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Feb. 18, 2012
Fisher has extensive experience as an innovative collegiate head coach, offensive coordinator, passing game coordinator, wide receivers and running backs coach. Entering his 31st season in coaching, among some of the players Fisher has coached or helped mentor are: Earl Bennett and Jay Cutler (Vanderbilt), Torry Holt and Koren Robinson (North Carolina State) and Zac Dysert and Nick Harwell (Miami Univ.).
A native of Allenwood, Pa., 70 miles east of State College, Fisher is the fifth member of O'Brien's staff who has been part of a national championship coaching staff, having helped Eastern Kentucky win an NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) title.
"With the hiring of Charlie Fisher as quarterbacks coach, we have completed the Penn State football coaching staff," O'Brien stated. "This is a staff made up of men who care about the mission of Penn State University and being successful on and off the field. It is also a staff of winners, with five staff members that have been a part of national championship teams as assistant coaches. This is a staff that has won many games; some while being a part of the same staff, and is a staff comprised of former head coaches, coordinators and tremendous recruiting experience."
"I've known Charlie for a long time," Coach O'Brien said. "He is a bright guy, sharp guy who has had a lot of success. He has coached some good quarterbacks. He worked with Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt. He just led Zac Dysert last year at Miami of Ohio. We are lucky to get him."
Fisher comes to Happy Valley after serving as the pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Miami (Ohio) in 2011. The prolific Dysert ranked 11th nationally in passing offense (292.7 ypg) and 14th in total offense (302.3 ypg). Wideout Harwell was No. 2 nationally in receiving yards with a 129.5 ypg average, making 97 catches for 1,525 yards and nine touchdowns for the Redhawks.
Fisher was on the Vanderbilt staff from 2002-10, serving as co-pass game coordinator his last five seasons and the wide receivers coach the final seven years. Fisher was instrumental in Bennett becoming the all-time receptions leader in Southeastern Conference history (236 catches), earning All-SEC honors three times. Bennett and Cutler play for the Chicago Bears.
A 1981 graduate of Springfield College, Fisher earned a master's degree at Eastern Kentucky, helping the Colonels win the 1982 NCAA I-AA title. He served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Temple (2000-02) and was receivers coach at North Carolina State (1998-99), helping develop Wolfpack and NFL standouts Holt and Robinson, as well as Chris Coleman. Holt was the 1998 ACC Player of the Year and the No. 6 pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, while Robinson was the 1999 ACC Rookie of the Year and played eight years in the NFL.
Fisher was head coach at West Georgia from 1991-98, earning a 67.9 winning percentage and leading the school to its first Gulf South Conference championship in 1997. Former New York Giants wide receiver Ron Dixon was among the players he developed at West Georgia. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Lenoir-Rhyne from 1985-91 and a graduate assistant coach at Ole Miss in 1983-84.
The Penn State assistant coaches who have won national championships are: Fisher, assistant head coach/wide receivers Stan Hixon (LSU), offensive line coach Mac McWhorter (Texas), defensive coordinator Ted Roof (Auburn) and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden (Colorado).
The Nittany Lions will begin spring drills March 26, with the 15 practices culminating in the Blue-White game, the highlight of the spring sports season. Blue-White Weekend is April 20-22, with the game on the Saturday, April 21 in Beaver Stadium.
"We are in the middle of our off-season conditioning program run by Craig Fitzgerald," O'Brien added. "Our players are working extremely hard and we can't wait for the start of spring practice."
The Nittany Lions were 2011 Big Ten Leaders Division co-champions and played in their fourth consecutive New Year's bowl game and 44th bowl overall. The Nittany Lions' 827 all-time victories rank No. 5 in the nation and their 27 bowl wins are third-highest nationally.
Penn State opens its 126th season on Sept. 1. The Nittany Lions will host Ohio State, Wisconsin, Northwestern (Oct. 6-Homecoming), Indiana, Navy, Temple and Ohio University in Beaver Stadium this fall. For season ticket information, fans should call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The pricing of Penn State football game tickets and accompanying donation levels is the same as in 2011.