Galen Hall

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Galen Hall
Coach Galen Hall (cropped).jpg
Hall on the Penn State sidelines in November 2008
Biographical details
Born (1940-08-14) August 14, 1940 (age 82)
Altoona, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater Penn State
Playing career
1959–1961 Penn State
1962 Washington Redskins
1963 New York Jets
Position(s) Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1964–1965 West Virginia (TE)
1966–1972 Oklahoma (WR)
1973–1983 Oklahoma (OC)
1984 Florida (OC)
1984–1989 Florida
1991 Orlando Thunder (OC)
1992 Orlando Thunder
1994 Charlotte Rage
1995–2000 Rhein Fire
2001 Orlando Rage
2002 Dallas Cowboys (RB)
2004–2011 Penn State (OC/RB)
Head coaching record
Overall40–18–1 (college)
Accomplishments and honors
2 (NFL Europe)
Florida–Georgia Hall of Fame
  • US Bowl Outstanding Player (1962)
  • SEC Coach of the Year (1984)
  • NFL Europe Coach of the Year
  • XFL Coach of the year (2001)

Galen Samuel Hall (born August 14, 1940) is a retired American college and professional football coach and player. He is a native of Pennsylvania, and an alumnus of Penn State University, where he played college football. Hall was previously the offensive coordinator at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Florida, and the head coach of the University of Florida, the Orlando Thunder, the Rhein Fire, and the XFL's Orlando Rage. He most recently served as the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Penn State.


Early life and education

Hall was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 1940 and grew up in Williamsburg, Pennsylvania. [1] He was raised by his grandparents, following the death of his father several months before he was born. [1]

He attended Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania, where he was the starting quarterback for coach Rip Engle's Nittany Lions in 1960 and 1961. He led the Nittany Lions to a combined 15–6 record and victories in the 1960 Liberty Bowl and 1961 Gator Bowl. He was named the outstanding player in the sole playing of the U.S. Bowl, a college all-star game played in Washington, DC in 1962. [2]

Professional football career

Hall signed as a backup quarterback with the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL) in 1962 and appeared in three games. He signed with the New York Jets of the American Football League (AFL) in 1963 and appeared in 13 games, including his only two career starts at the end of the campaign as Coach Weeb Ewbank attempted to jumpstart the slumping squad. Hall's first professional start came on December 14 against the Buffalo Bills, and he quickly threw a 73 yard touchdown pass to Don Maynard for what turned out to be the last touchdown pass in the history of the Polo Grounds. [3] It would also be the last touchdown pass of Hall's short pro career, as he threw five interceptions over his two starts and the Jets lost both games. After the season, Hall decided to return to the college game as an assistant coach. [4]

Coaching career

After retiring as a player, Hall was hired as an offensive assistant for the West Virginia Mountaineers, where he coached wide receivers and tight ends during the 1964 and 1965 seasons.


In 1966, Hall joined the staff as a receivers coach under head coach Jim Mackenzie at Oklahoma. Hall was an assistant with the program for the next 17 years under three head coaches - Mackenzie, Chuck Fairbanks, and Barry Switzer. Switzer had been the Sooners' offensive coordinator before taking the head job for the 1973 season, and he promoted Hall to fill his old position. [5]

Hall remained Oklahoma's offensive coordinator for a decade, during which time they boasted one of the most prolific offenses in college football. Using a run-heavy wishbone offense, the Sooners won two straight national championships (1974 and 1975), eight straight Southwest Conference championships, and produced Heisman-winning running back Billy Sims under Hall and Switzer. [6]

After a disappointing season in 1983, Oklahoma retained head coach Barry Switzer while replacing most of his staff, including Hall.


1984 and 1985 seasons

After leaving Oklahoma, Hall was quickly hired as the offensive coordinator for the Florida Gators under head coach Charlie Pell replacing Mike Shanahan, who had left Florida for the NFL. Unlike the option attacks he had run at Oklahoma, Hall was tasked with installing a balanced I-formation offense for the 1984 season to take advantage of the skills of senior quarterback Dale Dorminy and a veteran offensive line. [6]

However, a sequence of events early in the season drastically changed the situation. Injuries on the practice field thrust redshirt freshman Kerwin Bell into the starting quarterback position a few days before the season opener, forcing Hall to adjust his gameplans and playcalling. Then, between the third and fourth games, Pell was fired after an NCAA investigation alleged that he and his staff had committed 107 violations of NCAA rules over the previous few seasons. [7] Hall, who had not been at Florida when the violations occurred, was named interim head coach by athletic director Bill Carr on September 17. [7] [8] [9]

The Gators won the remaining eight games on their schedule under Hall, including big wins over arch-rivals Georgia, Auburn, and Florida State, and finished with a 9–1–1 record. [10] [11] By virtue of an undefeated 5–0–1 conference record, [11] Florida won its first-ever Southeastern Conference (SEC) football championship. The team finished the season ranked No. 3 in the AP poll, the team's highest ever ranking up to that time. However, the SEC refused to allow the Gators to play in the Sugar Bowl; LSU went in their place. Two weeks after the end of the season, the NCAA slapped the Gators with two years' probation (a third year was later suspended) and banned them from bowl games and live television in 1985 and 1986. The most damaging sanction in the long run, however, was a limit of 20 new scholarships in 1985 and 1986, and a reduction to 85 total scholarships in 1985 and 75 in 1986. [12] Nonetheless, the Gators were crowned national champions by several minor polls, including that of The New York Times . Hall was named the Associated Press Coach of the Year [13] and university president Marshall Criser named him the permanent head coach at the end of the season. [8]

On May 30, 1985, the SEC university presidents voted 6–4 to vacate Florida's 1984 SEC title and make the team ineligible for the conference title during the upcoming 1985 and 1986 seasons because of the rule violations committed under Pell, overturning an executive committee ruling that allowed the Gators to keep their 1984 title. The decision drew much anger from Criser and Gator players and fans due to its retroactive nature. [14]

Despite the sanctions, Hall's 1985 Gators would again go 9–1–1 on the field and tie for the SEC lead with a 5–1 conference record, but could not claim the conference title because of NCAA and SEC probation. [11]

1986 to 1989 seasons

The 1984 and 1985 seasons are remembered as "Best in the SEC" years for Florida football. However, Hall's subsequent Gators teams were hamstrung by the severe sanctions imposed for violations under Pell. The most damaging sanctions in the long run were scholarship restrictions that severely limited the team's recruiting; Hall's first two recruiting classes only had 25 players. [15] The sanctions began taking their full effect midway through Hall's tenure; between 1986 and 1989, Hall's Gators never won more than seven games in a season, and never won more than four games in SEC play. Even with the burden of the sanctions hanging over them, Hall's teams remained competitive; they never suffered a losing season overall and only had one losing SEC record. Hall's teams typically featured a powerful rushing attack (especially with record-setting running back Emmitt Smith) and strong defense. [11]

Interim university president Robert A. Bryan forced Hall's resignation in the middle of the 1989 season during another investigation of possible NCAA rule violations. The new allegations were primarily related to Hall paying several of his assistants out of his own pocket (violating an NCAA rule that capped salaries, a rule later found to be in violation of federal antitrust laws) as well as paying the legal expenses related to the child-support obligations of one of his players, allegations that he still denies. [15] [16] The NCAA ultimately slapped the Gators with two years' probation, and banned them from bowl consideration for the 1990 season. It deemed Hall's alleged violations serious enough that it would have kicked the Gators off live television during the 1990 season as well had school officials not forced Hall's resignation. [17] Hall has not been hired as a college head coach ever since—and indeed, wouldn't return to the collegiate ranks again in any capacity for 15 years—prompting later employer Joe Paterno to call him "a good coach who got screwed". [15]

Professional coaching

Orlando Thunder (WLAF)

Hall continued his coaching career in 1991 as the offensive coordinator of the Orlando Thunder, a charter franchise of the new World League of American Football (WLAF), where he was reunited with former Florida Gator quarterback Kerwin Bell. Hall was promoted to head coach in 1992 and coached the Thunder to an 8–2 record and a berth in World Bowl II, for which he was named WLAF coach of the year. The Orlando franchise folded after the season along with all WLAF teams in North America. In 1994, Hall coached the Charlotte Rage of the Arena Football League to a 5–7 record, and a spot in the playoffs.

Rhein Fire

From 1995 to 2000, Hall served as head coach for the Rhein Fire, a new franchise of NFL Europe, which was a reconfigured WLAF consisting exclusively of teams based in Europe. Hall won two NFL Europe championships (1998 and 2000) and two coach of the year awards with the Fire and was the second-winningest coach in WLAF/NFL Europe history with forty-four victories.

Orlando Rage

In 2001, Hall returned to coaching in the US where he was named head coach of the XFL's Orlando Rage. The Rage boasting a league-best 8–2 regular season record and Hall was named XFL Coach of the Year. [18]

The XFL after a single season, and in 2002, Hall joined the staff of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys as running backs coach, where he was reunited with former Florida Gator running back Emmitt Smith.

Penn State

In late 2004, Hall returned to his alma mater, Penn State, to become the offensive coordinator and running backs coach under head coach Joe Paterno, who had been an assistant coach at Penn State during his college days. The Nittany Lions were coming off of consecutive losing seasons, but finished the 2005 slate with an 11–1 record and a share of the Big Ten Conference title behind a much-improved offensive attack. They would win nine games in 2006 and 2007, and won the conference title in 2008 with another 11–1 record, earning a trip to the Rose Bowl and fielding one of top offenses in college football. [19]


Paterno was ousted late in the 2011 season due to fallout from the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. Though Hall had no connection to the scandal, new head coach Bill O'Brien opted to replace Paterno's entire coaching staff, including Hall. In 2015, Hall and some of Paterno's other former assistant coaches filed suit against Penn State, claiming that the school did not fulfill their employment contracts by stopping payment on their severance packages. [20]

After leaving Penn State, Hall retired to Groveland, Florida. [21]

Head coaching record


YearTeamOverallConferenceStandingBowl/playoffs Coaches#AP°
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference)(1984–1989)
1984 Florida 8–05–01st*ineligible73
1985 Florida 9–1–15–1T–1st ‡5
1986 Florida 6–52–4T–7th
1987 Florida 6–63–36thL Aloha
1988 Florida 7–54–3T–4thW All-American
1989 Florida 4–12–1
Florida:40–18–121–12 [11] * SEC championship vacated.
‡ Ineligible for SEC title, bowl game and Coaches' Poll
Total:40–18–1 [22]


TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
ORT 1992 820.8001st in N. American East Div.11.500Lost World Bowl II to Sacramento Surge; WLAF Coach of the Year
RHE 1995 460.4005th in league---
RHE 1996 370.3006th in league---
RHE 1997 730.7001st in league11.500Lost World Bowl V to Barcelona Dragons
RHE 1998 730.7001st in league201.000Won World Bowl VI over Frankfurt Galaxy; NFL Europe Coach of the Year
RHE 1999 640.6003rd in league----
RHE 2000 730.7001st in league101.000Won World Bowl VIII over Scottish Claymores; NFL Europe Coach of the Year
42280.60052.7142 League Championships; 3 Coach of the Year Awards
CHR 1994 570.4173rd in East---
ORR 2001 820.8001st in Eastern Div.01.000XFL Coach of the Year
Total55370.59853.6252 League Championships; 4 Coach of the Year Awards

See also

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  1. 1 2 "Collected Wisdom: Galen Hall," The Oklahoman (March 1, 2009). Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  2. "Hall Aerials West to 33-19 Victory". January 8, 1962. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  3. "Galen Hall Career Game Log".
  4. "GALEN HALL, LION IN WINTER". Sun Sentinel.
  5. Larry Guest, "Hall's head coach, Carr says." The Evening Independent, p. 1-C (November 16, 1984). Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  6. 1 2 Mike Bianchi, "JoePa gets a big boost from former Gator coach Galen Hall Archived October 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine ," Orlando Sentinel (October 17, 2008). Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  7. 1 2 Jack McCallum, "Gatorgate May Be The Real Gatoraid," Sports Illustrated (November 19, 1984). Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  8. 1 2 Pat Dooley, "Ex-Gator coach Hall deserves respect," The Gainesville Sun (December 29, 2010). Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  9. "Galen Hall, who was named the temporary replacement for..." UPI. September 18, 1984. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
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  11. 1 2 3 4 5 2012 Florida Football Media Guide Archived May 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine , University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 112 & 116 (2012). Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  12. 1985 infraction report
  13., Penn State Football, Galen Hall Profile. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  14. Associated Press, "SEC Presidents swipe Florida of football title," Times Daily, p. 5B (May 31, 1985). Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  15. 1 2 3 Donnie Collins, "PSU's Galen Hall recalls Florida days," The Scranton Times-Tribune (December 31, 2010). Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  16. Associated Press, "Florida Football Coach Quits," The New York Times (October 9, 1989). Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  17. 1990 Florida infractions report
  18., "Galen Hall named XFL Coach of the Year." (April 19, 2001). Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  19. NCAA, Football, Bowl Subdivision (FBS) National Team Report: Total Offense. Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  20. Falce, Lori (October 8, 2015). "Galen Hall, Dick Anderson sue Penn State over unpaid wages". Centre Daily Times. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  21. Poorman, Mike (January 21, 2016). "Penn State Football: Tracking Down the 38 Coaches Since 2011". Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  22., College Football, Coaches, Galen Hall Coaching Record Archived August 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved May 4, 2011.