Dave Van Halanger, who followed coach Mark Richt from Florida State, was removed as Georgia’s 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.
“My goal is to be a strength coach,” Van Halanger said. “I’m a good strength coach. I want to be a strength coach again sometime. I will work tremendously hard at whatever I need to do. I love working with kids. I love working with the kids at Georgia.”
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.
“I understand him and he understands that I’m going to do everything I can to help,” Van Halanger said. “Mark wanted to make a change. I’m going to be assigned to other duties and I’m going to work very hard at it.”
Van Halanger, 57, was strength and conditioning coach under Bobby Bowden at Florida State for 18 years from 1983-2000 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.
“I know God has a plan for me and me family,” Van Halanger said.
Tereshinski, also 57, was a two-year starter at center for Georgia from 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.
“Joe has had a hand in Georgia’s strength and conditioning program for nearly 30 years,” Richt said in a statement. “I’m excited about what he can bring to our program in this capacity and the direction he’ll set as we move forward.”
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.
“Dave has made immeasurable contributions to our football program and been a major factor in our 96 victories over the last 10 years,” Richt said. “This 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.”
Former Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran, now with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, called Van Halanger a positive influence who kept the team focused on its goals and cared about players.
“I’m sure he’s still going to be around and still going to be involved,” Curran said Thursday.
Curran said Tereshinski ran players through 5:45 a.m. discipline runs.
“He’s really sold out for this program and I’m sure he’s going to do the best job that he can to make sure that our guys are prepared once the season rolls around,” Curran said. “He’s from that old school.”
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’s 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 past 20 years. He retired from the university this past summer.
Van Halanger was known for the early morning “mat drills” offseason conditioning program he brought from Florida State, but the Bulldogs’ 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’ six losses were by an average of five points.
Asked if he was surprised by the change, Van Halanger said: “You heard so many stories. I go to work every day. I just work. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy people. I don’t listen to negative. I’m 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.