Monday, March 17, 2014

UNC-Pembroke Promotes Williams to DC Job

PEMBROKE – UNC Pembroke football head coach Shane Richardson announced Saturday morning that assistant coach O.C. Williams, who has served the last seven seasons as the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator for the Braves, has been promoted to the defensive coordinator position.
While in Pembroke, Williams has been integral in developing one of the nation's most elite total defenses, while also helping UNCP register some of the nation's best recruiting classes as the program's recruiting coordinator. Williams fills a void left on the coaching staff when Richardson accepted the head coach position last month.
"O.C. has been very loyal to this staff and has put in a great amount of work over the last seven years at UNCP," Richardson said. "He brings a great defensive knowledge to the table, and also has a great feel for what we stand for as a program and fits very well into our model of success. He continues to learn and grow as a valuable member of this staff, and now has a great opportunity to step into the role of defensive coordinator. I'm really looking forward to having him as a part of our staff as we take this program to the next level."
Williams, a 14-year coaching veteran, has been at the helm of one of the nation's most outstanding pass defenses over the last seven years. The Black & Gold ranked 26th nationally in pass efficiency defense en route to its first playoff appearance in 2009 and, this past season, boasted one of the region's top pass defense teams to key a run to the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs.
The Black & Gold also showed one of its best special teams packages this past season – one that ranked among the nation's top 20 teams in kickoff (24.18 yards/return) and punt (14.35) returns. UNCP also ranked 45th among the nation's 169 NCAA Division II squads in net punting average (35.06 yards/punt) as well.
A native of Lexington, Miss., and a four-sport athlete at McClain High School, Williams began his collegiate playing career at Holmes C.C. in Goodman, Miss., before matriculating to Alcorn State for the 1999 and 2000 campaigns. After graduating with his bachelor's degree in general studies from ASU in 2001, he continued his academics and later earned his master's in secondary education from the institution in 2005.
Williams coached at Alcorn State (graduate assistant) in 2001, East Mississippi Community College (2004) and McPherson College (2005-06) in Kansas before trekking to Pembroke in 2007. He and his wife, Tasha, currently reside in Lumberton.

Georgetown's Wharton Impresses at Showcase Combine

WASHINGTON – Senior linebacker Dustin Wharton (LaVale, Md./Allegany) has made a habit of standing out during his four-year career on the Hilltop. Whether it has been his record-breaking exploits in the weight room or the display of power and speed on the field, teammates, coaches and opponents have noticed his playmaking capability. So it comes as little surprise that Wharton’s performance at the BSN Collegiate Showcase’s 2014 National Scouting Combine has begun to earn him attention, as he looks to move to the next level.
At the combine, Wharton, who set national powerlifting records as a teen, showed his strength, completing 30 reps in the 225 pound bench press, more than all but one linebacker and three linemen in a group of over 80 professional football hopefuls.
Wharton showed off his speed with the fastest 40 yard dash time at the combine, finishing in 4.47. He also proved one of the most agile, turning in a 4.06 in the shuttle, the third best time, behind a pair of cornerbacks. He put his explosiveness on display with a 40’ vertical leap, tied for third in the entire field, while his 10-5 broad jump was the second best at the combine.
“Dustin has been the hardest working athlete I have ever had the pleasure of coaching,” Sports Performance Coach Carl Johnson said. “His attitude and work ethic has been infectious and inspired everyone else to become stronger and more consistent in their training.  I wasn't surprised on his combine stats, because those are the numbers he's been putting up for the last three years.  He has demonstrated that strength is the key ingredient to being a more explosive faster and powerful athlete.”
Wharton has also provided the on-field credentials during his career on the Hilltop. The 2013 Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year is also a two-time Patriot League First Team selection, while moving into third place in career tackles (280) during his senior season. His versatility on the field has allowed the Hoyas’ coaches to move the 6-0, 216 pound athlete between outside linebacker, safety and defensive end.
“I’ve never coached a more versatile, more explosive athlete than Dustin Wharton,” said Georgetown Head Football Coach Rob Sgarlata, who served as the Hoyas’ defensive coordinator through Wharton’s career. “Goal line he played safety, first and second down he’d play linebacker and third down he would rush the passer. He has an unparalleled work ethic and just as a person, the work he’s done in this community has been tremendous.”  
But his impressive combine performance may have created enough of a stir to help Wharton get to the next level, wherever teams eventually want to play move him on the field.
“To be honest I am not too sure what position teams want me to play at the next level,” Wharton said.  “I’ve heard safety, nickel, linebacker, etc., so I just feel I have to be prepared for anything; which hasn’t been too different with all the positions I played here at Georgetown.  But, I have heard all great things and some definite interest that hopefully develops more as I continue this process.  I am just trying to take it one step at a time, be teachable and coachable, while taking care of the stuff that I can take control”
His impressive combine performance comes as a result of years of hard work. Growing up in a competitive family and having a passion for the weight room instilled in him from his father, Tim and older brother Tyler, a former fullback at Towson, Wharton’s strength and work ethic are well-documented. Though it has been put on display more than ever, as he has had to ramp up his training regimen while taking 18 credits in the classroom during his final semester. Though he has not let fatigue creep in, using the competitive aspects of the combine to push him to higher heights.
“My training has been harder and more efficient than ever, and I have been giving it everything I have to show the numbers that I am capable of producing,” Wharton said. “I think when you’re out there and you got all of these competitors out there, it does give a little extra adrenaline to you.  And me, being the competitor I am, I want to show that I am the best.”
After his impressive showing, Wharton has attracted more attention, but feels like his work is far from done. He will participate in a Pro-Day at Towson on April 7 for another opportunity to show professional scouts what he is capable of doing. Until then, Wharton will continue to train and prepare for an opportunity to play at the next level.
“I think working out for the Georgetown season, I kind of knew what to expect, how to train, and things like that,” Wharton said. “But for the professional level, I feel I have to be ready for anything.  I am training in different ways than I ever have before—focusing in on speed, explosiveness, and flexibility.  Strength Coach Carl Johnson and my speed coach Justin Kavanaugh have been crucial parts to my training and I feel especially confident with their expertise. It’s also great working out with other guys that are in the same situation as I am, ultimately, trying to make a name for themselves.”
 Dustin Wharton Highlights (Preview)

Willaim & Mary Sends 12 to CAA All-Academic Team

RICHMOND, Va. (March 17, 2014)—After excelling both on the field and in the classroom, 12 William and Mary football players have earned Colonial Athletic Association Academic All-Conference Team distinction.
The list of Tribe players honored includes: running back Mikal Abdul-Saboor, punter/place kicker John Carpenter, quarterback Brent Caprio, defensive tackle Jasper Coleman, offensive lineman Matt Crisafi, offensive lineman Nick Easter, wide receiver Zach Fetters, center Andrew Jones, cornerback Ryan Smith, right guard Trevor Springman, defensive back Frank Tamakloe and fullback Andrew Weidinger.
To be eligible for the CAA Football Academic All-Conference Team, a player must be a starter or important reserve and hold a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher (on a 4.00 scale) for his entire academic career.

Missouri State Announces Pro Day, Spring Football Start Day

SPRINGFIELD -- A select handful of former Missouri State University football players will have the opportunity to impress National Football League scouts and team personnel on Wednesday, March 19, when they participate in a series of speed, agility and strength tests at MSU's annual "Pro Day" at Plaster Field.
The NFL Pro Day series puts NFL staffs on the road throughout the month of March to scout talent up close and personal on college campuses. The evaluative events give NFL Combine participants an opportunity to improve their times and marks, while providing a venue for under-the-radar players to demonstrate their skills and make a name for themselves prior to the May 8-10 Draft and subsequent free agent signings.
The Bears hope standout defensive linemen Anthony Grady, Martin Montgomery, C.J. Randall and Tevan Ferguson, as well as defensive backs Sybhrian Berry and Howard Scarborough, can make favorable impressions on the NFL scouts in attendance.
MSU assistant coach Sean Coughlin, who coordinates the Springfield event each year, noted that a handful of additional players from surrounding universities are also expected to test their efforts against the pro stop watches and measuring tapes. After private testing and weight-room skill portions of the evaluations, the Pro Day festivities will move outdoors to Plaster Field at approximately 10:30 a.m., for various on-field metrics.
The Bears held their inaugural Pro Day in 2010 when All-America tight end Clay Harbor improved on his NFL Combine time in the 40-yard dash and parlayed his on-campus performance into a fourth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2011, offensive lineman David Arkin upped his stock at Pro Day and jumped to a fourth-round selection by the Dallas Cowboys on draft day. Five other former Bears -- Kolby Hurt (Saints), Jake Duron (Jets), Jermaine Saffold (Browns), Chris Douglas (Bills) and Randy Richards (Chargers) -- all turned enough heads at Plaster Field over the last three years to garner NFL free agent contracts with their respective clubs.
The outdoor portion of the Pro Day testing at Plaster Field is open to the public.
Missouri State is scheduled to begin spring drills on March 31.

D2 Notes: Southern Arkansas Spring Game Upcoming

MAGNOLIA, Ark. – The Southern Arkansas football team is in the final week of their spring practice slate and they are set to conclude it all with their annual intra-squad spring game scrimmage, which is scheduled for Thursday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Wilkins Stadium.
Admission will be free to the game and everyone in Magnolia and the surrounding communities are encouraged to come and get their first look at what the Muleriders will look like next fall.
In 2014, the Muleriders will be coming off of consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the 2002 and 2003 seasons after they finished 6-4 this past fall.

Fans in attendance will be able to get their first look at the possible front-runners to fill several key positions that were voided at the conclusion of the 2013 season. A few of the marquee holes that will need to be filled this fall are at the quarterback, running back, and linebacker positions as the Muleriders lost their record-setting quarterback and running back as well as two First-Team All-GAC linebackers

Spring Practice Begins at North Carolina Central

DURHAM, N.C. – On Tuesday, March 18, North Carolina Central University football head coach Jerry Mack will make his O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium debut when his squad takes the field at 4 p.m. for the first spring practice.
Mack is encouraging fans to attend Tuesday’s opening practice session to get an early glimpse of the team as the Eagles prepare for the 2014 gridiron season.
The four-and-a-half week spring practice schedule will culminate with a “Maroon vs. Gray” Spring Football Game on Friday, April 11 at 6 p.m. under the lights of O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium. Admission to the spring game is free.
By: Kyle Serba
Associate AD Media Relations

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Eastern Washington Holds Pro Day

Eastern players perform for scouts in hopes of securing professional football opportunities
A total of 10 former Eastern Washington University football players took part in testing for professional football scouts at EWU’s annual Pro Day in Cheney, Wash.
Some of the players did not participate in all of the tests, which also included height, weight and other measurements. The former players are all hoping for possible professional football opportunities in the months ahead, and some will perform in other future tests and combines.
Eagle cornerback T.J. Lee III, a three-time first team All-Big Sky Conference selection and two-time All-American, had a 35-0 1/2 vertical jump and a 9-9 broad jump before skipping most of the running tests. In January, Lee played in the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Collegiate Bowl.
Defensive lineman Andru Pulu (pictured) skipped most of the tests, but was impressive in the bench press with 28 repetitions of 225 pounds. Tight end Zack Gehring matched Lee’s impressive mark of 35-0 1/2 in the vertical jump.
Former Eagle skill players took center stage in the running tests, with cornerback Ronald Baines recording the fastest 40 time of 4.50. Wide receiver Ashton Clark ran the 40 in 4.52 and had the best 20-yard shuttle time of 4.18.
Cornerback Bo Schuetzle, a 2009 graduate of Spokane’s Shadle Park High School, had the fastest time in the cone drill of 6.91 seconds, and also had a 4.54 40 time and was impressive in the bench press with 20 reps.
Running back Demitrius Bronson turned in a 4.54 time in the 40. Anthony Larry, who finished his Eastern career with 11 1/2 sacks from his defensive end position, had the second-fastest 20-yard shuttle time of 4.27.
Offensive lineman Steven Forgette had an impressive 33-inch vertical jump, and also had 21 repetitions in the bench press.
The 10th former Eagle who took part concluded his Eastern career in 2012 – linebacker Zach Johnson. Johnson, whose twin brother Matt Johnson plays for the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, also performed in limited tests. However, he had the best vertical jump of 36 inches, the best broad jump of 9-11 and matched Pulu’s mark of 28 repetitions in the bench press.
EWU Pro Day – March 12, 2014 
Vertical Jump
Broad Jump
Bench @225
40 Dash
20 Dash
20-yd Shuttle
60-yd Shuttle
Cone Drill
5-8 1/4
35-0 1/2
DL Andru Pulu
DL Anthony Larry
6-2 1/4
32-0 1/2
OL Steven Forgette
6-3 1/4
WR Ashton Clark
5-10 5/8
CB Ronald Baines
5-9 7/8
CB Bo Schuetzle
TE Zack Gehring
6-2 1/2
35-0 1/2
RB Demitrius Bronson
5-9 3/4
33-0 1/2
LB Zach Johnson
6-0 3/8

D2 Notes: Gannon Hires Thompson as DC/DB Coach

By: Gannon Athletics
ERIE, Pa. - John Thompson has been named the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Gannon University it was announced Thursday afternoon by head coach Brad Rzyczycki.

Thompson brings 18 years of collegiate coaching experience to Gannon, including nine seasons as a defensive coordinator. He becomes a Golden Knight after spending the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at St. Vincent (Pa.) College. His defensive backs earned all-conference accolades four times during the last two campaigns.

"Coach Thompson is a great addition to the Gannon football staff," said Rzyczycki. "In addition to being a player's coach, his defensive coordinator resume speaks for itself. Coach Thompson is also a great fit for Gannon University as a recruiter. He understands and embraces the mission of Gannon University. We're extremely happy to have him join our family."

Thompson helped St. Vincent (Pa.) earn a berth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Southwest Bowl with a 6-5 record in 2011 after the Bearcats went 3-7 the previous season. Under Thompson's leadership, the 2011 Bearcat defense led the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) in scoring defense (17.1), pass efficiency defense (103.2) and interceptions (18). St. Vincent also ranked second among conference teams in total defense (286.4) and rushing defense (106.7). In the process, St. Vincent established new school records in those five categories.

The Rome, N.Y., native previously spent four years (2007-10) as an assistant coach at Mercyhurst. He began his Laker tenure as the recruiting coordinator, special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach in 2007. He then assumed the defensive coordinator role from 2008-10. In 2010, Mercyhurst won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title, captured the ECAC Lambert Cup, was named ECAC Team of the Year and made its first-ever NCAA Division II national playoff appearance. Under Thompson's guidance, the defense unit surrendered only 286 yards per game and fewer than 13 points during seven different contests. The Laker defense ranked among the top 20 nationally in total defense during each of his three years as the defensive coordinator. His defensive student-athletes earned all-conference accolades 18 times during his tenure.

Thompson spent six years (2000-05) at NCAA I-AA (presently Football Championship Subdivision) Sacred Heart prior to his stint at Mercyhurst, serving as the team's defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach from 2000-05. Sacred Heart produced a perfect 11-0 record in 2001, winning the Division I-AA mid-major national hampionship.

His coaching resume also includes a two-year stop at St. Francis (Pa.) where he served as the linebackers and defensive backs coach, as well as the recruiting coordinator. He started his coaching career at his alma mater Marist, where he was an assistant coach in 1996 and 1997. Thompson's defense led the country in total defense (212.0) and rushing defense (48.0) in 1997.

Thompson graduated from Marist in 1994 with a degree in Business Administration. He was a four-year letterwinner for the Red Foxes. A member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Thompson resides in Erie with his wife Sarah (Kovach) and son Ryan Richard (1).

UCLA Adds To, Changes Future Non-Conference Schedules

By: UCLA Athletics
UCLA has added a home-and-home series with both Texas A&M and San Diego State to its future football schedules and shifted the years of a previously-scheduled series with Rutgers, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero announced today.

The series with SEC power Texas A&M will begin in 2016 with a Sept. 3 matchup in College Station, Texas, UCLA's first-ever visit to Kyle Field. The Aggies will visit the Rose Bowl on Sept. 2 to open the 2017 season.
UCLA’s series with Big Ten opponent Rutgers, previously scheduled for 2016 and 2017, will now be played on Sept. 5, 2020 at the Rose Bowl and Sept. 11, 2021 in Piscataway, N.J. The Bruins and Scarlet Knights have never faced each other.

UCLA will host Mountain West Conference foe San Diego State at the Rose Bowl on August 31, 2019 and will travel to San Diego to face the Aztecs on Sept. 19, 2020.
Within the last six months, UCLA has also announced a home-and-home series with Oklahoma in 2018 and 2019 and with Michigan in 2022 and 2023.

"Facing tough non-conference competition is a necessity with the new playoff system beginning this year," said Guerrero. "We are excited to add home-and-home series with both Texas A&M and San Diego State to a future schedule that already includes a traditional Big Ten/Pac-12 series with Rutgers."
UCLA and Texas A&M have met four previous times, with each team winning twice. The Bruins won the most recent matchup in the 1998 Cotton Bowl, 29-23, coming back from a 16-0 deficit to defeat the Aggies behind the play of quarterback Cade McNown. The other three matchups between the two teams have all taken place in California. UCLA won the most recent one, 21-0, at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1955, and Texas A&M won the first two in the series, 7-0 in 1940 and 21-14 in 1951.

UCLA holds a 21-0-1 overall record against San Diego State, with 19 consecutive victories. The teams last played in 2009, with UCLA winning at the Rose Bowl, 33-14.

Sept. 5 - Virginia
Sept. 12 - at UNLV
Sept. 19 - Nevada

Sept. 3- at Texas A&M
Sept. 10 - UNLV
Sept. 17 - at Nevada

Sept. 2 - Texas A&M
Sept. 9 - Hawai’i
Sept. 16 - at Memphis

Sept. 1 - TBD
Sept. 8 - at Oklahoma

Aug. 31 - San Diego State
Sept. 7 - TBD
Sept. 14 - Oklahoma

Sept. 5 - Rutgers
Sept. 12 - TBD
Sept. 19 - at San Diego State

Sept. 4 - TBD
Sept. 11 - at Rutgers
Sept. 18 - TBD

Sept. 3 - TBD
Sept. 10 - at Michigan
Sept. 17 - TBD

Sept. 2 - Michigan
Sept. 9 - TBD
Sept. 16 - TBD

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Former Army Assistant Named DC at Georgetown

WASHINGTON – Georgetown University Head Football Coach Rob Sgarlata has named Luke Thompson as the team’s defensive coordinator. Thompson, who spent the last two seasons on the coaching staff at Army, returns to the Hilltop where he coached linebackers and special teams from 2006-2011.
I am very excited to have Luke back on the Hilltop,” Sgarlata said. “He will be a tremendous asset to our program.  He is an excellent football coach and even better person. He has a proven track record as a detail oriented communicator who relates well to his players.”
In his new role, Thompson will oversee the Hoyas defense, while also coaching the team’s linebackers.
During the last two seasons, Thompson served on Head Coach Rich Ellerson’s staff at Army, as the special teams’ coordinator in 2012 and 2013. In addition to special teams’, Thompson also coached fullbacks in 2012, when Army led the nation in rushing. 
At Georgetown, Thompson helped turn the program around during his six seasons serving as linebackers coach and special teams’ coordinator. Defensively, Thompson mentored the top-two tacklers in Hoyas' history in All-American Robert McCabe and Nick Parrish. During his tenure, he guided the Hoyas' special teams to six top 20 finishes in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision statistical rankings, including two top-five performances. In 2011, the Hoyas' kickoff return unit ranked 13th in the nation with a 23.63 yards-per-return average, while the punt return team was 15th in the country at 12.44 yards per return. Thompson mentored Jeremy Moore, who finished as the leading kick-returner in GU history, to first-team All-Patriot League honors as a return specialist. Under his guidance, kicker Brett Weiss earned second-team all-conference accolades. Weiss tied for eighth in the nation with 1.45 field goals per game in 2011. 
Prior to Georgetown, Thompson coached the outside linebackers at Harvard. While there, he helped the Crimson to a 10-0 record and the Ivy League championship in 2004. Harvard limited its final six opponents to 14 points or less, including two shutouts. The team gave up only one touchdown in the last three games of the season.
Thompson served as an assistant coach at Amherst College for two seasons in 2002 and 2003. His duties with the Lord Jeffs included coaching the inside linebackers and coordinating the team's video operations.
He also spent two spent two seasons, 1999 and 2000, as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator with Holy Cross in his hometown of Worcester, Mass. Thompson began his coaching career in 1998 as the offensive line and tight ends coach at Bowdoin College in Bruswick, Maine.
Thompson, a Worcester, Mass. native earned two letters in football at Assumption College, where he graduated in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in foreign affairs and economics. He and his wife, Kristin, have two children, Madelyn and Luke.

Monmouth Names Kevin Morris As New OC

Greg Viscomi
Asst. Athletics Director
Communications & New Media

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- Monmouth University Head Football Coach Kevin Callahan has announced the hiring of Kevin Morris as Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach, effective immediately.
“I’ve known Kevin for a number of years and I’m excited to have him join our coaching staff at Monmouth. His many years of experience and his extensive knowledge of the quarterback position will be a great asset to our program. Kevin has recruited the state of New Jersey throughout his career and that will enhance our overall recruiting efforts. His experience not only as a coordinator but also as a head coach will be extremely beneficial.”

With nearly 30 years of experience coaching at the collegiate level, Morris has coached five different teams ranked in the top-20 and was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach when The University of Massachusetts played in the 2006 FCS National Championship game.  Additionally, the Westfield, N.J. native has coached 17 players who have joined the ranks of the National Football League and his offenses have set over 50 school records.

“I think it’s a great time to be a part of the Monmouth football program’” said Morris. “I’m really excited to be working with Coach Callahan, who I’ve known for many years, and his staff. Monmouth is an excellent University both academically and geographically and obviously with the move to the Big South the football program will continue to gain prominence. Being a New Jersey native, I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Morris most recently served as the offensive coordinator at Yale for the past two seasons.  Eight different Bulldogs earned All-Ivy League honors during his time in New Haven, including first team selections Deon Randall (WR) and Tyler Varga (RB).

Prior to his time at Yale, Morris was the Head Coach at the University of Massachusetts from 2009 to 2011. During that span he led the Minutemen to a number of high profile wins, including an upset of No. 4 New Hampshire in his first season as head coach. While at the helm at UMass, the program produced its highest NFL Draft pick in more than 40 years as All-American offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse was selected in the second round by the New York Jets. Five other UMass seniors from the class of 2009 signed as NFL free agents for 2010 training camps.

For the five seasons prior to being named head coach, Morris was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach of the Minutemen during one of the most heralded runs in program history. During that five year span UMass had a 69.3 winning percentage, including wins in 30 of 40 CAA contests and a pair of conference championships. Under Morris’ tutelage the Minutemen offense set more than 40 school and individual records, had 36 all-conference selections and featured a pair of Walter Payton Award Candidates in quarterback Liam Coen and running back Steve Baylark.

Under Morris, UMass developed a high-powered offense averaging nearly 30 points and 400 yards of total offense per game over his five seasons. All-American quarterback Liam Coen set nearly every passing record in school history and graduated among the top 15 passing leaders in FCS history in yards and completions. After his senior season, Coen was first among all active passers in FCS in terms of touchdown passes and second in passing yards, completions and attempts.

From 2000 to 2003 Morris was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Northeastern University where he led one of the top offensive attacks in the Atlantic 10 Conference. During his time with the Huskies, Northeastern broke 24 school offensive records and in 2003 led the A-10 in total offense (431.8 ypg) and ranked second in scoring offense (34.5 ppg).

Morris first became a head coach in 1993 when he took over the reins at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he first served as an assistant coach from 1988-90. Morris led the Engineers to a Freedom Football Conference Championship in his first season and would go on to coach a total of six seasons (1993-1998) at WPI before leaving for a one-year stint at Stony Brook in 1999.

A 1986 graduate of Williams College, where he played quarterback and was a pitcher on the Ephs’ baseball team, got his start coaching at the University at Albany for the 1986 and ’87 seasons.

Morris takes over for Scott Van Zile who left to take a position at Elon after 14 years with the Blue & White.

Monmouth football begins a new era in 2014, its first season in the Big South Conference. The Annual Blue/White Spring game is slated for April 27, while the 2014 opener is at home against Delaware State on August 30. 

Follow Monmouth football on twitter @MUHawksFB.


Monday, March 10, 2014

D2 Notes: Chadron State Opens Spring Football On March 29th

By: Chadron State Athletic Department

CHADRON - More than 90 Chadron State College football players are expected to begin their preparations for the 2014 season when the Eagles open spring football practice Saturday, March 29.

Following the opening session at 10 a.m.; the Eagles will have 14 additional practices, culminating in the annual spring game Saturday, April 26 at 10 a.m.

Third-year head coach Jay Long, who guided the Eagles to an 8-3 record and a second place finish in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2013, is excited spring ball is right around the corner. Long is also glad his team is taking advantage of Chadron State's new weight room. The 6,250 square foot strength and conditioning center opened in November 2013 and Long said the football team has improved because of it.

"We're ready for spring ball and I have a great feeling about this group of Eagles," Long said. "Our coaching staff has done a great job of taking advantage of our new weight room facility and helping each player become stronger and faster. The team has taken a lot of ownership in that room and they're putting in the effort they need to be putting in to succeed."

Forty-eight letter winners and 12 starters return to the Eagles in 2014. A majority of the returning starters are on defense, including All-RMAC safety Lane Haller and linebacker Dylan Furrier, and RMAC Defensive Freshman of the Year Ryan Wood.

The remaining defensive starters returning are both cornerbacks - Conor Casey and Jordan Jones - and three defensive linemen - Kyle McCarthy, Dillon Breinig and Zach Sandstrom.

The returning offensive starters in 2014 are quarterback Jonn McLain and offensive linemen Mike Lorenzo, Sam Parker and Daniel Sotelo. Both McLain and Parker were named to the All-RMAC team in 2013.

The Eagles also return punter Zach Smith and placekickers Randy Wentz and Alex Ferdinand.

"I'm confident with the leadership we have coming back that 2014 will be another banner season for Chadron State," Long said. "Our goal for the spring is always the same and that's we want to prepare our younger players take the next steps to compete as Eagles. I know our veterans will show them how to do that. And, of course, we will continue to improve on our schemes both defensively, special teams, and offensively."

Long said all practices are open to the public. Practice days and times follow.

Spring Practice
March 29 at 10 a.m.
March 30 at 10 a.m.
March 31 at 4 p.m.
April 4 at 4 p.m.
April 5 at 10 a.m.
April 6 at 10 a.m.
April 7 at 4 p.m.
April 11 at 4 p.m.
April 12 at 10 a.m.
April 13 at 10 a.m.
April 14 at 4 p.m.
April 16 at 4 p.m.
April 21 at 4 p.m.
April 25 at 4 p.m.
April 26 at 10 a.m.

D2 Notes: Concordia-St. Paul Hires New OC

By: Josh Deer,
Concordia-St. Paul
Assistant AD, Communications
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Concordia-St. Paul head football coach Ryan Williams has announced the hiring of Mike Shafer as offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

Shafer joins the Concordia football staff after three years as offensive line coach at Northern State University, a Northern Sun (NSIC) member. He had also spent 10 seasons as an offensive assistant at North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS).

"I could not be more excited to hire Mike Shafer," explained Williams. "He possesses all of the qualities I was looking for in the position: he's well-rounded, experienced, has coached every position, has coordinating experience, can coach offensive line at a high level, has conference familiarity, and has dealt with all recruiting experiences. Most importantly, he is a great person."

While at Northern State, the Wolves finished 4-2, 5-2 and 3-4 in the NSIC North Division in his three years as he coached six All-NSIC offensive linemen.

"I am very excited to join the Concordia football program," said Shafer. "I have followed them for the last five years and have always been impressed with the type of team that shows up on the field. I look forward to bringing excitement and adding additional offensive schemes to an offense that can be very explosive."

"I have known Coach Williams for a long time and was very impressed with the way he approached me for the hiring of this position," Shafer continued. "The football staff here at Concordia is fantastic. I can't wait to start working with them and move the Golden Bears to the next level."

Shafer's experience at NDSCS grew from an offensive assistant to five years as offensive coordinator before being named assistant head coach for the Wildcats in his final four seasons with the program. While with the Wildcats, Shafer worked with the special teams, wide receivers, quarterbacks & running backs, offensive line and passing game coordinator before earning the offensive coordinator position.

In his final season with the Wildcats in 2010, the offense ranked 23rd in the nation under Shafer as it racked up 371.4 yards per game while averaging 6.0 yards per play and 33.9 points per game.

In Shafer's four years as assistant head coach at NDSCS, he developed 10 players into Division I signees. He coached or recruited nine All-Americans and 42 All-Region players in his tenure at NDSCS.

The Bismarck, N.D. native played collegiately at North Dakota State University and the University of Mary. While at U-Mary, Shafer was an All-Conference running back before graduating in 1999. He also earned a master's degree from NDSU in 2007.

Mike and his wife Jennifer have one son, Payton.

Monmouth Football Promotes Two to Assistant Head Coach

By: Greg Viscomi,
Monmouth Assistant Athletic Director: Communications and New Media

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- Longtime Monmouth  football assistant coaches Brian Gabriel and Jeff Gallo have been elevated to the title of Assistant Head Coach, Head Coach Kevin Callahan announced recently.

“Brian and Jeff have made significant contributions to the program for a number of years,” said Callahan. “Brian is an excellent football coach who has done a terrific job with our offensive line and in his role as our recruiting coordinator, he is integral to one of the most important facets of our program. Jeff has been a valuable part of the Monmouth program since his playing days here. He has been involved of every aspect of our program and is an outstanding on-the-field coach and recruiter.

The two coaching mainstays have been on the sidelines for all three of Monmouth’s 10-win seasons, three conference championships and helped guide the Hawks into one of the most exciting times in program history as MU moves to the Big South Conference in 2014.

Gabriel begins his 11th season as the offensive line coach on Callahan’s staff and his seventh as the Hawks’ recruiting coordinator. Last season, behind the same starting front five, Monmouth was the only FCS team and one of two Division I teams in the nation with a pair of 1,000 yard rushers. During his time at Monmouth he has coached 20 all-conference selections along the offensive line, including a five-year stretch in which the Hawks averaged at least two all-conference selections per season. As the head of Monmouth's recruiting efforts, Gabriel is responsible for organizing recruiting weekends and coaching staff areas along with the creation and distribution of MU's printed materials. Monmouth’s most recent recruiting class is widely regarded as one of the best in the program’s 22 year history.

Gallo, an all-conference offensive lineman for the Hawks from 2000-2003, has been a member of Callahan’ staff since the 2004 season. Serving as Monmouth’s tight ends coach since the 2007 season, the position has seen unparalleled growth under his direction. MU’s three starting tight ends during his tenure have rewritten the Hawk record book, beginning with John Nalbone who became the first Hawk selected in the NFL draft after the 2008 season. Tyler George (2009-12) set the school’s record for reception yards by a tight end and NFL prospect Mike McLafferty recently completed his senior campaign by setting MU TE records for single season reception yardage, career 100-yard receiving games and the single game receiving yardage record.

Monmouth football begins a new era in 2014, its first season in the Big South Conference. The Annual Blue/White Spring game is slated for April 27, while the 2014 opener is at home against Delaware State on August 30

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Georgetown's MacZura Heads to Senior Scout Bowl

By: Ryan Sakamoto
Georgetown SID
WASHINGTON –Georgetown football’s season-ending victory over Holy Cross on November 23, signaled the final time many of the team’s 24 seniors would put on a football uniform. For punter/placekicker Matt MacZura (Cranberry Twp., Pa./Central Catholic), the invitation to play in the Senior Scout Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C. provided one final opportunity to represent the Hoyas on the field.
For some of the Division I FCS prospects that received invitations, the week-long combine that culminated in a North vs. South game was an opportunity to impress professional scouts from a variety of pro leagues. But MacZura has already accepted a position as an Associate Sales Representative for Oracle Corporation near Boston, the opportunity was much more about savoring what could be his final football opportunity and sharing it with his family and friends.
“Not all of my family was there for my last game against Holy Cross, so they all came down to Myrtle Beach for this,” MacZura said. “My girlfriend was there, Charlie Dann, my roommate for the last four years was there and my family, especially my Mom and Dad were there.  They have made a lot of sacrifices to watch me play and have actually made sure that at least one of them has been at every single one of my collegiate games, so really the best part was getting a chance to play one more game and have everyone there.”
During his four-year career on the Hilltop, MacZura has etched his name into most of the football program’s career punting and placekicking top-10 lists, stabilizing the team’s punt unit from his first day on campus, finishing fifth in program history in yards per punt (36.4), while spending his final two seasons as the placekicker, where he had the fourth best field goal percentage in team history (.640). Though with the North roster, MacZura shared reps with several other kickers and punters, trying to pick the brains of his counterparts. 

“It was a great experience,” MacZura said. “The talent level in Myrtle Beach was tremendous.  I was really honored just to be selected and be on the field with the other players. I also got to spend some time with family away from everything and meet guys that we played against from Brown and Marist and some guys from the south that you don’t see during the season.”

The atmosphere was far different from typical game week preparations at Georgetown, but MacZura noted that everyone’s competitive edge eventually shined through.

 “Our last walk-through was on the beach in Myrtle Beach, so we got to get out there in bare feet and our jersey,” MacZura said. “Obviously it was much more relaxed, a much more light-hearted spirit than a Georgetown game, but at the same time we really wanted to win. There was definitely a little rivalry with the south thinking they were better than the north.”

During the game, he found himself in a new role, serving as the holder on his team’s first extra point, an experience he noted as being more nerve-racking than his actual placekicking duties. When it came to kicking MacZura was just fine, converting a 38-yard field goal to tie the score for the North early in the third quarter, though a last second field goal would lift the South squad over MacZura’s North team.

Following the game, the feeling of finality for MacZura’s football career began to sink in.

“It was tough,” MacZura remembered. “I know at Holy Cross it didn’t really hit me as much, because I knew I had this game coming up, but it hit me in Myrtle Beach. I didn’t really want to leave the field. It was a great experience and I’m very thankful, but it was also kind of sad. It’s even hit me more in the weeks that have gone by that this isn’t something that you’ll get to do again, but I’m very thankful to have gotten a chance to play one more.”

As MacZura’s final spring semester on campus continues to move closer its eventual end with his May graduation, he spends his time continuing to do the things he has done over his four years on the Hilltop. He continues to work as the head official for intramural sports at Yates Field House in addition to finishing his coursework as a Healthcare management and policy major and health promotion and disease prevention minor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. The one thing missing has been the early morning workouts in the Hoyas winter training program in preparation for spring ball, starting on March 19. While some may not miss dragging themselves out of bed for grueling early morning workouts, MacZura has already begun to feel sentimental for years past.

“Georgetown football was one of the best experiences of my life,” MacZura said. “You don’t have that connection to work toward something and to work for a common goal. I’m still working out now, but it’s to get in shape. There just isn’t that bond with the guys and that sacrifice that you’re going for a common goal and that’s something that I’m going to miss.”

But as one chapter closes another begins, as MacZura. While MacZura begins his new job in early June, a few weeks after graduation, Georgetown football will never be far from his heart.

“I am definitely looking forward to coming back to some games next year,” MacZura said. “I would like to come back for Homecoming and I was hoping the Harvard and Holy Cross games were away so they would be close, but I will still likely try and make it to at least one other besides homecoming.” 

NOTES: Matt MacZura joins Nick Parrish and Jayah Kaisamba, as Hoyas who have played in the Senior Scout Bowl. 

D2 Notes: Stillman Releases 2014 Schedule

By: Stillman Athletic Department

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (March 6, 2014) - The Stillman Department of Athletics releases its 2014 football schedule with a calendar that includes a tough CIAA opponent, three in-state non-conference adversaries and a tough SIAC slate.

"The 2014 season will be a tough, but competitive one for us," said head coach Teddy Keaton. "From the beginning of the schedule to the end are teams that each present a different challenge. However, I do believe that we will be up for each one."

The season begins with the start of a new in-state "classic" as Stillman hosts West Alabama in "Tiger Bowl 2014 on September 6. The inaugural Tiger Bowl will mark the fourth time the two programs square off, with UWA currently holding a 3-0 series lead. The following Thursday, Stillman travels to Birmingham to take on the Samford Bulldogs, 2013 co-champions of the Southern Conference. The last time these two programs met was in 2011 when Samford downed Stillman 45-6 in Birmingham.

On September 20, Stillman welcomes St. Augustine's to Tuscaloosa looking to even the all-time series against the Falcons. The month ends with the opening of SIAC play as Stillman and Kentucky State meet at Stillman Stadium on September 27. Last season, Stillman left Frankfort with a 26-21 win over the Thorobreds and are currently riding a four-game series win streak against KSU.

"We are expecting the 2014 campaign to be special. With the good group of returning players along with a talented group of newcomers, we are hoping for good things to occur. However, we are not going to overlook anyone on our schedule, nor will we take anyone lightly. We are going to take each game one at a time, each play one at a time and look to be successful along the way," said Keaton.

The month of October features five games against SIAC Western Division foes. On October 4, Stillman will travel to Jackson, Tennessee to take on Lane College and look to rebound from last season's 27-28 loss at the hands of the
Dragons. The following week, Stillman will again take to the road, this time a trip to Columbia, S.C. to face the Benedict Tigers. Stillman has defeated Benedict the last three meetings and six of the last ten contests. On October 18, the Stillman campus will be alive as the Tigers welcome the Tuskegee Golden Tigers to Stillman Stadium. Following that contest, Stillman will take to the road for the third time in October as they travel to Wilberforce, Ohio for an October 25 game against Central State. The Tigers defeated a tough CSU squad 35-33 in Tuscaloosa with several big plays in the final minutes of regulation. The month ends with the annual renewal of the rivalry between Stillman and Miles. Stillman enters the game looking to avenge a one-point loss, 31-30, at the hands of the Bears in 2013.

"The SIAC portion of our schedule will be critical in 2014," said director of athletics Paul Bryant. "Each game should be tough for the programs on the field and enjoyable for the fans in the stands."

November opens with Stillman hosting Clark Atlanta for Homecoming 2014. Stillman defeated the Panthers 27-6 in 2013 and currently have a three-game win streak over the Atlanta-based institution. The season comes to a close on Saturday, November 22 as Stillman will again travel to Montgomery, Ala. for the Turkey Day Classic against Alabama State.

"Playing Alabama State was a good experience for us last season; we look forward to the challenge as we participate in this year's Turkey Day Classic," said Bryant.

Last season, the Tigers finished 6-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play.

2014 Stillman Tigers Football Schedule

September6West AlabamaTiger Bowl 2014Stillman Stadium3 p.m.

Birmingham, Ala.TBA

20St. Augustine's
Stillman Stadium3 p.m.

Kentucky State

Stillman Stadium3 p.m.

Jackson, Tenn.2 p.m.

Columbia, S.C.2 p.m. EST


Stillman Stadium1 p.m.

Central State

Wilberforce, Ohio1:30 p.m. EST

30Miles College
Fairfield, Ala.6 p.m.
November8Clark AtlantaHomecoming 2014Stillman Stadium1:00 p.m.

Alabama State
91st Turkey Day ClassicMontgomery, Ala.TBA