The Citadel Football, under the leadership of Head Coach Kevin Higgins, announced Wednesday the welcoming of four new coaches to the 2010 coaching staff. Included are new offensive and defensive coordinators.
Among the new hires is defensive coordinator Mark Collins, formerly of the University of Louisiana Monroe. Collins replaces former coordinator Isaac Collins (no relation) who left earlier this month to accept the head coach position at Widener University in Chester, Pa. Mark Collins, who spent one year coaching the Warhawk safeties, will be running the Bulldog defense, while also coaching the linebackers. “Mark has coordinating experience and is familiar with our league having worked at Elon and Georgia Southern,” Higgins said. “He is an excellent teacher and has been mentored by some of the top coaches in our profession.” Prior to his short stint at ULM, Collins joined the University of Georgia staff as a graduate assistant after serving as the linebackers coach at Georgia Southern University in 2006 under Brian VanGorder. At GSU, he coached AFCA First Team All-American John Mohring, was the camp and clinic director, and worked with the special teams for the Eagles. Collins, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., is a 1998 graduate of East Tennessee State where he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. As a four-year starter at defensive end and outside linebacker, Collins won the John Robert Bell Award, which is given to the player who displays intensity, loyalty and work ethic, and was the team captain in 1997. Collins was also a National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame Scholar in 1995-96. Following his college graduation, Collins joined East Tennessee State’s coaching staff in a variety of positions from 1999-2002. Collins’ next coaching stop was the University of Michigan, where he was a part of two Big Ten Championships and back-to-back trips to the Rose Bowl. He worked with the team’s linebackers as well as the offensive linemen during his two seasons in Ann Arbor, Mich. Collins’ final coaching stop before arriving in Statesboro was as defensive coordinator at Elon. During the 2005 season, Collins led the Phoenix defense to a No. 3 ranking in total defense in the Southern Conference.
The Citadel’s new offensive coordinator is Tommy Laurendine, former offensive coordinator at Lenoir-Rhyne. Laurendine, who spent two years as coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Bears, replaces former offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Dave Cecchini who also left earlier this month to accept a similar position at his alma mater Lehigh University. Laurendine will lead the Bulldogs as they change to the triple option, while also coaching the quarterbacks. “Tommy has worked himself up in the profession and has coordinated and called plays at four different programs running the triple option offense,” Higgins said. “He comes highly recommended by the Georgia Tech staff.” At his first year at Lenoir-Rhyne, Laurendine’s offense improved by more than 126 yards per game and finished the 2008 season ranked fifth in the NCAA Division II in rushing at 259.3 yards per contest. In 2009, the Bears’ offense improved to 294.3 yards a game, finishing second in Division II. Laurendine went to Lenoir-Rhyne after spending one season as offensive coordinator at Washington & Lee (2007). Prior to Washington & Lee, he was an offensive coordinator at West Georgia (2006), assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Southern Arkansas (2001-05) and offense coordinator at West Alabama (1997-00). While at SAU, Laurendine’s offenses established 18 school records and the 2003 squad earned a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs and was ranked No. 11 in the nation. He also had coaching stints at Washington & Lee (1995-97) and West Georgia (1991-93) as a graduate assistant and started his career as a student coach for L-R in 1990, where he was a two-year letterwinner as quarterback for the Bears. The Oak Ridge, Tenn. native was named the 1988 and 1989 South Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and finished his L-R career with 4,064 passing yards and 29 passing touchdowns. His 58.3 career completion percentage and 2,409 yards of total offense in a single-season (1989) are both school records. Laurendine, a team captain in 1989, led L-R to the league championship in 1988 and was inducted into the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame in 2007. He was also inducted into the L-R’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Leading the Bulldog offensive line and serving as an assistant offensive coordinator will be Bob Bodine, formerly of VMI. Bodine spent four seasons working with the Keydets’ offensive line, who led the nation in rushing offense for two consecutive seasons (2008-09). Bodine worked with VMI offensive coordinator Brent Davis at Georgia Southern for six seasons (1997-02), spending two years with the offensive line and two years with the defensive line before taking charge of the Eagle outside linebackers in 1999, wide receivers in 2000 and 2001 and slot backs in 2002. “Bob learned the triple option system while working at Georgia Southern,” Higgins said. “He is a bright, detailed oriented coach and has a reputation as one of the top offensive line coaches in the country.” Bodine, a native of Hazelton, Pa., was a two-year starter at offensive guard at Tulane University where he earned his bachelor of arts degree in psychology in 1993. He began his coaching career at his alma mater and assisted with the Green Wave offensive line and long snappers over a three-season span.
Josh Conklin, who spent the past three seasons on Wofford’s coaching staff, will be joining the Bulldog staff for the 2010 season as the secondary coach, replacing Nick Toth who was recently hired at Texas A&M. “Josh did an excellent job with the DB’s at Wofford. He has great knowledge of our league and the reputation for being an outstanding recruiter,” Higgins said. Conklin joined the Terriers in July 2007 as a secondary coach and added special teams responsibilities for the 2009 season. In his first two years working with the cornerbacks, two earned All-Southern Conference honors. Under Conklin’s assistance, the Terriers led the SoCon in scoring defense with 24.8 points allowed per game in 2007. Overall, the Terriers led the conference with 20 interceptions. In 2008, the Terriers were tied for second in the SoCon with 13 interceptions. Prior to Wofford, Conklin was the secondary coach and special teams coach at South Dakota State for two seasons (2005-06). He was a graduate assistant coach with the Jackrabbits in 2003 and 2004 before being elevated to full-time status prior to the start of the 2005 season. In 2006, SDSU finished 21st in the nation in the final College Sporting News coaches poll. Conklin’s secondary ranked second in the Great West Conference in pass defense, allowing just 165.4yards per game through the air, while the kickoff return and kickoff coverage teams were the top-ranked units in the Great West Conference. A native of Gillette, Wyo., Conklin graduated from Campbell County High School in 1998before enrolling at Dakota State University. A 2003 graduate of Dakota State with a degree in physical education, Conklin started at linebacker his junior and senior seasons and was an Academic All-America selection. Conklin also earned a masters degree in sports administration in 2008 from South Dakota State University.
In addition to these new hires, four-year assistant coach Aashon Larkins was promoted to special teams coordinator and will continue to assist with the secondary. “Aashon is an excellent teacher and a great role model for our players,” said Higgins. “He understands how to get to the hearts of our players. As special teams coordinator he will have the opportunity to affect every player on the team.”