Marques Hagans. Courtesy of Penn State.
Marques Hagans. Courtesy of Penn State.

Few people have been a part of the UVa athletic program as long as Marques Hagans, who left the Cavaliers’ football staff this past week to join the staff at Penn State, where he will serve as receivers coach and “offensive recruiting coordinator” under Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin.

Hagans was a quarterback on the Cavaliers’ football team from 2002-2005, at which point he had passed for 4,877 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career. He was a fifth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2006 and most recently was the associate head coach under new UVa head coach Tony Elliott. 

At Penn State, Hagans will be joining another prominent Cavalier, Anthony Poindexter, a safety for the Cavaliers from 2009-2012 who is in the College Football Hall of Fame and has coached the secondary at Penn State for the past two seasons.

Penn State coach James Franklin has had a questionable relationship with UVa since he was an assistant at Maryland from 2003-2004 and had a pregame skirmish with Al Groh, the Cavaliers’ head coach at the time.

Hagans, a graduate of Hampton High School, subsequently worked for UVa head coaches Mike London, Bronco Mendenhall and Tony Elliott after playing for Groh.

Former Miami head coach Manny Diaz is the defensive coordinator for Penn State after spending time as an assistant at N.C. State, Mississippi State, Texas and Miami. Before that, he was a graduate assistant at Florida State.

Penn State already has one of the highest-rated recruiters in college football, associate head coach Terry Smith. The Nittany Lions were 11-2 (7-2 in the Big Ten) and finished seventh in the final Associated Press poll this season.


In his debut as VMI’s head football coach, Danny Rocco will play host to a Davidson team coached by Scott Abell, who knows the Lexington area very well.

Abell, a Longwood graduate who is from Albemarle County, was the head coach at Washington and Lee from 2012-2017, compiling a 39-24 record. He has a 34-19 mark at Davidson. 

Rocco is scheduled to speak with the Roanoke Valley Sports Club on Feb. 21 in Salem. He has been putting together a staff that includes defensive coordinator Rich Yahner, a former Rocco assistant at Delaware. 

In memoriam

Former Washington and Lee athletic director Bill McHenry, who died earlier this month at 91, was a W&L grad who moved up to athletic director in 1971, when predecessor Gene Corrigan took that position at UVa. McHenry subsequently entered into the college athletic directors (NACDA) hall of fame.

The portal

Virginia Tech’s 78-75 men’s basketball victory over visiting Duke earlier this week showed to the importance of the Transfer Portal, which created an opening for 6-9, 215-pound Grant Basile, who had a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds. 

Basile is from Pewaukee, Wis., a town with a 2023 population of 16,730, not far from Milwaukee. After playing AAU ball for the Wisconsin Shooters, he signed with Wright State, which went 22-14 before losing to a No. 1-ranked Arizona team 87-70 in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

After three years at Wright State, where he averaged 18.4 points and 8.5 rebounds as a junior, Basile looked at four schools as a possible transfer program. He ended up picking Virginia Tech over Wisconsin, Iowa State and Notre Dame. 

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington,...