By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is a rare opening on Al Bagnoli’s football coaching staff at the University of Pennsylvania. That’s because longtime quarterbacks coach Larry Woods has decided to retire.
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“I’ve been fortunate to be around great people here at Penn, both coaches and players, starting with 21 years under Coach Bagnoli,” Woods tells KYW Newsradio. “So it has been a great run. I hope I’ve had the opportunity in some small, insignificant, way to make an impact on young men’s lives and help shape them and impart a little bit of wisdom and knowledge. Help them develop both as quarterbacks and, probably more importantly, as men. But it’s just time.”
Woods spent more than two decades on staff with the Quakers. His first stint saw him serve as tight ends coach in 1988 before focusing on wide receivers in 1989. After a four year run with Ivy rival Brown, he returned to Penn in 1994 and started coaching quarterbacks in 1995. The rest, as they say, is history.
“In what is a rather transient occupation, to stay at one place for this long is pretty rare,” Woods says. “I’ve been fortunate to be part of 9 (Ivy League) championships in 21 years. And I’d like to think that I had some small impact in those championships. Honestly, at this point, it just can’t get any better than that.”
Woods has helped mold some special talents at the quarterback position, and he says the camaraderie with the players, specifically those quarterbacks, is what he will miss the most.
“We’re such a small, tight-knit group,” Woods says. “It’s not like I’m in a position group with 20 guys. So our position group is usually pretty small. The meetings are intimate because we are in such a small group and we generally tend to meet a lot more than the other positions simply because of what you put on the quarterbacks shoulders, in orchestrating a game and a game plan. So that’s probably the thing I’m going to miss the most. That and being out on the field with the quarterbacks.”
Of the nine 2,000-yard single-season passing performances in Penn history, eight have accomplished the feat under Woods.
His replacement as quarterbacks coach at Penn has not yet been announced.
The Quakers wrap up spring practice this week.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.