The Citadel Head Football Coach Kevin Higgins announced Friday that former Navy standout quarterback Craig Candeto will join the Bulldog coaching staff and will coach the quarterbacks for the upcoming 2011 season. Candeto comes to The Citadel from Georgia Tech where he coached the b-backs in 2010. He also spent the 2009 season as a graduate assistant coach at Austin Peay.
Prior to embarking on a coaching career, Candeto spent five years as a fighter pilot, a member of Strike Fighter Squadron 106 “Gladiators” stationed in Virginia Beach, Va., flying T-34, T-45 and F/A-18 jets. The former lieutenant retired from the Navy in 2009 after piloting a $57 million Super Hornet aircraft.
Prior to his military career, Candeto was a standout quarterback under Paul Johnson at the United States Naval Academy. In 2002, he rushed for six touchdowns in Navy’s 58-12 win against Army, tying the NCAA record for rushing TDs by a quarterback. In total, he accounted for seven TDs in the game. Candeto rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards that season.
Candeton earned the 2002 and 2003 Rubino Memorial Silver Helmet award as the Outstanding Football Player at Navy. As co-captain in 2003, he quarterbacked a Navy team that won three games in the previous three seasons and guided it to an 8-5 record and its first bowl appearance in seven years. That same Navy team earned the NCAA title in rushing with an average of 323.2 yards a game.
He was the 2004 recipient of the Joe Bellino Award, presented to the team’s top rusher, as well as the 2004 Military Quarterback of the Year. In 2007, Candeto was named to the Navy Athletic Hall of Fame.
Candeto also played baseball at Navy where he was a first-team All-Patriot League outfielder in 2003, along with being named the Thompson Trophy Cup recipient for the Midshipman who has done the most during the year to promote athletics at the Naval Academy.
“I am really excited that Craig and Maribeth Candeto will join The Citadel family,” Higgins said. “Craig was one of the top quarterbacks in the history of Navy football. He learned his skills as a player under Paul Johnson and then had the good fortune to coach under him at Georgia Tech this past season. His knowledge of triple option football and his experience at the Naval Academy will benefit our program greatly.”
Offensive coordinator Tommy Laurendine, who coached the quarterbacks in 2010, will now coach the slot backs in the place of Everette Sands who left for a coaching position a t NC State earlier this month.
“We are very excited for Everette, Yvette and family as they accept this opportunity at North Carolina State University. We will miss them and certainly appreciate all they have done for the program. It is hard to lose good people, but one of my goals is to develop coaches and help provide them with the opportunity to advance.”
Bulldog assistant defensive coordinator and d-line coach Denny Doornbos has been promoted to assistant head coach, while wide receivers coach Cameron Turner, also a former Bulldog quarterback and member of the Class of 2010, will now serve as the military liaison.