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INSTITUTE, W.Va. — West Virginia State University (WVSU) has announced the hiring of John Pennington as the school's new Head Football Coach.

wvsu john penningtonPenningtonPennington has served as the Yellow Jackets' Offensive Coordinator for the past two seasons and was the offensive line and special teams coach in 2010. He has been the interim head coach since December following the resignation of Jon Anderson, who left to become head coach at the University of Sioux Falls.

Under Pennington's direction, WVSU moved from next to last in the Mountain East Conference (MEC) in total offense in 2014 to third in 2016. The Yellow Jackets led the conference in passing in 2015 and were second in 2016 when starting quarterback Matt Kinnick missed several games due to an injury.

A Charleston native, Pennington was a star football and baseball player at George Washington High School and played wide receiver for West Virginia University.

 "Since becoming the Interim Head Coach, I have been blown away by the pride and passion of our alumni, faculty, and fans," he said. "We are going to build a Championship Program that develops young men into extraordinary leaders."

"I am blessed to be able to stay home, raise my family here, and have a positive impact on the community I was raised in."

"I am looking forward to seeing what our young men can accomplish on the field, in the classroom, and in the community under Coach Pennington," WVSU Athletic Director Nate Burton said. "After a nationwide search it became obvious that he was the right person for the job."

The Yellow Jackets posted a 3-8 record in 2016 but ended the season winning their final two games. The program returns eight starters on offense and 10 on defense for the 2017 season.