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Fran Ganter is in his fourth year as Associate Athletic Director for Football Administration after 37 years as a Penn State football player and coach. Named to his new post in in February 2004, he oversees a variety of administrative aspects of the program, assisting head coach Joe Paterno and Director of Athletics Tim Curley in all facets of the program.
A running back for the Nittany Lions from 1967-70, Ganter helped Penn State compile a 29-3 record, including undefeated seasons in 1968 and '69. Winner of the squad's Red Worrell Award in 1970, he graduated in 1971 and was the freshman coach the next fall, beginning a tenure that would last 33 years on the coaching staff. Ganter was a graduate assistant and J.V. coach before being named running backs and kickers coach in 1978. A native of Bethel Park, Pa., Ganter was named offensive coordinator in 1984 and in 2000 he was named Assistant Head Coach of the Nittany Lions. He helped the Lions to 28 bowl berths as a coach, three more as a player, five undefeated seasons and two national titles.
During his highly successful tenure, Ganter coached six running backs and two kickers that earned first-team All-America honors. During his 20 years overseeing the offense, he was instrumental in the development of 12 offensive players that were first-team All-Americans and many others that played in the National Football League.
Ganter coached a litany of Penn State greats, including running backs Curt Warner, D.J. Dozier, Blair Thomas, Ki-Jana Carter, Curtis Enis and Larry Johnson, all of whom were first-team All-Americans and first-round NFL Draft picks, as well as All-America kickers Chris and Matt Bahr.
Among the other standouts he coached are running backs Sam Gash, Richie Anderson, Matt Suhey, Steve Smith, Gary Brown, Leroy Thompson, Jon Witman, Brian Milne, Eddie Drummond and Omar Easy and kicker Brett Conway, all of whom have played in the NFL.
Among the many prolific offenses that Ganter directed, the 1994 Nittany Lions rank among the best in college football history. Penn State led the nation in total offense (520.2 ypg) and scoring with its 47.8 ppg average, ranking as the fourth-highest scoring average in NCAA history. The unit broke 14 team school records, led the Big Ten in every offensive category and shattered the record for scoring in Big Ten games with a 48.1 ppg average.
Ganter was named Assistant Coach-of-the-Year by Athlon in 1994, as the Lions won the Big Ten and Rose Bowl, becoming the first team in Big Ten history to go 12-0.
Ganter has four sons -- Jonathan, Christopher, Jason and Ben. Jonathan played football at Princeton; Chris played at Penn State from 2001-04; Jason is a senior on the Nittany Lion football squad and Ben is a sophomore member of Cornell University football team.
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