Kennesaw State football coach Brian Bohannon hired his defensive coordinator Tuesday, tabbing Brian Newberry, who held the same position last season at Division II Northern Michigan University.
Bohannon announced the hiring during the Kennesaw Business Association’s monthly luncheon.
“After interviewing several guys, and talking to some more, I just thought he would fit in with this group of (coaches),” Bohannon said.
In his one year at Northern Michigan, Newberry helped the Wildcats to a 4-7 record — a two-game improvement over the previous season.
Like the other assistant coaches hired to the Owls’ staff, Newberry has ties to football in the South, but unlike the other assistants, he had no previous relationship with Bohannon.
It was another one of Bohannon’s relationships that may have made all the difference.
“The big connection was a good friend of mine is the head coach up at Sewanee (Tommy Laurendine), and he called me raving about (Newberry) — about him as a coach, as a person — and said the kids just loved him,” said Bohannon, who added that he had no one in mind for the defensive coordinator’s job when KSU hired him in March. “(Laurendine) said, ‘You have to hire him. He’s just like you.’”
Newberry said he was happy at Northern Michigan and really wasn’t looking to change jobs, but when Laurendine told him about the position at Kennesaw State, he submitted his resume.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity,” Newberry said Tuesday night from his home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “People want to work with people they know and trust. (Coming to KSU) felt like a good natural fit.”
Before arriving at Northern Michigan, Newberry spent one season as the defensive coordinator at Division III Sewanee (Tenn.). He was defensive backs coach at Elon (N.C.) from 2007-11, where his 2009 team finished fifth in the Football Championship Subdivision in pass defense.
Newberry’s time at Elon was preceded by five years at Washington and Lee University, a Division III program in Lexington, Va. He was the defensive backs coach for two seasons before becoming the Generals’ defensive coordinator. His 2004 defense produced a school-record 43 sacks and ranked among the Division III leaders in rushing defense.
Newberry has also made stops as an assistant at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and at Southern Arkansas.
“I think he’s ready to settle down and be here for a while,” Bohannon said.
Newberry, who will officially start his new job Monday, said he wasn’t sold on the opportunity until he came to campus for his interview. But he said he liked the vision Bohannon and Kennesaw State athletic director Vaughn Williams had for the program.
“(Williams) said he was looking for someone that was willing to help the school and become a part of the community,” Newberry said. “I liked that.”
Newberry graduated from Baylor University with the bachelor’s degree in education and played defensive back for the Bears, helping lead them to a co-championship in the Southwest Conference in 1994.
With the addition of Newberry, that brings the Owls’ first coaching staff to six. Bohannon previously hired offensive coordinator Grant Chesnut, A-backs coach Tim Glanton, quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Gilliland and assistant coach Liam Klein. Also assisting with the program is director of football operations Jay Bailey.
With Newberry’s hiring, Bohannon said this will be the staff doing the recruiting in the fall.
“We won’t hire anymore coaches until after the first of the year,” Bohannon said. “That intrudes too close to the beginning of the new season, and coaches are already on campus preparing for the fall.”