Penn State Wide Receivers Coach Marques Hagans Shares Unique Bond With Allen Iverson

Penn State football may have found its long-term answer heading the wide receivers’ room with the addition of Marques Hagans to James Franklin’s coaches’ corner. However, Hagans’ connection to the one true “Answer” could bring a marquee Philadelphia staple to Happy Valley in the near future.

Before embarking on a 14-year NBA career highlighted by a Hall of Fame nod in 2016, Allen Iverson’s roots connected directly to the Nittany Lions’ newest positional mentor. Iverson and Hagans, despite their seven-year age difference, both grew up in Hampton, Virginia, and garnered unparalleled success on the hardwood and gridiron alike.

At Bethel High School, Iverson excelled as an All-State weapon, accounting for 34 touchdowns, 1,423 yards through the air, and another 781 yards on the ground as a junior in 1992. Shortly after, Hagans spent two campaigns generating exposure at Bethel, despite finishing his career at neighboring Hampton High School.

“A.I is someone who I grew up around,” Hagans said during his introductory press conference at Beaver Stadium. “He’s a few years older than me. We all played for the same rec league team, started off at the same high school, and he’s become a big brother to me.”

Although Hagans’ connection to Iverson displays the talent pool’s surface-level depth between Hampton and Newport News on Virginia’s southeast peninsula, the area formerly grew accustomed to producing top-notch high school products throughout the 1990s.

According to Iverson, Michael Vick, a Newport News native, is “from my neighborhood,” while former New Orleans Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks and one-time Oakland Raiders receiver Ronald Curry both carved out roles at Ferguson and Hampton High Schools, respectively.

But, between all the former superstars to hail from the Old Dominion, Hagans’ sons, Christopher and Jackson, have always admired Iverson the most — both on and off the court. 

“My kids look up to [Iverson],” Hagans said. “He’s always around them, always checking on them, so to have someone that arguably is one of the best players to ever play professional basketball be from your neighborhood and to be a big supporter of mine, that means a lot.”

While Hagans’ sons have hardly begun to play football competitively, Iverson’s role as an “uncle” has probably taught the aspiring athletes the importance of perpetual “practice”. In 2005, before the Eagles’ NFC Championship bout with the Falcons, Iverson told reporters that football was his “first love.”

As an honorary family member to the Nittany Lions’ newfound leader in the pass-catching unit, it’s now more likely than ever that the innovator of the modern point guard position could show face at Beaver Stadium next fall in support of his childhood pal.

“I would say he’s a really close friend,” Hagans said. “He’s like a big brother, and he does a really good job being the uncle to my two boys as well.”

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About the Author

Connor Krause

Connor Krause is a senior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania double majoring in journalism and business. He is a lifelong Penn State football and basketball fan and enjoys rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams. In his free time, Connor can be found playing golf or pick-up basketball. You can follow his Twitter and Instagram @ckrause_31.

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