BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Samford head football coach Chris Hatcher recently announced several changes to his coaching staff for the 2020 season.
Several changes were made on both sides of the ball. New faces on defense will be Defensive Coordinator Nick Benedetto, Defensive Tackles Coach Alex Garcia and Linebackers Coach Kevin Corless. Returning on the defensive side will be Kynjee Cotton (defensive ends) and Darius Eubanks (defensive backs).
Offensively, Derrick Sherman, who coached the wide receivers last season, will serve as offensive coordinator and coach the running backs. Ricky Turner has been promoted to assistant head coach, and he will continue to serve as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Mitch Stewart has been added to the staff to coach the wide receivers and Mack Helms has been hired to coach the offensive tackles. Shawn Bostick returns as the team’s offensive line coach.
Benedetto spent the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator at his alma mater, the University of Sioux Falls. During his three seasons in charge of the defense at USF, the team compiled a record of 24-11. In 2019, Benedetto’s defense ranked fourth in NCAA Division II in total defense and his 2017 defense ranked second. In his three seasons in charge of the unit, Benedetto’s defense gave up just 15.6 points per game.
Prior to his time at Sioux Falls, Benedetto spent time as the defensive coordinator at West Virginia State (2013-16), as the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator at Grand View University (2012) and as the safeties coach at South Dakota (2009-12).
Garcia spent the last season as the defensive line coach and equipment coordinator at the University of Sioux Falls. At USF, Garcia coached three All-Conference players and one Academic All-American.
Before coming to Sioux Falls, Garcia was the defensive line coach and assistant strength and conditioning coordinator at Montana Tech from 2015 to 2018. He also served as the defensive line coach at Midland University from 2013 to 2015, and as the defensive intern at Elmhurst College from 2011 to 2013.
Corless comes to Samford from Army, where he served as the inside linebackers coach from 2014 to 2019. He helped lead the Black Knights from a 2-10 season in 2013 to averaging nearly 10 wins a season over the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons, earning 29 wins. The 2018 team won 11 games, the most in school history.
Prior to his time at Army, Corless was the co-defensive coordinator at Georgia Southern in 2013, and served as the Eagles’ linebackers coach in 2012. He was the defensive coordinator at Arkansas State in 2009-10, and the co-defensive coordinator from 2002 to 2008. He also served on the staffs at Northwestern State (1998-2001), Montana Tech (1986-95) and Northwest Missouri State (1984-86).
Stewart was the head coach at Murray State from 2015 to 2019. During his time in charge of the Racers’ program, Stewart led K.D. Humphries to becoming the program’s all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass attempts and pass completions.
Prior to being the head coach at Murray State, Stewart served as MSU’s offensive coordinator under Hatcher from 2011-14, and as the program’s wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator in 2010.
Helms comes to Samford after serving as an offensive analyst at UNC Charlotte during the 2019 season. He worked specifically with the offensive line, and assisted with all phases of special teams. Helms helped the 49ers to the program’s first bowl appearance last season.
Prior to coming to UNC Charlotte, Helms served as an offensive graduate assistant at Tulane and East Carolina. He assisted with both the offensive line and tight ends at both stops.
2020 SAMFORD FOOTBALL COACHING STAFF
Chris Hatcher – Head Coach
Derrick Sherman – OC/Running Backs
Mitch Stewart – Wide Receivers
Shawn Bostick – Offensive Line
Mack Helms – Tackles/Assistant OL Coach
Ricky Turner – Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach
Nick Benedetto – Defensive Coordinator
Alex Garcia – Defensive Tackles
Kynjee Cotton – Defensive Ends
Kevin Corless – Linebackers
Darius Eubanks – Defensive Backs Coach