Joe Lorig, a veteran of 22 years in collegiate coaching, has been hired as the new special teams coordinator and defensive assistant at Penn State, head coach James Franklin announced Thursday.

Lorig spent the last three seasons as the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at Memphis, where the Tigers finished in the top five twice in FBS in kickoff returns and in the top 20 defending kickoffs all three seasons.

In the 2017 season, Memphis’ Tony Pollard returned four kickoffs for touchdowns. Lorig also coached current Eagles kicker Jake Elliott, who was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2016.

Lorig was hired on Jan. 8 to be special teams coordinator at Texas Tech under new head coach Matt Wells but elected to move on to Penn State to replace Phil Galiano, who left last week to take a position on the New Orleans Saints’ coaching staff.

Franklin, who worked with Lorig on the Idaho State staff in 1999, said the program conducted a “comprehensive study” of special teams coordinators before hiring Lorig.

“We identified Joe as the best candidate,” he said. “His special teams units have a history of being among the best in the country and we know he can continue his success here.”

Lorig, who is from Edmonds, Wash., said he was “very appreciative of the opportunity” to join the Nittany Lions.

“Penn State is a program with outstanding players, coaches and tradition,” he said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Franklin and his entire coaching staff.”