PHILADELPHIA - After 21 seasons and nine Ivy League championships with the University of Pennsylvania football team, quarterbacks coach Larry Woods officially announced his retirement on Wednesday.
"It's just time," said Woods, who has coached the top six passers in Penn’s 137-year history. "I've been fortunate to be around some great people; both coaches and players, and I've thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Penn. It's my home. In a rather transient occupation, to stay at one place for this long is rare and I've been fortunate to be a part of nine championships in 21 years. I would like to think that I had some small impact on those championships and on the lives of my players. I tried to help shape them, impart some bit of wisdom and knowledge, and develop them both as quarterbacks and, more importantly, men. It can't get any better than that."
"After a very long and accomplished coaching career I would like to express my appreciation to Larry for all he has done for our football program," said head coach Al Bagnoli. "I will certainly miss his friendship, professional insight and coaching expertise. We would like to wish he and his wife Sally the very best moving forward."
Woods has mentored a string of record-setting quarterbacks since 1995. Of the nine 2,000-yard single-season passing performances in Penn history, eight have come under Woods. His most recent protege was three-time Ivy League champion and two-time All-Ivy honoree, Billy Ragone, who posted the fifth-best offensive season in school history with 2,284 total yards in 2011 and ranks in the top five all-time at Penn in career completions, completion percentage, total touchdowns, passing touchdowns, passing yards and all-purpose yards.
Woods’ success tutoring the Quakers’ signal callers was never more evident than in the case of Mike Mitchell, as his prodigy was named the 2003 Ivy League Player of the Year. Mitchell passed for a Penn-record 26 touchdowns and the third-most yards in a season (2,470), leading the Quakers to their second-straight Ivy title and third in four years. In 2002, Mitchell earned first-team All-Ivy honors and posted the second-best single season by a quarterback in program history with 2,803 passing yards and 20 touchdowns.
Prior to that, quarterback Gavin Hoffman rewrote the Penn record books in three seasons, setting new marks for single-game, single-season and career records. Hoffman also became Woods’ first NFL product, as the 2000 Ivy League Player of the Year signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2002. Before Hoffman, Matt Rader threw for 2,026 passing yards and 172 completions during the 1998 campaign. Mark DeRosa, a 16-year Major League Baseball veteran, was an early star under Woods’ tutelage, passing for 2,053 yards in 1995.
Woods earned his degree at St. John’s in 1982, and began his collegiate coaching career at North Carolina in 1983. Woods arrived at Penn for his first stint as tight ends coach in 1988 before heading to Brown from 1990-93. Woods came back to Franklin Field for good in 1994, resuming his role as wide receivers coach before taking over quarterbacks in 1995.