A record-setting quarterback at Nebraska, Joe Ganz is in his fourth year as a member of Youngstown State coaching staff. In 2018, Ganz assumed duties as the Penguins' quarterbacks coach.
Working with first-time starter Montgomery VanGorder and veteran Nathan Mays, YSU had a versatile offensive attack. VanGorder was named to the MVFC's All-Newcomer squad following year that saw him complete 149-of-277 yards for 1,934 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also rushed for 209 yards and a score. At Western Illinois, VanGorder broke three long-standing single-game school records. Against the Leathernecks, he completed 33-of-57 passes for 418 yards and three touchdowns. The school marks for pass attempts and yards had stood since 1969 while the completions record last just 10 years. In three of the first four games, VanGorder had three touchdown passes.
Mays came on late in the year to help spark the offense. He threw for 304 yards while rushing for 223 yards playing just four games after being limited by injuries. Mays rushed for more than 58 yards in three of his four contests and had a career-best two touchdown passes at Illinois State.
Ganz spent two years as the Penguins' tight end coach before working with the quarterbacks for the first time in 2018.
One of the more memorable catches of the 2016 College Football season came in the FCS playoffs and it was by a YSU tight end.
Kevin Rader's one-handed game-winning TD catch with one-second left in the semifinals at Eastern Washington received huge popularity on social media and was the top play on ESPN's Sports Center that night. The network selected the catch as the No. 6 play for the entire 2016 College Football season.
On the year, Rader and fellow tight ends Shane Kuhn and Jacob Wood combined for 28 receptions. While Rader caught a TD pass in the national semifinals, Kuhn had a touchdown reception in the National Championship Game against James Madison.
The unit was key in a rushing attack that had a pair of 1,000-yard rushers and amassed a school-record 3,883 yards. YSU averaged 242.7 yards rushing per game, the most by the program since 2001.
In 2017, a veteran group of Kuhn, Rader, Anthony Parente and newcomer Chris Durkin provided the offense with more versatility. Rader, an honorable-mention All-MVFC selection, caught a career-best 22 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. The four players combined for 25 receptions on the season and Kuhn added five rushing attempts. As blockers, the Penguins offense averaged 222.5 yards rushing per game and tailback Tevin McCaster went over 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career.
Rader's 22 catches were the most for a Penguins tight end since 2012. In April, Rader signed as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers and participated in their complete fall training camp.
Ganz had strong ties with Head Coach Bo Pelini prior to joining the YSU staff. He spent four years in various roles, including the final two as a graduate assistant on his staff at Nebraska. Ganz played quarterback for Pelini for two seasons as well.
As a graduate assistant, he worked with the quarterbacks and offensive coordinator Tim Beck. Beck is now the offensive coordinator at Texas. In 2013 and 2014 he worked with the quarterbacks after serving as a football intern and graduate manager in 2010 and 2011.
Ganz was the starting quarterback for the Huskers during Pelini's first two years in Lincoln.
Although he had to wait until the latter half of the 2007 season for his chance to shine, Ganz ended his career setting 23 Nebraska school records.
He established Husker records with 510 passing yards, 528 yards of total offense and seven passing touchdowns against Kansas State in 2007 in only his second career start. Two weeks later he threw for 484 yards at Colorado. Ganz also holds Nebraska game records for pass completions (36 at Texas Tech in 2008), attempts (58 at Colorado in 2007) and total offense attempts (64).
A native of Palos Heights, Ill., Ganz holds Nebraska season records for passing yards, yards per game (274.5), completions (285) and total offense, all set during his senior year in 2008. That season, Ganz completed 67.9 percent of his passes while throwing for 3,568 yards and 25 touchdowns. His 25-touchdown passes were the second most in school history. He added 258 yards on the ground with five rushing touchdowns. Ganz finished his career second in school history in passing yards (5,125) and touchdown passes (44).
Ganz threw for more than 300 yards five times in 2008, and topped that number eight times in 16 career starts. In 2008, Ganz also showed his dual-threat ability. He ran for 258 yards and five touchdowns on the season, including 95 yards and two touchdowns at Kansas State.
A team captain in 2008, Ganz was also named the Huskers’ MVP and capped his career by being named the MVP of the 2009 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl as Nebraska defeated Clemson.
He earned his degree in business administration from Nebraska in December of 2008. He was named to the program's 2008 Brook Berringer Citizenship Team.