CSU head football coach Jay Mills has announced changes to his staff off assistants, including the resignation of defensive coordinator Thielen Smith and re-assignments for assistants Patrick Nix, Chuck Kelly and Gabe Giardina. Mills announced the moves on Monday.
Smith departs the CSU football program after four seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Buccaneers. He made an immediate impact, as the Bucs finished with the league’s second-best pass defense and scoring defense in 2008. They also boasted the third-best total defense in the Big South, allowing 345.7 yards per game. CSU also boasted the best pass defense efficiency in 2009 with a rating of 112.9, as well as the Big South’s top-ranked pass defense with 159.4 passing yards allowed per game. Under Smith’s tutelage defensive back Charles James developed into one of the league’s premier corners, garnering numerous national honors as well as All-Conference honors in 2010 and 2011. Linebackers Chris Patrick (2010), Andrew McKain (2009) and Chris Kuzdale (2009,2011), as well as defensive lineman Joel Walton (2009, 2010) earned Big South honors during Smith’s time at CSU.
The Buccaneers also announced some other moves among the coaching staff. Offensive Coordinator Patrick Nix will retain his title and work primarily with the offensive line, while former offensive line coach Chuck Kelly will focus on the running backs. Running backs and special teams coach Gabe Giardina will continue to work with the CSU special teams and will also coach the wide receivers as well.
“After our annual review of the state of the program and our situation regarding player personnel, we decided to start working on our plans for the 2012 season immediately following the 2011 season,” says Mills. “We will continue to make decisions that will support our opportunities for success both on and off the field.”
“Additionally, we would like to thank Coach Smith for four years of great service and tireless commitment to both Charleston Southern University and the Buccaneer football program,” adds Mills. “The young men who benefitted from his tutelage will continue to grow as his influence will surely continue to guide them.”
Charleston Southern will conduct a nation-wide search for a defensive coordinator starting immediately.