The new Jacksonville State football coach announced his staff Thursday amid weeks of speculation and confirmation and most of them have been by his side at other coaching venues.
The new staff is headed by former Oxford High School coach John Grass (offensive coordinator) and former South Alabama secondary coach Duwan Walker (defensive coordinator/safeties).
The rest of the offensive staff announced Thursday includes Slocomb High head coach Mike Bennefield (offensive line), North Alabama assistant Cornelius Williams (wide receivers) and JSU holdover Jimmy Ogle (running backs).
The rest of the defensive staff includes defensive staff includes Charles Henderson High assistant Chuck Dunn (inside linebackers), Newberry assistant Daric Riley (outside linebackers/special teams), UT Martin secondary coach David Reeves (defensive line) and South Alabama defensive assistant Blake Shrader (cornerbacks).
Grass is Clark’s former JSU roommate; they coached together at Ashville. Many of the others have ties to Clark at either South Alabama or Prattville. Riley and Reeves worked at numerous Clark camps and clinics.
“I talk to the players about being a family, and that’s how you build it,” Clark said. “Any time you can get guys whoyou know their believes and where they’re coming from, you can’t put a price tag on that.”
Speaking of price tags, JSU athletics director Warren Koegel said Clark was afforded a little deeper salary pool for assistants than former coach Jack Crowe, but would not be specific.
Clark is expected to add additional staff in the coming weeks. The FootballScoop website reports Alabama assistant Jody Wright – a former JSU student assistant – will join the staff as running backs coach/recruiting coordinator, moving Ogle to tight ends coach. Clark would not confirm the report.
“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.”