Brent Pry saw one of two members of former head coach Justin Fuente’s coaching staff he wanted to retain, leave Blacksburg for another opportunity. According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, cornerbacks coach Ryan Smith is leaving Virginia Tech to take a similar position at Northwestern.
Sources: Northwestern has agreed to hire Ryan Smith as the school’s cornerbacks coach. Smith spent the last two years at Virginia Tech as the pass game coordinator and has been at JMU, Elon and GA’d at Penn State.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 19, 2021
This one is a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s no secret Smith was looking around. However, many Virginia Tech fans wondered why he wasn’t on the road recruiting with Pry and J.C. Price over the last two weeks if he was being retained. Pry did want to retain him, but it’s likely his offer had an expiration date.
It always made sense for Pry to retain Smith. Smith, who came to Blacksburg before the 2020 season from James Madison, where he was cornerbacks coach for one season. Before JMU, he was cornerbacks coach at Elon for two seasons.
His break in coaching came at Penn State, coincidentally enough, as a grad assistant under Pry for two seasons beginning in 2015.
Smith played his college football at William & Mary.
Initially, I believed Smith was going to stay in Blacksburg, and it all made sense. The prior history with Pry and Smith’s ability to recruit in the state of Virginia meant a seamless transition for Smith under the new regime. However, as we head toward the end of the year, Pry likely wants to finalize his coaching staff.
While we will never know exactly why Smith is going to Northwestern instead of staying in Blacksburg, it was time to move on if he didn’t want to be at Virginia Tech. It’s not personal. It’s time Virginia Tech hires people who want to be in Blacksburg and not see the Hokies as a second choice to anyone.
We wish the best to Coach Smith. He has a bright future.