Georgia Tech director of player personnel Liam Klein and Shane Bowen, a former Georgia Tech player who most recently served as a graduate assistant at Ohio State, were hired in yet-to-be-determined capacities.
All three of the new assistants had previous ties to Bohannon.
Chesnut, who spent the last two seasons as the football coach at Central High School in Carrollton, played his college football at Georgia Southern, the final two seasons with Bohannon as an assistant under Paul Johnson.
That, and the opportunity to coach at the collegiate level with someone he sees eye-to-eye with was what brought Chesnut to Kennesaw State.
“Grant and I see things the same way,” Bohannon said. “He’s a relentless worker and great at communication with his players. He’s what we want as a member of the staff because he wants his players to be successful in life as well as on the football field.”
Chesnut has held several positions on the high school level since completing his playing days Georgia Southern in 1998. He worked on the staffs of Pickens (1999), Thomasville (2002-04) and Camden County (2005-06) before settling in for three seasons as offensive coordinator Mary Persons. Chesnut also has two years of college experience, coaching the defensive line at Presbyterian College from 2000-01.
Chesnut arrived at Central in 2011, inheriting a 0-10 team, and in two years, he rebuilt the Lions’ fortunes and took it to the playoffs.
While Chesnut is well versed in the triple-option offense Bohannon expects to implement at Kennesaw State, it’s not the same offense he ran at Central.
“The (triple-option) game as a player allowed me to win championships,” Chesnut said, “but we’ve been more of a wing-option team because it was what was best for our kids to be successful. When you come into a situation, like we did as a coach, our job was to maximize the talent of our kids and set them up for success.”
Chesnut will begin recruiting with Bohannon next week, looking to find the players that will best fit Kennesaw State’s system, but that might not be the biggest challenge he faces this year.
Not having a team to coach this fall may be.
“It’s going to be incredibly difficult to wait (a year-and-a-half) to get on the grass,” Chesnut said. “This will be the first time since I was 7 that August wasn’t planned out for me, but it’s something I’m going to have to work through.”
Klein and Bowen each worked with Bohannon at Georgia Tech.
Klein spent 11 years on the Yellow Jackets’ staff, the last seven as the director of player personnel. He will help with recruitment, as well as the establishment of Kennesaw State’s summer camps.
The Smyrna resident also has two years of coaching experience in the Football Championship Subdivision. He coached outside linebackers and safeties for Harvard in 2002, and the defensive line for Lafayette in 2001.
Bowen was a linebacker at Georgia Tech from 2006-09 and spent the 2010 and ’11 seasons with the Yellow Jackets as a graduate assistant. He spent the 2012 season in his home state of Ohio, as a graduate assistant on Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State.
Bohannon said his goal was to have three coaches in place by April 22 so the Owls could effectively recruit during the NCAA’s evaluation period, which lasts from mid-April until the end of May. He wants to have his 10-member coaching staff completed by August.