Ja’Juan Seider isn’t Penn State football’s longest-tenured coach.
But he’s up there.
Head coach James Franklin has been in State College since 2014.
Of Franklin’s first coaching staff, only cornerbacks coach/associate head coach Terry Smith is still there amongst PSU’s 10 position coaches and coordinators. Of the other nine, Seider is the next longest-tenured. He and Smith are the only ones that coached their first game under Franklin at Penn State before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seider started at Penn State in 2018 as the running backs coach, a position he still holds.
Before the start of last season, Seider became a co-offensive coordinator.
Before the start of this one, he became an assistant head coach.
Seider is almost midway through his sixth season at Penn State, and he’s had chances to go elsewhere. After the 2021 season, Seider, a Belle Glade, Florida native, was linked to openings at Florida and Florida State.
The 46-year-old told reporters via Zoom Thursday that he wants to be a head coach one day, but also made it clear that it would take quite an opportunity for him to leave Penn State.
An assistant coach, being here six years is unheard of in a lot of places,” Seider said. “So I’m appreciative of that. I’m appreciative of Penn State and coach Franklin… I really enjoy my time here. I mean, this place is special. We all know, when you can come in and it’s 110,000 people behind you on gameday. A lot of times, you have to not take things for granted. I think a lot of times, we get impatient. We feel like we have to do this, we have to go there, we have to go here.”
Seider said he’s turned down “a lot of opportunities” to stay at Penn State.
“Because I don’t think you just leave Penn State for anything.”
Seider feels Franklin is “the greatest example” of what being a head coach is, and is grateful to be working with him every day.
“To me, those things are important,” Seider said.
Seider also loves State College and loves being able to coach without “all the distractions of being in a city and just doing the other things that other people do.
“It’s also a great place where you can raise your family,” Seider said, “feel comfortable that you can go home and they feel safe, feel welcome. So all the things as a coach and where you want to raise your family, I get that here at Penn State. So I’m enjoying my time here.”
It doesn’t hurt that Seider’s coaching one of college football’s best teams and oversees one of the best running back duos in the country in sophomores Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen.
At 5-0 and No. 6 in the country, Penn State is seen by many as a national championship contender.
To no surprise, Seider sees PSU the same way.
“We can win it all here at Penn State,” Seider said, “and that’s all you want to do as an assistant coach is be at a program where you feel like you really can win it all, and I know I feel like we could here.”
Seider is a young guy for the coaching profession, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Based on that it isn’t likely that Penn State will be the final stop on what’s been a 16-year journey coaching college football.
If that ends up being the case, though, Seider wouldn’t be upset.
“If Penn State’s the last place I go and finish my career,” Seider said, “I’m okay with that because it’s been a hell of a ride.”