Penn football Alumni Q&A: All-Ivy Quarterback Gavin Hoffman


As Penn football prepares for some strong competition at the Yale Bowl, we had the chance to speak with the legendary Ivy League quarterback, Penn’s own Gavin Hoffman, about this hectic part of the season. Hoffman broke Penn’s main passing records – those for yards, completions, attempts and touchdowns – after transferring to Penn from Northwestern in 1999. As a freshman at Northwestern, Hoffman started the entire season, including eight games against Big Ten teams.

He transferred to Penn because of a coaching switch at Northwestern but ultimately loved the time he spent at Penn quarterbacking the Quakers.

Daily Pennsylvanian: As Penn football’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, what is that feeling like when you return to Franklin Field and Penn in general?

Gavin Hoffman: [It] makes me miss the place and wish I was still in college!

DP: In what ways do you credit Coach Al Bagnoli with your successes while quarterbacking Penn?

GH: I always respected Coach Bagnoli for his professional approach to managing the team. He played no favorites, you were only judged on results. That atmosphere of accountability is new for lot of young guys coming into college, and I think that environment he fostered explains a lot of his sustained success at Penn.

DP: What was your favorite memory as a part of Penn football?

GH: Coming back to beat Brown after we were down 18 points with 4 minutes left.

DP: With the team in the middle of Ivy play, could you share your thoughts when you were going into these high pressure contests?

GH: I remember thinking that the Ivy League teams were generally equal in talent, so the winner was usually decided by the better prepared team and the one that rose to the occasion on that particular Saturday. Because the margin of victory in the Ivy League is so slim, I really enjoyed the week long process of preparing for the opponent and making sure my play was ready to peak on Saturday. The three hours on Saturday are just the public display of a week long effort.

DP: What about Penn football helped your decision to transfer?

GH: I had started at QB for Northwestern but was no longer having fun playing football. I came to Penn because I wanted to get back to enjoying football and got the sense that everyone was serious about football, but also had fun playing it. I was right.

DP: You’ve spent a lot of time in practice learning from defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Ray Priore. Coach Priore will be taking over Quaker football in 2015. What do you think of Priore as a coach and do you think that the team is in good hands during this transition?

GH: I am very happy for Ray, I don’t think it’s possible to find a better person in football. He has been very loyal to Penn and has produced all-time defenses in the Ivy League. He deserves this spot and will be a great new leader for Penn Football.

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