to three times a day.  I feel great.  Obviously, I want to continue getting into better shape leading up to my next step, which is working out at home."

With a degree in supply chain management and information systems already in hand, Frazier is scheduled to earn a communication arts and sciences degree when final exams for the spring semester finish on Friday.  He will head back to Houston this week, in addition to selecting an agent.  The next phase of on-court work will also include individual workouts in front of teams.

"This experience is everything that you dream about," said Frazier.  "You are able to come in now, play in front of NBA teams, GMs, travel, play in different facilities.  I'm really looking forward to it.  The only thing nerve-wracking is the waiting game.  The draft isn't until June.  So the next month and a half is just training and the waiting game.  Hopefully, my name will get called.  If not, I know there will be another plan for me."

Frazier said he would not be in the position that he is today without his five seasons at Penn State.  He experienced the highest of highs with a run to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and the challenge of an Achilles injury.  Frazier's journey in Blue and White prepared him for a career on the hardwood, and with two degrees in hand, he is well positioned for a successful future beyond basketball.

"Penn State has done everything that I could ask for," said Frazier.  "These last five years have been unbelievable.  It has been nothing but great for me.  I've cherished every moment.  Like I said before, if I had the opportunity to come back, I would have taken another year.  Penn State has done a lot of things for me.  It has made me the man I am today.  I'm thankful and very blessed to have been able to spend the last five years here."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony