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December 3, 2013

Reports: Fisher, Vanderlinden not returning

According to multiple news outlets, two Penn State assistant coaches will not return for the 2014 season.

Quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher and longtime Nittany Lions' linebacker coach Ron Vanderlinden are both no longer with the program, confirming the breaking news first reported Monday afternoon by recent Penn State grad Macy Golder on Twitter.

"Breaking: Sources tell me that Coaches Vanderlinden and Fisher have been fired by O'Brien #Penn State" - @magic_of_macy - 1:44 p.m.

The veracity of the initial report - that both coaches were in fact terminated - has yet to be determined.

As of Tuesday morning, both Vanderlinden and Fisher still appeared at Penn State Athletics' Web site with the rest of Bill O'Brien's coaching staff, though University policy regarding human resources filings appears to be impacting the timing of an official announcement, which is not expected to come until potentially Wednesday.

Filling out O'Brien's staff in mid-February 2012, Fisher made the jump from passing game coordinator at Miami (Ohio) to quarterbacks coach at Penn State following other stops at Vanderbilt, North Carolina State, Eastern Kentucky and Ole Miss.

"I've known him for a long time," O'Brien said at the time. "Bright guy, sharp guy. He's had a lot of success, coached some good quarterbacks. He worked with Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt and just had Zac Dysert last year at Miami of Ohio. We were lucky to get him."

In his first season guiding the Nittany Lions' quarterbacks, Fisher helped guide fifth-year senior Matt McGloin to a record 3,266 passing yards, 270 completions and 24 touchdown passes in his final go 'round. This past season, Penn State's true freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg made a similar splash, racking up 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns through the air - along with another four on the ground - while completing 231 of 392 passes (58.9 percent) and throwing 10 interceptions.

Vanderlinden, meanwhile, represents a departure from one of the few bridges between the former staff of Joe Paterno and the current regime.

Just finishing his 13th year with the Nittany Lions, Vanderlinden spent the 2013 season guiding the linebackers and helping fellow assistant Charles London with special teams coaching.

Among his many accomplishments as an assistant at Penn State, Vanderlinden helped develop the likes of some of the best linebackers for not only the Nittany Lions, but at the next level as well. According to the school's site, "Vanderlinden has developed five players who have earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and five first-team All-America selections."

In fact, of the 25 Nittany Lions currently in the NFL, seven are former pupils of Vanderlinden's, including some of the league's standout stars like Paul Posluszny, Sean Lee, and Navarro Bowman.

Blue White Illustrated will follow up on this developing story as more information becomes available.




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