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Coaches Caravan: Day VI - DuBois and Pittsburgh

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Photo Gallery - DuBois and Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The six-day, 12-stop Penn State Coaches Caravan, which covered 1,471 miles with events in three states and the District of Columbia, wrapped up with visits in DuBois (lunch) and Pittsburgh (dinner) on Thursday. 

In all, 4,345 fans and alums attended Coaches Caravan events during the past two weeks.

Nittany Lion men's hockey coach Guy Gadowsky joined Bill O'Brien and Mark Pavlik for the final day of the caravan tour.  Gadowsky, who will enter his second Division I season at the helm of the men's hockey program gave the fans in DuBois and Pittsburgh a glimpse of what is ahead at Pegula Ice Arena when it opens in the fall.  Take a look through some highlights on the final day of the Caravan.

Stop XI - DuBois (Penn State DuBois)
The Penn State-themed Caravan bus traveled 60 miles to DuBois on Thursday morning for the closest stop to State College on the 12-stop tour.  O'Brien, Gadowsky and Pavlik spoke to a lunch crowd of 170 on the Penn State DuBois campus.

On the heels of the Big Ten announcing its first men's hockey schedule for the 2013-14 season, Gadowsky shared his thoughts on what will be an exciting second year of competition at the Division I level for the Nittany Lions.

The leader of Penn State men's hockey told the crowd that the program is eagerly anticipating a move into its new home - Pegula Ice Arena - in early September before playing its first game in the state-of-the-art facility on Oct. 11.  The Nittany Lions will then play their first Big Ten competition games on Dec. 6-7 at Wisconsin.

"I think what is coming with the Big Ten is really exciting for college hockey and Penn State," Gadowsky said.

Gadowsky also showed the fans a short video presentation that gave the room a virtual representation of what a finished Pegula Ice Arena will look like in the fall.

Coach O'Brien followed Gadowsky and the video presentation, and like the entire room of fans, was excited about what he saw.

"Did that video get you jacked up about Penn State Hockey, or what?" O'Brien said.

All three head coaches included remarks about the toughness of the fans and student-athletes hailing from the surrounding areas to DuBois.  All of the fans in the room were among the core supporters of Penn State's athletic teams, something Gadowsky said was crucial to his team's success.

"The reason why we had the success we had everywhere we would go is because everywhere we have phenomenal support," said Gadowsky.

O'Brien ended the 11th stop with parting words that echoed what Gadowsky and Pavlik both said to the room about the importance of the continued support moving forward.

"If you leave here with one thing, it should be that we really appreciate what you do for us," O'Brien said.

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VIDEO: DuBois Press Conference with Coaches O'Brien and Gadowsky



Stop XII: Pittsburgh (Sheraton Station Square)
The Caravan bus made the two-hour drive through Western Pennsylvania to the final stop of the six-day tour at Pittsburgh's Station Square.  With more than 27,000 Penn State alums in Allegheny County, more than any other county in the world, a night in Pittsburgh was a great way to cap off the 2013 Caravan.

O'Brien, Gadowsky and Pavlik addressed a crowd of nearly 375 attendees inside the Sheraton Station Square on the banks of the Monongahela River.  Pavlik, who hails from 40 miles east of Pittsburgh in Derry, took the microphone first and shared his passion for Pittsburgh and what it meant to be a head coach at Penn State.

"I'm just a kid from Derry living the dream," Pavlik said.

Gadowsky spoke about the great anticipation for the upcoming start to Big Ten men's hockey competition, and he again showed a video of Pegula Ice Arena.  Gadowsky told the crowd that Penn State Hockey will strive to encourage the best hockey players Pittsburgh has to offer to attend school in Happy Valley.

A natural when it comes to public speaking, Gadowsky drew a large round of applause when he sat down after the fans saw firsthand what it will be like to attend a hockey game in Pegula Ice Arena.

"It's going to be a phenomenal place to watch hockey games," said Gadowsky.

The theme of the 2013 Coaches Caravan focused on fan support.  At all 12 stops, Coach O'Brien thanked the fans for their continued support of Penn State.  That was no different on Thursday night as he spoke for more than 20 minutes in Pittsburgh, spending much of the that time thanking the Penn State loyalists for everything they do for not just Penn State Football, but all of Penn State Athletics.

His message was well received at every stop on the tour, and the fans certainly showed their appreciation with standing ovation after standing ovation for the leader of Penn State Football.

All in all, the Coaches Caravan was again a resounding success with outstanding crowds at all 12 stops around Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia.  A big thank you to the more than 4,000 loyal Penn Staters who attended stops in 2013.



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VIDEO: Pittsburgh Press Conference with Coaches O'Brien and Gadowsky



Miles Covered on Day One -
203 miles
Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Miles Covered on Day Three -
254 miles
Miles Covered on Day Four - 188 miles
Miles Covered on Day Five - 377 miles
Miles Covered on Day Six - 302 miles
Caravan Final Total -
1,471 miles


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

Coaches Caravan: Day V - New York and Scranton

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Photo Gallery - New York and Scranton

SCRANTON, Pa. - The Penn State Coaches Caravan rolled into Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon for a lunch stop in New York City before heading to Scranton for dinner.

Nittany Lion basketball coach re-joined the Caravan on Wednesday to make it a four-coach lineup in New York.  Chambers, along with head coaches Bill O'Brien, Charlene Morett and Mark Pavilik all spoke to a sold out crowd of 220 at the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan.  Chambers, O'Brien and Pavlik then traveled west for the Penn State Alumni Association Greater Scranton Chapter dinner in Dickson City, Pa.  Take a look through some highlights on day five of the Caravan.

Stop IX - New York City (The Edison Ballroom)
Just down the block from Times Square on 47th Street in New York City, a sold out crowd of 220 supporters packed The Edison Ballroom for the ninth stop on the tour.  Coach Morett joked as she took the microphone that she felt like she was on Broadway performing and thanked the crowd for coming to her debut show.

The stage in The Edison Ballroom featured leather, padded armchairs for all of the coaches to sit in.  With that in mind, Coach Chambers opened up his speech by telling the crowd that he felt like he was sitting on the set of Johnny Carson.  The room erupted into laughter.

Chambers also shared his love for Madison Square Garden, what he called the mecca of basketball.  He coached in The Garden as an assistant at Villanova.

O'Brien added some lighthearted jabbing with the New York fans about their professional sports teams.

But all of the joking aside, the New York stop was another good reminder about the way the athletic department at Penn State truly functions as One Team.  All of the coaches support one another.  They all get along.  And they all understand that a united athletic department is a strong athletic department.

"We truly support one another," Chambers said.  "That's what Penn State is all about."

And the One Team mantra goes deeper than just the head coaches supporting one another.  It stretches to the fans, like the 220 in The Edison Ballroom at lunch hour in New York City.  The Penn State fans are a big part of why Penn State Athletics continues to grow together as One Team.

Following the lunch stop in New York, the Caravan bus made a quick stop at MetLife Stadium for some photos and videos in preparation of Penn State's season-opener against Syracuse on Aug. 31.  Call 1-800-NITTANY for tickets.

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VIDEO: New York Press Conference with Coaches O'Brien and Chambers



Stop X: Scranton (Genetti Manor in Dickson City)
Day two of the second week wrapped up in front of the Caravan's largest crowd.  More than 830 Penn State fans seated at 80 tables crammed into the ballroom at Genetti Manor to welcome a great group from the Penn State Athletics family.  The list of attendees included Scranton natives Matt McGloin, J.R. Refice and Eric Shrive, Wilkes-Barre product Eugene Lewis, Director of Athletics Dave Joyner and the voice of the Nittany Lions Steve Jones.

Prior to dinner, Coach O'Brien signed autographs for a throng of fans that lined up more than 90 minutes prior to the program began.  Fan after fan walked up to Coach O'Brien for an opportunity to shake hands, take photos and obtain an autograph for more than an hour.  Some offered advice.  Some told stories. Some even gave him gifts.

Pavlik and Chambers both spoke prior to O'Brien, energizing the room packed with Nittany Lion supporters.  Chambers brought the crowd to its feet before he began his passionate speech.  The room followed his command and stood up cheering.

"This is a very coachable group in Scranton," Chambers joked.

Coach O'Brien took the opportunity to recognize the current and former Nittany Lions at the dinner before he delivered his Caravan message to the crowd.  McGloin and O'Brien had a special relationship during his time as the leader of the Penn State offense in 2013.  Commending him on his dedication and work ethic, O'Brien told the room that a great deal of Penn State's success in 2012 was a direct product of McGloin.

"Thank you for everything you did for Penn State," O'Brien said to McGloin, who was seated at the head table while the crowd cheered for the hometown hero.

Throughout all three speeches, the crowd of more than 800 was glued to the podium.  Chambers, Pavlik and O'Brien all deserve a great deal of credit for their delivery on Wednesday night.

But simply put, the Scranton crowd was again tremendous for the second-straight year during the Caravan.

The Coaches Caravan will wrap up on Thursday with men's hockey head coach Guy Gadowsky joining O'Brien and Pavlik for a lunch stop in DuBois and dinner in Pittsburgh.

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VIDEO: Scranton Press Conference with Coach O'Brien



Miles Covered on Day One -
203 miles
Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Miles Covered on Day Three -
254 miles
Miles Covered on Day Four - 188 miles
Miles Covered on Day Five - 377 miles
Caravan Total -
1,169 miles


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

Coaches Caravan: Day IV - Williamsport and Allentown

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Photo Gallery - Williamsport & Allentown

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Week two of the Penn State Coaches Caravan kicked off on Tuesday before a sold out crowd of nearly 300 fans in Williamsport and 350 in the Lehigh Valley.

The modified Fullington Bus rolled out of the Bryce Jordan Center parking lot shortly after 9:30 a.m. en route to the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus in Williamsport.  Head coaches Bill O'Brien, Charlene Morett and Mark Pavlik delivered passionate speeches to an enthusiastic group of Penn State fans and alums on Tuesday at lunch.  Take a look through some highlights on day four.

Stop VII - Williamsport (Penn College of Technology)
Week two began with a great Coaches Caravan stop inside the auditorium on the Penn College of Technology campus.  O'Brien, Morett and Pavlik headlined the event with speeches to thank the Penn State fans for their support.

Morett, who will enter her 27th season at the helm of the Nittany Lion field hockey team in the fall, opened the panel of speakers at the luncheon.  The 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year told the crowd that she walked onto the Penn State campus in 1975 as a freshman, and instantly, she knew what type of a special place it was.

On the field of play, Morett has been a superb leader of the field hockey program, leading the Nittany Lions to six Big Ten titles, six Big Ten postseason titles and five of her teams have reached the NCAA semifinals.  But off the field, the Philadelphia native has been a tremendous ambassador for the University.

"What makes an event like this special is to come out and see some great old friends and to make some great new friends," Morett said.

Pavlik, who just returned from Penn State's 28th trip (15th straight) the NCAA men's volleyball semifinals, echoed Morett's comments about being in front of a great group of enthusiastic Penn State supporters.  Pavlik just finished his 19th season as a head coach in Happy Valley.

"When I go to work every morning, I have to pinch myself," Pavlik said of the opportunity he has.

The Western Pennsylvania native added that there is something special about Penn State's support system everywhere he goes.  That being said, Pavlik noted how the fans play a direct, one-team role when the department's teams are competing on the road.

"To have a good crowd on the road, there's no better feeling," Pavlik said.

O'Brien was the final head coach to speak in Williamsport.  He opened his speech by introducing Williamsport native Jamie Van Fleet, who was a graduate of the Nittany Lion football program.  Van Fleet was unable to play in 2012 due to injury, but played a key role for the Nittany Lions on the sidelines, serving as a defensive mentor assisting the coaching staff.

Heading into his second season as a head coach, O'Brien joked with Morett and Pavlik that he only has 26 more seasons to catch up with the Lion field hockey leader.  As has been the case at every stop, though, O'Brien's message focused on the support of the fans and how much it means to the football program, athletic department and the University.

"Every time you go to a speaking engagement (like this one), you know the room will be filled with passionate fans," O'Brien said.


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VIDEO: Williamsport Press Conference with Coaches O'Brien, Morett and Pavlik



Stop VIII: Allentown (Holiday Inn Conference Lehigh Valley)

Following the sold out luncheon, the Caravan bus traveled south through Pennsylvania for an evening stop on the western edge of the Lehigh Valley.  O'Brien, Morett and Pavlik spoke to a dinner crowd outside of Allentown.

Part of what makes the Coaches Caravan unique for the fans in attendance is how each stop usually features a different story from the head coaches speaking.  The head coaches often tell stories about their teams or time at Penn State.

On Tuesday night, O'Brien opened his speech by sharing about an event that took place in Happy Valley shortly after the NCAA announced its sanctions against the football program.  Former Nittany Lions Tom Donchez and Mike Guman, both former Nittany Lion greats from nearby Bethlehem, were in the crowd.  Seeing those two prior to the evening event, it triggered O'Brien to talk about the support from the Penn State Letterman's Club.

Just days after the announcement of the sanctions, O'Brien said that 500 lettermen from all over the country attended a meeting in Holuba Hall on very short notice to talk about what it meant to play football at Penn State.  While it was a story O'Brien wanted to share with the crowd about the lettermen, it provided a living, breathing example of what he has talked about for the duration of the Caravan.

The support system surrounding Penn State is special.

Morett spoke about on Tuesday night.  And so did Pavlik.

"Char is right, you can feel the energy when you walk into a room like this," O'Brien said.

Penn Staters are a unique group with unwavering support, no matter what the circumstances are.  The head coaches feel fortunate to have the type of network behind them.

"Don't underestimate the power you have to help mold our students and student-athletes," Pavlik told the crowd.

"We have an amazing product we get to sell year in and year out at Penn State," Morett said.

Now more than ever, as O'Brien has said at each of the eight stops on the Coaches Caravan, the Penn State support system needs to be strong as the athletic programs continue to move forward in a positive direction.

Following a great evening program, all three coaches received a standing ovation as the event closed.  The Caravan moves on to New York City on Wednesday for a lunch stop before traveling to Scranton for a dinner event.
    


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VIDEO: Allentown Press Conference with Coach O'Brien



Miles Covered on Day One -
203 miles
Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Miles Covered on Day Three -
254 miles
Miles Covered on Day Four - 188 miles
Caravan Total -
792 miles



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


Coaches Caravan: Day III - Lancaster and Harrisburg

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CAMP HILL, Pa. - The Coaches Caravan capped off the first leg of the 12-stop tour with visits to Lancaster and Harrisburg on Thursday.

A capacity crowd of 330 fans greeted head coaches Bill O'Brien, Cael Sanderson and Russ Rose for a luncheon at Penn Square in Lancaster.  The bus then loaded up for a 50-minute drive to Camp Hill for the week's final stop before nearly 550 enthusiastic attendees.  In total, more than 2,100 fans and alums took part in Caravan stops during week one.  Take a look through some highlights on day three at two visits to the heart of Nittany Nation.

Stop V - Lancaster (Marriott at Penn Square)
A sold out crowd of 330 enthusiastic Penn State fans and alums greeted all three coaches on the docket for Thursday's lunch stop with a warm, standing ovation reception.  Five-time NCAA champion women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose joined the Caravan for the final day of the initial leg.

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Sanderson kicked off the panel of speakers with high praise of the other two leaders on stage with him.  The wrestling offices are just down the hall from the women's volleyball offices inside Rec Hall, and Sanderson told the crowd that when he sees Rose and how he runs his program, he uses it as motivation for leading the wrestling program.

"Coach Rose is a tremendous asset for Penn State," Sanderson said.

"What he (Coach O'Brien) has done for the University is unbelievable," Sanderson went on to say.

Nestled in the heart of wrestling country, Sanderson took the opportunity to tell the fans to take advantage of the opportunity to see talents like David Taylor and Ed Ruth wrestle during their senior seasons.  Sanderson said that elite athletes like those two do not come around too often.

Rose took the microphone second and echoed Sanderson's remarks about the cast of coaches on stage at the Caravan stops on Thursday.  He joked that his team's 109-match winning streak during the program's unprecedented string of four-straight NCAA titles pales is just a number alongside Sanderson's 159-0 mark as a collegiate wrestler.

The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will kick off a European tour on Saturday.  Rose said he is looking forward to how his team works during the offseason.  The Lions kick off the trip in the Czech Republic and cap things off in Italy.

One of the great things about the Caravan is seeing how the coaches interact with one another.  All three leaders were truly genuine in their remarks directed at one another.  Sanderson and Rose both praised O'Brien for his leadership of the program during the past 15 months.  O'Brien's feelings are mutual for the other two coaches.  He and Sanderson shared stories and exchanged coaching philosophies throughout the bus travel on Thursday.

"It's very humbling to share the stage with Russ Rose and Cael Sanderson," O'Brien said as he opened his speech.

The trio of coaches in Lancaster was among the seven Penn State leaders who earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors during the 2012-13 season.

"[Penn State] is a great place to be.  Our coaching staffs are really strong in a lot of areas," Rose said.

VIDEO: Lancaster Press Conference with Coaches O'Brien, Rose and Sanderson



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Stop VI: Harrisburg (Radisson Camp Hill)

Following a luncheon before a capacity crowd, the Caravan rolled into the Harrisburg area for an evening program in Camp Hill.  Nearly 550 guests congregated inside the Grand Ballroom at the Radisson to hear O'Brien, Sanderson and Rose address the crowd on Thursday night.

caravan_harrisburg1.jpg The first week of the Caravan ended with a night fun night of entertainment for the fans in Harrisburg.  The largest crowd of the week was a lively, engaged group from start to finish during the speeches and Q&A, largely thanks to another sterling performance from leadoff man Cael Sanderson to kick-start the program.

After drawing a huge crowd and shaking countless hands during the pre-event reception, Sanderson had the audience in stiches with one-liner after one-liner during his speech.  Among many quick-witted moments, he got the crowd into a standing ovation contest, as he called it, to see how many times he could get the crowd to give O'Brien a standing ovation during his own speech.

All three coaches fed off of one another at both stops on Thursday, but Sanderson and O'Brien were a comical matchup on stage throughout the evening in Harrisburg.  O'Brien answered Sanderson's stand-up act later during his speech by ribbing the wrestling legend for losing a grand total of three matches from high school through college (He was a combined 286-3 in high school and college.)

"Come on, Cael. You could have done better than that (laughter)," O'Brien said.

With the crowd roaring, Rose took the microphone and said," Cael's on fire!"  The Nittany Lion women's volleyball head coach went on to tell the crowd that the individuals in the room understood what the true meaning is behind being a Penn Stater.  The 34-year veteran also knows a thing or two about what Penn State is all about with its success on the field of play and in the classroom.

"I've been there a long time, and I love being there," Rose said.  "I'm not going anywhere."

"When you talk about Penn State around the country, you just want people to see what people are like in a room like this," O'Brien said.

The Penn State community is special to all three coaches.  Without a doubt, they all had fun joking with one another on stage Thursday night, but there is no question how each coach feels about the place they call home and the people who support the Blue and White.

"If you have that support before the success that's how you get the success, and that's what we have at Penn State," Sanderson said.

"A roomful of energetic, passionate Penn Staters, this is what it's all about," O'Brien said.    


VIDEO: Harrisburg Press Conference with Coaches O'Brien, Rose and Sanderson


caravan_harrisburg2.jpgcaravan_harrisburg3.jpgcaravan_harrisburg4.jpg Miles Covered on Day One - 203 miles
Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Miles Covered on Day Three -
254 miles
Caravan Total -
604 miles

The Caravan resumes on Tuesday with stops in Williamsport and Allentown.


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


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

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Coaches Caravan bus rolled south on I-95 for day two of the first leg on Wednesday morning en route for a lunch stop at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and an evening reception in Washington, D.C.

More than 225 fans at lunch and 375 enthusiastic attendees at dinner greeted an all-star cast of Penn State coaches, which included Bill O'Brien, Patrick Chambers, Cael Sanderson and Coquese Washington.  Take a look through some highlights on day two, which included an entertaining evening stop in the nation's capital.

Stop III - Baltimore (Sheraton Inner Harbor)
The Baltimore crowd was greeted with a treat on Wednesday morning as coaches from four major Penn State programs took the opportunity to meet, mingle and address a room filled with Penn State fans and alums.  Joining O'Brien and Chambers on day two of the Caravan were two coaches with Big Ten Coach of the Year accolades from the 2012-13 season in Sanderson and Washington.

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Washington, who led the Lady Lions to a second-straight Big Ten title and third-consecutive NCAA Tournament trip this season, spoke to the crowd first.

"It's fantastic to see so much support from Baltimore," Washington said.

Washington added that she will be thrilled for the Penn State fans in the Baltimore to be able to see the Lady Lions in person when Maryland joins the Big Ten prior to the 2014-15 season.  Washington highlighted her team's march to a second-straight conference title and updated the crowd on what lies ahead for her young team in the fall.

"We have seven freshmen coming in this summer.  Baltimore, please pray for me," Washington joked.

To close her speech, Washington expressed her appreciation for what all of the Penn State fans do for each and every program on campus.

"For us to do what we do, you guys are a part of our team," Washington said.

Fresh off leading the Penn State wrestling team to its third-straight NCAA title, Sanderson received a standing ovation as he was introduced to the crowd.  O'Brien was among the first people in the room to stand and applaud for Sanderson, who walked to the microphone clad in a dark suit with a blue "O'Brien's Lions" T-shirt on under his jacket.

"I think that was probable for the T-shirt," Sanderson joked as he opened his jacket.  "That's why O'Brien stood up first (laughter)."

Coach Chambers explained to the crowd that he and his staff spend a lot of time recruiting in the Baltimore area.  Like he did on day one, the leader of Nittany Lion basketball told the crowd to expect an exciting, high-paced attack on the hardwood when the Lions take the floor in the fall.

O'Brien spoke last during the luncheon.  He kicked off his speech with a sarcastic congratulatory message to the fans of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in the room, which drew a great deal of laughter.  Additionally, he told the crowd how he and strength coach Craig Fitzgerald Googled Cael Sanderson's name to marvel over his athletic and coaching accomplishments, which again created a roar of laughter from the crowd of 225.

The Nittany Lions currently have 11 players on the football roster from Maryland, many of which play a very prominent role on the team.  With that being said, O'Brien talked about the importance of recruiting in Maryland and how the program will continue to emphasize the importance of finding talent in Maryland.

As was the case in Reading and Philadelphia, all four coaches used the Caravan stop to say thank you for the support.  Without the core group of supporters, like the ones in the room at Baltimore, the Penn State athletic programs would not be the same.

"You are the foundation.  Without you guys we are not possible," Chambers said.


VIDEO: Baltimore Press Conference with Coach O'Brien



Stop IV: Washington (Hyatt Regency)

The Coaches Caravan moved south after the Baltimore stop to the nation's capital for the fourth program on the first week.  In front of a lively crowd of 375, O'Brien, Chambers, Sanderson and Washington delivered a superb series of speeches on Wednesday night.

"You all are a lively bunch.  This is going to be a fun evening," Washington said to open the program.

The four coaches deserve a great deal of credit for their presentations, but the fans and alums in attendance made the Washington, D.C. event one of the best in the two years of the Coaches Caravan.  From start to finish, the crowd was enthusiastic and energetic inside the Regency Ballroom.

Sanderson, who spoke second, put on a display of stand-up comedy at the podium during his five-plus minutes at the microphone.  Wearing his second piece of Bill O'Brien fan gear of the day, Sanderson donned a "Billieve" shirt under his suit jacket.

From ribbing Coach Chambers about the work he has ahead of him to telling Coach O'Brien that the reason everyone is a fan of his is because he goes for it on fourth down every chance he gets, Sanderson had the crowd roaring with laughter.

"How many times do they really go for it on fourth down?" Sanderson joked.

Chambers picked up right where Sanderson left off, telling the D.C. crowd about how he had been mistaken for Sanderson on several occasions in Baltimore and prior to the evening event Washington.  He joked that he even signed a few autographs with Sanderson's signature.

"He's a beast! I'm just a skinny point guard (laughter)," Chambers said.

Outside of the comical speeches from all four, the theme of Wednesday night centered on the folks in the room, the core Penn State fans, as O'Brien has called the group throughout the Caravan.  It is people like the enthusiastic crowd in Washington, D.C. that make Penn State sporting events and its programs so special.

Like Sanderson said during his speech about what his message is to recruits - "When you come to Penn State, you will be a part of something special," he said.  The same holds true for the fans.  When you support Penn State sports teams, whether it be fans or alums or both, you will become a part of something very special, much bigger than wins and losses on the field of play.

"This is one of the best crowds we've had since we've done this for two years," O'Brien said.

The Caravan moves to Lancaster and Camp Hill on Thursday to cap off week one.


VIDEO: Washington Press Conference with Coaches O'Brien, Washington and Sanderson


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Miles Covered on Day One -
203 miles
Miles Covered on Day Two - 147 miles
Caravan Total -
350 miles    


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

Coaches Caravan Kicks Off in Reading and Philadelphia

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Photo Gallery - Reading | Photo Gallery - Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The 12-stop Penn State Coaches Caravan kicked off on Monday before enthusiastic crowds of more than 225 in a sold out event in Reading and more than 400 during an evening stop in downtown Philadelphia.

The Penn State themed Fullington Trailways bus pulled out of the Bryce Jordan Center parking lot at 8:10 a.m. en route to the Penn State Berks Campus.  Take a look through some highlights on day one, which included an evening stop downtown Philadelphia, of the six-day caravan.

Stop I - Reading (Penn State Berks)
Head coaches Bill O'Brien and Patrick Chambers headlined the initial stop on Monday morning to begin leg one of the second Coaches Caravan.  Both head coaches participated in a media session on the Penn State Berks campus before addressing a sold out crowd.

"The band is back together," Chambers joked as he opened his speech.

VIDEO: Reading Press Conference with Coach O'Brien and Coach Chambers


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During the morning bus ride, Chambers and O'Brien shared stories and coaching insight during the entire two-plus hour trek to Reading on Monday morning.  The two leaders have a great relationship, and both are excited to be back on the road for the Coaches Caravan.  At the first stop, the duo moved around the entire gymnasium at Penn State Berks, walking from table to table as the crowd at its lunch to shake hands and say hello to all of the Penn State fans.

After introductions and a brief video, Chambers took the microphone first during the formal lunch program.  Always passionate, the leader of Nittany Lion basketball delivered a powerful speech about the progress the Lions made on the hardwood despite facing adversity in 2012-13.

Chambers told the capacity crowd that All-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier is nearly back to 100 percent and looking ahead to what will be an exciting fall with the Big Ten's top two leading scorers from last season - D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall - back, along with the conference's second-leading rebounder - Ross Travis - in 2013-14. 

"There is a buzz about Penn State," Chambers said.  "People want Penn State basketball to be good...I wish the season started tomorrow."

Chambers, who hails from Newtown Square, shared stories of his childhood trips to the Reading area and updated the crowd about Reading native Donovon Jack.

O'Brien then took the microphone and told the crowd that Chambers is a tough act to follow because of his energy and passion with everything he does.  But both head coaches spoke with great enthusiasm about not on their own programs, but Penn State University during Monday's lunch.

Heading into his second season at the helm of the Nittany Lion football program, O'Brien took Monday morning as an opportunity to thank the Penn State fans for their support of the football program.  He delivered a direct message to the crowd in the room that their support of the Penn State athletic department has never been more important.

"We wanted to come out and show our appreciation for everything you do," O'Brien said.  "We need your support more than ever and we need to be unified."

While he provided an update on the 2013 team as it heads into the summer, O'Brien's message was to thank the fans for their continued commitment to support Penn State in everything it does on the field and in the classroom.

"A full Beaver Stadium and a full BJC is a statement about a whole lot more than just football and basketball," O'Brien said.


Stop II: Philadelphia (Hyatt at The Bellevue)
The Coaches Caravan bus drove 65 miles south east to stop No. 2 of the caravan on South Broad Street in downtown Philadelphia.  Coach O'Brien and Coach Chambers participated in a press conference prior to the dinner program inside the Hyatt at The Bellevue.


VIDEO: Philadelphia Press Conference with Coach O'Brien and Coach Chambers


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From the moment they walked into the Grand Ballroom inside the second floor of the historic Hyatt, Chambers and O'Brien were fired up to address a crowd of more than 400 Penn State fans and alums on Tuesday night.

"It is so great to be back in Philadelphia," Chambers said.  "What a great place to be right here on Broad Street; it feels like home.  It's great to be here."

The Philadelphia product addressed the enthusiastic group first with an energetic and rousing speech about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude regardless of what circumstances a team faces.  Chambers received several ovations during his speech as he remarked about his team's fight and ability to continuing pushing forward.

After detailing the returning talent on the hoops squad, Chambers told the hometown crowd that he borrowed a line from O'Brien's playbook for the upcoming season, and he said to look for the 2013-14 Nittany Lions to run some "NASCAR"-paced offense.  As he wrapped up his speech, Chambers earned a well-deserved standing ovation.

"It's always great to come back to the City of Brotherly Love, especially with Coach Chambers," O'Brien said as he stepped to the microphone.

The leader of Penn State Football again delivered a straightforward, impassioned speech to the Caravan crowd. O'Brien said that there is no more important time than now for Penn State fans.

"The success of our students is why we are here," O'Brien said.

Both Chambers and O'Brien share the same vision on the importance of thanking the Penn State fans for their unwavering support.  And both will continue to express the importance of the Nittany Lion community joining together to support the University and athletic program they love.

"You win as one team," O'Brien said.  "That's what it is going to take to rise above what we are up against."

Both coaches did a tremendous job engaging the audience with energetic speaking presentations.  Fans who do not have plans to attend one of the 10 remaining sessions on the Coaches Caravan, register today.  You will not be disappointed with what you hear and see.

The Caravan rolls into Baltimore for lunch and Washington, D.C. for dinner on Wednesday.  Lady Lion head coach Coquese Washington and three-time defending NCAA champion head coach Cael Sanderson join the Caravan on Wednesday.


Miles Covered on Day One -
203 miles
    

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VIDEO: Previewing the 12-Stop Coaches Caravan

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Coaches Caravan Registration - Click Here

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With spring practice in the books, head coach Bill O'Brien, along with seven other Penn State coaches, are set to embark on the 2013 Coaches Caravan beginning April 30.

8876342.jpegBuilding on last year's successful road tour, O'Brien and Nittany Lion basketball coach Patrick Chambers will kick off this year's 12-stop excursion in front of a sold out lunch crowd on the Penn State Berks campus in Reading on April 30.  The bus will then travel to Philadelphia for an evening session featuring O'Brien and Chambers.

"I'm really excited.  We decided to do the Caravan again because we thought the turnout last year was excellent," O'Brien said.  "We are looking forward again to getting out there and connecting with the alums and fans and all the people who support our athletic program, and obviously the football program."

"I'm fired up.  It's going to be great to get to Reading and Philly; I'm going back home," Chambers said.  "It's going to be great to see a lot of the alums, a lot of the fans.  I thought it was great last year.  We had such a good time."

Day two (May 1) of the Coaches Caravan kicks off in Baltimore with a lunch stop with a full lineup of leaders - O'Brien, Chambers, three-time defending NCAA champion wrestling coach Cael Sanderson and two-time defending Big Ten women's basketball champion coach Coquese Washington.  The quartet will also be the headliners at the May 1 evening reception in Washington, D.C.

The first week of the Caravan will conclude with a lunch stop in Lancaster and an evening stop in Camp Hill (Harrisburg) with O'Brien, Sanderson and five-time women's volleyball national champion head coach Russ Rose on May 2.

Among the coaches slated to join O'Brien on the road during week two of the Coaches Caravan are field hockey's Char Morett, men's volleyball's Mark Pavlik, Chambers and men's hockey's Guy Gadowsky.

"These people reach out to us all the time - they come to our games, they send us letters, they e-mail us," O'Brien said.  "I think it is really important for us to return the favor, so to speak, to get out there to meet them and talk to them and to reiterate all the things that are great about Penn State and its athletic program."

GoPSUsports.com will again board the modified Fullington Trailways motorcoach for all 12 stops on the Caravan.  Look for photos, video and written content from all 12 locations as the Penn State Coaches Caravan hits the road for six days in the coming two weeks.

Watch O'Brien and Chambers preview the 2013 Coaches Caravan.  Register today for a stop near you, and we look forward to seeing you on the road.



2013 Coaches Caravan Schedule
Week One:
April 30
Penn State Berks; Reading (lunch-SOLD OUT)
Coaches: Patrick Chambers, Bill O'Brien

Philadelphia (evening reception)
Coaches: Patrick Chambers, Bill O'Brien

May 1
Baltimore (lunch)
Coaches: Patrick Chambers, Bill O'Brien, Cael Sanderson, Coquese Washington

Washington, D.C. (evening reception)
Coaches: Patrick Chambers, Bill O'Brien, Cael Sanderson, Coquese Washington

May 2
Lancaster (lunch)
Coaches: Bill O'Brien, Russ Rose, Cael Sanderson

Harrisburg/Camp Hill (evening reception)
Coaches: Bill O'Brien, Russ Rose, Cael Sanderson

Week Two:
May 7
Penn College of Technology; Williamsport (lunch-SOLD OUT)
Coaches: Char Morett, Bill O'Brien, Mark Pavlik

Allentown/Breinigsville (evening reception)
Coaches: Char Morett, Bill O'Brien, Mark Pavlik

May 8
New York City (lunch)
Coaches: Patrick Chambers, Char Morett, Bill O'Brien, Mark Pavlik

Scranton (evening event)
Coaches: Patrick Chambers, Bill O'Brien, Mark Pavlik

May 9
Penn State DuBois (lunch)
Coaches: Guy Gadowsky, Bill O'Brien, Mark Pavlik

Pittsburgh (evening reception)
Coaches: Guy Gadowsky, Bill O'Brien, Mark Pavlik


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VIDEO: Hockey Coaches Talk Programs, Pegula Ice Arena on Caravan

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's and women's hockey coaches Guy Gadowsky and Josh Brandwene are counting down the days until they kick off Division I competition in the fall.

Last week, both Gadowsky and Brandwene shared updates with the fans and alums about the progress of their programs and the construction of Pegula Ice Arena on the Coaches Caravan.  Gadowsky joined the Caravan for all six stops during week three, while Brandwene spoke in Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

Take a look at a video feature from the Coaches Caravan on Penn State Hockey.


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

Coaches Caravan a Big Hit for Coach O'Brien, Penn State Fans

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's first football game under the direction of head coach Bill O'Brien may not be for another 105 days, but the momentum for the 2012 season is already in motion.

Coach O'Brien kick-started that momentum when he embarked on a 1,968-mile, nine-day caravan beginning on April 30 with a stop in downtown Philadelphia.  For 18 stops, the leader of Nittany Lion football, along with 10 other Penn State coaches, addressed passionate and enthusiastic fans.

Coach O'Brien gave Nittany Lion fans a clear vision on the type of team he wants to field and how he plans on running the football program.  The fan reception across all 18 stops was outstanding.  All in all, the Coaches Caravan was a tremendous success for everyone involved.

In total, nearly 5,000 Penn State fans and alums attended the Coaches Caravan events in Philadelphia, Drexel Hill, Baltimore, Washington D.C, Richmond, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Woodbridge (N.J.), New York, Hartford, Scranton, Altoona, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland, Erie and Buffalo.

From a media perspective, Coach O'Brien conducted 61 different one-on-one interviews and 18 press conferences on 11 days from April 30-May 16, bringing the total number of Coaches Caravan media meetings to 79.

GoPSUsports.com provided written, video and photo content from all 18 stops.  Take a look below at several video features posted along the way.

Week One
Philadelphia/Drexel Hill


Baltimore/Washington D.C.


Richmond/Harrisburg



Week Two
Coaches Caravan from a Fan's Perspective


Coach O'Brien Visits New York City


Life on the Caravan Bus



Week Three
Altoona/Pittsburgh


Coaches Caravan Visits Ohio



Below is a compiled list of media coverage from the 2012 Coaches Caravan:

Stories/Columns prior to Caravan event in a city/National
Associated Press - Caravan preview
ESPN.com

Allentown Morning Call
Altoona Mirror
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Harrisburg Patriot News
Home News Tribune
Newark Star-Ledger
New York Daily News
New York Times
Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Scranton Times-Tribune/Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice
Warren Tribune Chronicle
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader


TV-Radio coverage prior to Caravan event in a city
ESPN Radio Altoona & State College
WRTA Radio - Altoona/Tyrone
WMAR-TV - Baltimore
105.7, The Fan - Baltimore
ESPN Radio 950 - Philadelphia
KYW NewsRadio - Philadelphia
ESPN Radio 970 - Pittsburgh
93.7, The Fan - Pittsburgh
Sirius XM - 2 interviews
WBRE-TV - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
WNEP-TV - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
WJAC-TV/Fox 8 - State College/Altoona/Johnstown
WTAJ-TV - State College/Altoona/Johnstown

Stories generated by Caravan event in a city/on bus
Associated Press
Sporting News
USA Today

Allentown Morning Call
Altoona Mirror
Baltimore Sun
Beaver County Times
Bergen Record
Bucks County Courier
Buffalo News
Centre Daily Times
Daily Collegian
Easton Express Times
Erie Times-News
Harrisburg Patriot News
Hartford Courant
Hazleton Standard Speaker
Home News Tribune
Lancaster Intelligencer
Newsday
Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Reading Eagle
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Scranton Times-Tribune/Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice
Washington Post
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
York Daily Record
Youngstown Vindicator

TV-radio coverage generated by Caravan event in a city
Sports Biz, NBC Sports Network
Yahoo! Sports Radio

ESPN Radio Altoona & State College
WRTA Radio - Altoona/Tyrone
WGRZ-TV - Buffalo
WIVB/WNLO-TV - Buffalo
WKBW-TV - Buffalo
WJET/Fox 66 - Erie
WSEE/WICU-TV - Erie
Fox 43 - York/Harrisburg
WGAL-TV - Lancaster/Harrisburg
WHP-TV - Harrisburg
WHTM-TV - Harrisburg
WYLN-TV - Hazleton
TV2 - Lehigh Valley
Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
CBS 3 - Philadelphia
Fox 29 - Philadelphia
WPVI-TV - Philadelphia
KDKA-TV - Pittsburgh
WPXI-TV/Fox53 - Pittsburgh
WTAE-TV - Pittsburgh
93.7, The Fan - Pittsburgh
CBS 6 - Richmond
NBC 12 - Richmond
WBRE-TV - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
WNEP-TV - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
WJAC-TV/Fox 8 - State College/Altoona/Johnstown
WTAJ-TV - State College/Altoona/Johnstown
Comcast SportsNet D.C.
WUSA-TV - Washington, D.C.
WILK Radio - Wilkes-Barre


Web/Social Media coverage generated by Caravan event in a city/bus
Alumni.psu.edu
BlackShoeDiaries.com
BleacherReport.com
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com
CBSSports.com
GoPSUsports.com
Fightonstate.com
Lions247.com
Live.psu.edu
Onward State
Penn State Facebook sites
Penn State and media Twitter accounts
PennStatermag.com
SI.com
SportingNews.com
StateCollege.com
VictoryBellRings.com


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VIDEO: Life on the Coaches Caravan Bus

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fullington Trailways driving ace Gottfried Fodor pulled up to the curb outside of the Mezzanine Entrance at the Bryce Jordan Center shortly after 1 a.m. on Thursday morning, ending a nine-day, 1,968-mile tour through seven states and 18 stops.

Life on the modified Penn State Coaches Caravan bus was an incredible experience to be a part of.  All of the coaches enjoyed conversing, sharing stories and getting to know one another for three weeks.  There were eight individuals, and Fodor, on the bus for every stop during all nine days on the road.  Several other coaches, staff members and a few media members joined the Caravan for stints along the way, and all three weeks were filled with fun on the bus.

Take a look at a video feature of what life was like on the bus with Coach O'Brien during the first caravan event of its kind in Penn State Athletics history.


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