Share “Collected Wisdom: Galen Hall”

Published: March 1, 2009
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photo - Former OU assistant Galen Hall once coached in the XFL, and is now an assistant to Joe Paterno at Penn State. AP photo
Former OU assistant Galen Hall once coached in the XFL, and is now an assistant to Joe Paterno at Penn State. AP photo
Galen Hall arrived in Norman in 1966 as part of Jim Mackenzie’s Sooner football staff. Hall stayed 18 seasons, the final 11 as Barry Switzer’s offensive coordinator. Hall was a quarterback at Penn State, when Joe Paterno was an assistant there, then played one year with the Redskins and one year with the Jets. Since leaving OU, Hall has been head coach at Florida and in the United States Football League, the European League and the XFL. He returned to Penn State in 2004 as Paterno’s offensive coordinator.

Working for a guy like Joe Paterno is awesome. Probably the only guy I’d work for. I like what he stands for, for what this institution stands for. Graduating players, very much into helping develop young men.

I’ve known Joe since the late ’50s. He really hasn’t changed a lot since then. Still very demanding, still on top of things. Still very much in tune with what’s going on today.

I like State College. It’s very pretty. It’s unique in that it’s a town that sort of stayed the same. I’ve never been someone who likes a big-city environment.

I grew up in Williamsburg (Pa.), 35 miles from here. Williamsburg was such a small town, everything was very community-oriented. Everyone was very involved.

Back when I was growing up, the school you heard the most about was Pitt. Pitt had a good run of winning programs. Penn State hadn’t gotten into the national attention. That all changed when Joe took over in ’66.

I played two years of pro ball. It was plenty for me, because I realized I didn’t have the ability to play there. I tried it; probably wasn’t good enough to continue. I enjoyed it, but I always wanted to be a coach.

My dad was a coach. He died about five months before I was born. I lived with my grandfather. He filled the role of my father. The people in our community who were the leaders were the coaches. Just felt like teacher/coach was a profession I wanted to follow.

My favorite moment as a coach probably was when I was named head coach (not interim) at Florida. That day we beat Kentucky to win the (SEC) championship.