Home ESPN writer grades first-year CFB coaches: Low marks for Tech’s Pry, UVA’s Elliott

ESPN writer grades first-year CFB coaches: Low marks for Tech’s Pry, UVA’s Elliott

Chris Graham
virginia tech brent pry
Virginia Tech football coach Brent Pry. Photo courtesy Virginia Tech Athletics.

ESPN Senior Writer Adam Rittenberg offered his midseason grades for the 29 first-year FBS coaches on Thursday.

You had to scroll pretty far down the list to get to the grades for the two first-year coaches in the Commonwealth.

Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry got a D+ from Rittenberg, who had graded the hire of Pry, the former defensive coordinator at Penn State, a B+ when it was announced.

According to Rittenberg, the D+ is on a curve, because Pry inherited a bad roster, so not surprisingly, “the team is showing some growing pains, but it still has a chance to develop in the second half.”

tony elliott
Photo: UVA Athletics

Further down, near the bottom, was new Virginia coach Tony Elliott, one of three coaches to get the lowest grade given out by Rittenberg, a D.

Rittenberg noted the challenge for Elliott in taking over from the distinct style and approach of Bronco Mendenhall, “and many might have underestimated how difficult the transition would be for Elliott and his staff. Still, the Cavaliers’ offensive struggles are jarring.”

Yep, they are.

“Unlike many other coaches on the list, Elliott didn’t inherit a bare cupboard,” Rittenberg wrote. “Elliott still has time to turn things around, and he will have more of his own players in place next season. But the much-anticipated start to his head-coaching career has been very rocky.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].