He’s been part of the Penn State football program for the past 46 years. Former player and coach Fran Ganter will officially be retired from his duties with the Nittany Lions starting Thursday, February 28th. Once considered to be the heir apparent to Joe Paterno as head coach, Ganter spent the past eight years as Associate Athletic Director for Football Administration.
The following is the official press release from Penn State University Athletics announcing his retirement:
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., February 27, 2013 – After nearly five decades as a Penn State Football student-athlete, coach and administrator, Fran Ganter has announced his retirement, effective February 28, 2013.
A running back for the Nittany Lions from 1967-70, Ganter helped Penn State compile a 29-3 record, including undefeated seasons capped by Orange Bowl wins in 1968 and ’69, as a player. Winner of the squad’s Red Worrell Award in 1970, Ganter graduated in 1971 and assumed duties as the freshman coach the next fall, beginning a tenure on the coaching staff that would last 33 years. Ganter was named offensive coordinator in 1984 and Assistant Head Coach in 2000, leaving the sidelines in 2004 to serve as Associate Athletic Director for Football Administration.
“I am very proud and thankful to have been a member of the Penn State Football family for the past 46 years,” Ganter stated.
“I will always owe a debt of gratitude to Coach Bob Phillips for recruiting me to play at Penn State, and to Coach (Joe) Paterno for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime when he hired me onto his staff,” Ganter said. “Outside of my Dad (Fran), who passed away when I was a young man and prior to being a father myself, Coach Paterno was the most influential and constant figure in my life. He was tough as my coach and demanding as my boss, but was always thoughtful and understanding when it came to my family. Life for a football coach’s family can be difficult, but my late wife Karen and our four boys loved being a part of Penn State Football because Coach Paterno genuinely cared for them and always tried to make them feel that they were an important part of the program — and for that I am eternally grateful.
“I am also thankful for the lifelong friendships I forged with my fellow coaches, as well as the other members of the support staff, through the wins and the losses, the up seasons and the down. And I am lucky to have played and coached in front of the best and most loyal fans in college football.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Coach (Bill) O’Brien over the past year, and would like to thank him for his great leadership and to congratulate him and his staff on a terrific season.
“Finally, and most importantly, I am sincerely grateful to all the players over all of the years who made it a joy for me to come to work every day — it was truly a privilege and an honor to be a part of their lives.”
“Fran Ganter has been a valuable member of the Penn State Football Family for 46 years,” said O’Brien. “We respect his decision to step away from his duties so that he can enjoy some time for himself and his four wonderful sons. He has been a tremendous help in the transition of our football staff and I will always be grateful to him for fulfilling that role.”
Former Nittany Lion Elijah Robinson will provide administrative oversight of the Penn State Football Letterman’s Club. Robinson serves as Penn State Football’s Director of Community Relations and is the program’s liaison with National Football League personnel.