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Sorting Famous Penn Staters Into Hogwarts Houses

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then you’ve always wondered what house you would be sorted into when you stepped foot into Hogwarts. The closest we Muggles can get is taking a quiz via Pottermore, the official website for all things Harry Potter.

But, this got us thinking — Where would some notable Penn Staters be placed if they had magic running through their veins? We put on our Sorting Hat and picked the most likely destination for several Nittany Lions.

James Franklin — Slytherin

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Slytherin does not equal bad. What it does mean is that people in Slytherin are cunning, daring, determined, and clever. This is a pretty accurate description for James Franklin.

Love him or hate him, he is willing to make some big swings to win a football game. Sometimes his calls are, shall we say, not amazing, but he isn’t being conservative. Yet, he also calls some plays that are actually very clever and work very well. That’s the true trait of a Slytherin.

John Harrar — Gryffindor

John Harrar is the ideal Gryffindor. He is tough, fiercely loyal, brave, and friendly. He would go to war for all of his teammates, which leads to them having his back. There is a reason that every coach Harrar has played under has called him the best leader they’ve ever coached.

Going into the transfer portal was a frightening but courageous move for Harrar. He owed it to himself to see what options are there. But because he loves Penn State so much, that loyalty won out in the end. No Penn State men’s basketball fan could say a bad word about Harrar. That, combined with his great leadership ability, makes him the perfect Gryffindor.

The Willard Preacher — Gryffindor

This may not be what people have in mind when they think of the Willard Preacher, but we think the fit is there. He’s gotta be pretty brave to stand in a State College tundra and speak his mind to thousands of students every day.

People tend to think that being a Gryffindor means you need to be a hero, but that isn’t true. Showing bravery, even if it is something you shouldn’t really be brave enough to do, is part of what makes them a Gryffindor. The Willard Preacher fits that, even if you think what he says may align more with the Slytherins.

Lara Spencer — Ravenclaw

This was the hardest one to sort, in our opinion. Spencer has a lot of qualities that would fit right in with the Hufflepuffs, yet we decided that Ravenclaw was her best fit.

The fact that she came from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, which is a top school for journalism majors, and is featured prominently on Good Morning America, pushed her to the blue and black. She has become a staple in her field while also embodying Ravenclaw traits of wisdom and wit. A great newscaster has both, and Spencer is just that.

Ty Burrell — Hufflepuff

How could one of America’s favorite TV dads not be a Hufflepuff? Burrell, the man behind Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy, is objectively a nice, friendly guy. He radiates kindness, from the character he plays on TV to the man in real life.

Burrell genuinely seems like the fun dad who would embarrass himself (and you) for a good laugh. But, he would also understand that everyone’s humor is different and would strive to make sure everyone felt comfortable with the jokes. He seems like a stand-up guy, and that’s what all Hufflepuffs try to be.

Micah Shrewsberry — Ravenclaw

Shrewsberry is an analytical thinker. Players have continuously complimented him on having one of the best basketball IQs that they have been around. This makes him a perfect fit for Ravenclaw.

To be a coach in the Big Ten, you need to know the sport inside and out. Shrewsberry has proved that with two stints at Purdue and a trip to the NBA under former Celtics coach Brad Stevens. In short, the man knows ball, and that knowledge will play a huge role in his team’s success. Who knows — maybe a Ravenclaw as head coach is exactly what is needed to put Penn State hoops over the edge.

Sue Paterno — Hufflepuff

Excuse our biases, but Sue Paterno is perhaps the nicest woman in the world. Because of that fact alone, she automatically gets to be a Hufflepuff. There is no one in State College who would dare say a negative thing about Paterno.

She really cares about Penn State, and Hufflepuffs are known for caring about what they love. She has been a staple in Happy Valley since anyone can remember, and her kindness is what makes her such a legend. Every time she speaks, we all listen. She would be the most iconic Hufflepuff in Penn State history.

The Nittany Lion — Slytherin

This is the boldest take that we have come up with, but we think it makes the most sense. The Symbol of Our Best would dawn the green of Slytherin at Hogwarts. His determination to make sure everyone has a fantastic time at Penn State events is unmatched, and it takes a daring person to crowd-surf in Beaver Stadium.

While he is nice like a Hufflepuff and brave like a Gryffindor, he shows more Slytherin traits than either of those two. He would actually make a great addition to the House, even though Gryffindor’s house animal is an actual lion. Appearances can be deceiving, and while the Nittany Lion may look like a Gryffindor, he has the heart of a Slytherin.

Bill Donovan — Hufflepuff

Donovan is the kind soul who greets everyone when they go to Blue Burrito and Slim Chickens in the HUB’s food court, making him the perfect Hufflepuff. If you don’t like him, you’d probably be the kind of person to side with Voldemort.


So, how well did we sort these Penn Staters? Did we fail miserably? Did we hit the nail on the head? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor," and yes mom, actually doing school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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