Dave Van Halanger, who followed coach Mark Richt from Florida State, was removed as Georgia‚Äôs strength and conditioning coach on Thursday after 10 seasons.
Joe Tereshinski, a former Bulldogs player who has been on staff since 1982, will replace Van Halanger effective Jan. 1, according to Georgia.
Van Halanger said Richt informed him Thursday during a meeting that he was being reassigned to a position as administrative assistant to Richt.
‚ÄúMy goal is to be a strength coach,‚Äù Van Halanger said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm a good strength coach. I want to be a strength coach again some time. I will work tremendously hard at whatever I need to do. I love working with kids. I love working with the kids at Georgia.‚Äù
The news comes five days after Georgia finished a 6-6 regular season.
Van Halanger said he still needs to talk to Richt about whether he will continue as strength coach through the bowl game.
‚ÄúI understand him and he understands that I‚Äôm going to do everything I can to help,‚Äù Van Halanger said. ‚ÄúMark wanted to make a change. I‚Äôm going to be assigned to other duties and I‚Äôm going to work very hard at it.‚Äù
Van Halanger, 57, was strength and conditioning coach under Bobby Bowden at Florida State for 18 years from 1983-2001 and for five years before that at his alma mater, West Virginia, where he played offensive line.
He was inducted into the Strength and Conditioning Hall of Fame in 2003. He will have coached teams that have gone to 30 straight bowls.
‚ÄúI know God has a plan for me and me family,‚Äù Van Halanger said.
Tereshinski, also 57, was a two-year starter at center for Georgia in 1975-76. His father Joe Sr. played for Georgia as did his son Joe III, who was starting quarterback for part of the 2006 season.
Tereshinski has been an assistant strength coach since 1982 while also serving as assistant offensive line coach from 1982-84, administrative assistant to the coach Vince Dooley in 1985-86 and video coordinator since 1987.
‚ÄúJoe has had a hand in Georgia‚Äôs strength and conditioning program for nearly 30 years,‚Äù Richt said in a statement. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm excited about what he can bring to our program in this capacity and the direction he‚Äôll set as we move forward.‚Äù
Georgia said Van Halanger now will oversee and/or work with programs that will include character education, a new mentor program, former student-athlete development, and community service initiatives.
‚ÄúDave has made immeasurable contributions to our football program and been a major factor in our 96 victories over the last ten years,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúThis role for Dave will allow us to tap into many of his strengths that will be of great benefit to Georgia, to me, and most of all to our student-athletes in a very unique way.¬† He will be outstanding in working with and motivating our young people in these many areas that will bring strong guidance to them in their daily lives.‚Äù
Forner Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran, now with the NFL‚Äôs Tennessee Titans, Thursday called Van Halanger a positive influence who kept the team focused on its goals and cared about players.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm sure he‚Äôs still going to be around and still going to be involved,‚Äù Curran said.
Curran said Tereshinski ran players through 5:45 a.m. discipline runs.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs really sold out for this program and I‚Äôm sure he‚Äôs going to do the best job that he can to make sure that our guys are prepared once the season rolls around,‚Äù Curran said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs from that old school.‚Äù
John Kasay, strength coach under Dooley and the father of the Carolina Panthers kicker, will become an assistant strength coach, according to a source. Kasay played on Dooley‚Äôs first Georgia team in 1964 and after graduating in 1968 served as grad assistant, an offensive assistant and director of strength and conditioning over the next 20 years. He retired from the university this past summer.
Van Halanger was known for the early morning ‚Äúmat drills‚Äù offseason conditioning program he brought from Florida State, but the Bulldogs‚Äô strength program has drawn criticism in some corners the past couple of seasons as the Bulldogs lost their share of battles on the line of scrimmage.
Georgia struggled to finish out close games this season. Five of the Bulldogs‚Äô six losses were by an average of five points.
Asked if he was surprised by the change, Van Halanger said: ‚ÄúYou heard so many stories. I go to work every day. I just work. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy people. I don‚Äôt listen to negative. I‚Äôm not negative in any way, shape or form.”
This is the second straight December in which a significant staff change has occurred. Richt fired three defensive assistants including coordinator Willie Martinez after a 7-5 regular season in 2009.
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