BLACKSBURG, Va. – It is a point of disagreement among Virginia Tech staffers as to who was responsible for the most egregious mistake of the offseason, but new head coach Brent Pry is going to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“We need a 14-ounce ribeye, man! They kept trying to make it an eight-ounce sirloin,” Pry explained.
And don’t get him started on dessert:
“High school coaches don’t care about carrot cake! We need, you know, the banana pudding with the vanilla wafers that they can fill a bowl with. They want chocolate chip cookies and brownies!”
When Pry says he has a specific vision for how his program is going to operate, he means it. It wasn’t enough to revive a Frank Beamer-era spring tradition of grilling steaks for local high school coaches after a clinic – he needed big steaks and the right desserts, cost be damned. They needed The Masters pulled up on the biggest big-screen TV they could find. And when school was out, they needed a staff retreat to make sure everyone was on the same page.
“I’ve got a pretty convincing way I want to do this thing,” he said, “and to get the narrative out and the messaging out – when these families come to our campus from a recruiting standpoint, when our players are in. our facilities – I want everybody that touches these guys to have the same narrative and speak the same language and make sure everybody understands what’s important to me and how we’re going to do this. “
A product from Lexington, Virginia, about 80 miles from Tech, Pry played safety at Buffalo, lettering in 1991, before turning to coaching. After his stint as a student coach at UB, he spent two years as a defensive assistant at Division II’s East Stroudsburg – where his father, the offensive coordinator, was coaching a quarterback by the name of James Franklin – before landing on the Virginia Tech staff as a graduate assistant under legendary coordinator Bud Foster. He spent three seasons in Blacksburg, then embarked on a career that took him to Western Carolina, Louisiana, Memphis and Georgia Southern and connected him with Franklin again at Vanderbilt and Penn State. Over his last five seasons as Franklin’s defensive coordinator, PSU averaged a defensive SP + ranking of 10.2, peaking at sixth in 2021. He believed he was ready for a head-coaching opportunity, but he was willing to accept only certain opportunities.
“I did have a vision, a very clear one, but only for Tech,” he said. “This one was really easy for me to see. It allowed an opportunity to be myself, you know, not have to be somebody I’m not. That was important to me. I wouldn’t have taken a job that didn’t allow for that, and there weren’t many places that would. “