Head football coach Bill Clark announced nine members of his inaugural coaching staff on Thursday and most have ties to the first-year Jacksonville State head coach.
The offensive staff includes John Grass (Offensive Coordinator), Mike Bennefield (Offensive Line), Cornelius Williams (Wide Receivers) and Jimmy Ogle (Running backs) will be retained from the previous staff.
The defensive staff includes Duwan Walker (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties), Chuck Dunn (Inside Linebackers), Daric Riley (Outside Linebackers/Special Teams), David Reeves (Defensive Line) and Blake Shrader (Cornerback).
“We feel like we have put together a quality staff that will help us reach our goals of being very competitive on the field and winning championships,” said Clark. “I know each one of these coaches will work extremely hard and each one brings something special and unique to this team.”
Grass is a veteran high school coach who has served as the head coach at Ashville, Moody, Albertville, Spain Park and most recently at Oxford. Grass has a career record of 122-61 and posted a 41-17 record with four playoff berths in five-straight winning seasons at Oxford High School. He began his coaching career at Ashville as an assistant following his graduation from JSU in 1990, and also has served as an assistant at Eufaula and Hoover.
Bennefield was an assistant at Prattville High School for 11 years, which became a state power with Clark as its head coach. Bennefield spent the last two seasons as head coach at Slocumb High School, where he led the Red Tops to an 8-3 record his first year and 6-5 this past season and into the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs both years.
Williams coached at the University of North Alabama last season after spending the 2011 season at Murray State. Williams spent the 2010 season as a graduate assistant at South Alabama, where Clark was the defensive coordinator. Williams played collegiately at Troy, where he helped the Trojans to four Sun Belt Conference championships, and three bowl game appearances.
Ogle joined the Jacksonville State staff in 2000 and has coached running backs for the last 12 years. He helped the Gamecocks lead the Ohio Valley Conference in rushing four times including a 219.91 average in 2011 (13th nationally), a 188.8 average in 2009 (15th nationally), a 215.27 average in 2005 (17th nationally), and a 260.27 average in 2004 (sixth nationally). JSU also won three OVC Championships (2003, 2004, 2011) during his tenure.
Walker is a longtime colleague of Clark and the two have worked together since the fall of 1999, when Clark became the head coach at Prattville High School. Walker spent the last four years at South Alabama coaching the Jaguars’ secondary alongside Clark. At PHS, he worked for two years as defensive backs coach before being elevated to the defensive coordinator in 2001. The Lions posted a 107-11 (90.7 percent) record during his tenure with the Lions with a pair of state championships.
Walker, a four-year letterman at Troy from 1992-95, served as a graduate assistant at Troy in 1997, working the defensive line for one season before helping defensive backs the next.
Dunn joins the Gamecocks after serving as defensive coordinator at Charles Henderson High School in 2012, his second stint with the Trojans. He spent six seasons on Clark’s staff at Prattville High School, before working on the defensive side of the ball at South Alabama under Clark. He then was the defensive coordinator at Oxford High School in 2011 under Grass.
Riley has spent the last 14 seasons coaching on the collegiate level, including the last two at Newberry College. He was a graduate assistant at Clemson for four years, working with defensive ends, linebackers, secondary and special teams, and he coached the secondary and coordinated special teams at Truman State from 2004-06. He began his career on the first-ever football staff at Pikeville College, and also has coached at Fairfield and Charleston Southern.
Reeves was the secondary coach at UT Martin in 2012, after coaching the five previous years at Southern Arkansas, where he was the defensive coordinator for his final two years. Reeves was a graduate assistant at the University of Alabama (2005-06) and was the defensive coordinator at Athens High School from 2000-05.
Shrader spent the last three years under Clark at South Alabama as a defensive graduate assistant, where he worked with the cornerbacks. He worked with the secondary at Auburn University from 2008-10 as a defensive assistant at his alma mater. He earned three letters as a player for the Tigers and made three straight bowl appearances.
Clark is expected to add additional coaches and staff members later this month.