In another round of Geoff Collins bringing his Temple staff to Georgia Tech, he has hired 3 on-field coaches as well as the program’s first-ever Director of Applied Sports Science.
A Director of Applied Sports Science usually works with the coaches and strength coaches to implement the best weightlifting and practice strategies in order to prevent injuries and increase game readiness. Horton was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Temple during Collins’ years there.
“Player development and player safety are the top two principles of our program and Ryan did a masterful job of implementing and monitoring those initiatives at Temple,” – Coach Collins
His relationship with Collins goes further back though. Horton started as a member of Tennessee’s staff but then moved to Florida International where he first worked with Geoff Collins. Horton stayed at FIU for 6 years until moving to Elon for two years and then Temple for two years.
Yesterday, Georgia Tech hired a defensive special teams coordinator in Jeff Popovich but today, Collins hired an offensive special teams coordinator. Special Teams has long been an issue for Georgia Tech and Collins will look to rectify it as he hires two seperate special teams coordinators in Jeff Popovich and today’s hire: Chris Wiesehan (WEEZ-uh-han). Wiesehan was also at Temple during Collins’ two years at Temple but was there for 3 years before that.
The experienced coach has 25 years of experience (more than any current Georgia Tech coach) at both the collegiate and professional levels. In college, Wiesehan has coached at Fort Hays State (WRs Coach), Notre Dame (Tight Ends Coach), Northern Arizona (WRs/Offensive Line Coach), James Madison (Offensive Line Coach), Syracuse (Offensive Line Coach), UCLA (Tight Ends Coach), Hawaii (Offensive Line), and Temple (Offensive Line). Looking at his resume, it seems he would be better suited to coach the offensive line but does have experience as a Tight Ends coach. In his seasons at Temple, he sent 8 players to the NFL including second round pick Dion Dawkins.
Georgia Tech has also hired Georgia native, Larry Knight. The former outside linebackers coach from Temple comes to the Flats after 2 years on Coach Collins’ staff. Before being promoted to outside linebackers coach, Knight was a quality-control assistant for the defense and recruiting. In February of 2018, he was promoted to director of player personnel before being fully promoted to outside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator on defense.
Knight graduated from Central Michigan and made stops at Cincinnati (Graduate Assistant), Tennessee (Defensive Quality Coach), and Georgia State (Outside Linebackers Coach) before joining Collins in Atlanta. He will be continue his outside linebackers role with Tech.
The last hire made by Geoff Collins today is Jim Panagos as the defensive line coach. I really liked Riase as the defensive line coach and was hoping he’d stay but Collins decided to move on. The defensive line hasn’t been a real force since the late 2000s with Michael Johnson and Derrick Morgan. Hopefully Panagos can get Georgia Tech back to that.
Prior to his two years at Temple, Panagos gained over 10 years of experience in coaching defensive lines, first serving at UCF for five years (2007-2011) and then Rutgers for four years (2012-2015), and one year at Pittsburgh (2016). FootballScoop.com named Panagos its National Defensive Line Coach of the Year in 2009 as he had two players hit double-digit sacks as well as a draft pick.
Jim Panagos: A
Panagos has plenty of experience and unlike other experienced coach Wiesehan, he has always been a defensive line coach. I think his ability to keep defensive lines working as the game has changed as well as the accolades he has received should work in his favor. Tech has some talent on the defensive line to work with and I think Panagos can get the best out of them.
Larry Knight: B+
The information out on Larry Knight is pretty scarce and with his only recruiting being done at Temple, it’s hard to quantify his recruiting ability. But with Geoff Collins promoting him and then bringing him to Atlanta, it’s reasonable to assume he’s a great recruiter and more importantly a relentless one. Based on limited information, I like this hire and think he will be more involved with recruiting than actual coaching although he will do both.
Chris Wiesehan: B
Wiesehan is the most experienced coach on the Georgia Tech staff currently and has experience as a tight ends coach. I think he will do well there although it is slightly concerning that he hasn’t coached in that role for a while. The biggest concern for me is his role as a special teams coordinator. It helps that he will only deal with the offensive portion of special teams but it still leads me to have my doubts.
Ryan Horton: A
There aren’t any stats or anything I can throw out that definitively prove if hiring a director of applied sports science is good, worth it, or if this is the right guy for the job. Collins has experience with him and integrating science with sports has immense benefits. I foresee this working well especially with the changes in the strength and conditioning program at Georgia Tech.