Tyson Summers Announces 2016 Georgia Southern Football Staff
Group of assistants have accounted for numerous national, conference and state championships
STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern head football coach Tyson Summers announced Wednesday his 2016 coaching staff, his first staff at the helm of the Eagles. All hires are pending final approval. This group of coaches has accounted for numerous national, conference and state championships during their time on the sidelines and has ties from all over the state of Georgia. The new hires have been a part of three national championships, seven conference titles, four state titles, 15 bowls teams and 14 NCAA Playoff squads.
The on-field coaching staff will include, in alphabetical order: Pat Bastien, Lorenzo “Zo” Costantini, David Dean, Chris Foster, Rance Gillespie, Jimmy Lindsey, Chad Lunsford, Allen Mogridge and Jeremy Rowell. Summers also announced the hiring of Travis Taylor, Steve Dennis and Dr. Tredell Dorsey to his staff, as well.
Lunsford, who served as the Eagles’ recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach the past two seasons, has agreed to return to the staff for an eighth season, his fourth in his current stint at Georgia Southern. After working with the wide receivers in 2013, Lunsford has worked the past two seasons with the tight ends while also serving as the recruiting coordinator. In 2016, he will continue to coach the tight ends and will add the role of special teams coordinator to his responsibilities.
“My family and I are extremely excited about remaining at Georgia Southern,” Lunsford said. “We are very thankful to Coach Summers for the opportunity and look forward to continuing to be a part of the tradition and history of this special place. As a coach, I am fired up about my new role as special teams coordinator for the Georgia Southern Eagles. This is a great opportunity for me to move into such an important position and I am looking forward to continuing the success of Georgia Southern Football.”
Lunsford’s tight ends have contributed heavily to the option running attack the past two seasons as the GS offense led the FBS in yards per game on the ground each of those years. This past year, the Eagles led the nation in rushing touchdowns, as well. The Eagles won the Sun Belt Championship in 2014 and the GoDaddy Bowl title this past season. On the recruiting side, Lunsford helped engineer signing classes which featured 22 players and ranked in the top half of the Sun Belt in 2015, also ranked near the top of the Sun Belt in 2014, and is currently ranked as one of the top classes in the conference nearing signing day.
Summers on Lunsford:
“Chad Lunsford is someone who is ‘True Blue’ and has done very good work in his time here at Georgia Southern. I’m excited that he will be returning to work with the Eagles and build on what’s he’s done here over the past three years.”
Here’s a look at the new on-field coaching hires for 2016, in alphabetical order:
Pat Bastien - Linebackers Coach
Former college standout Pat Bastien will head the linebackers for the Eagles. Bastien comes to Statesboro from UCF, where he was a defensive graduate assistant the previous two seasons.
A native of Immokalee, Florida, Bastien had a stellar career at UAB from 2009-2013. He appeared in 44 games, starting his final two years and was captain as a senior. Bastien graduated from UAB in May 2013 with a degree in sports leadership. He played tight end and defensive end under head coach Israel Gallegos at Immokalee High and was selected to the Collier County High School All-Star team.
Summers on Bastien:
“Pat is going to be a very good fit for us as the linebackers coach, partially because he is very young and energetic, but also because he both played and coached the position at UCF in the defensive scheme that we will run here. He has been around some of the better coaches at that position and was an outstanding player. He has done an outstanding job so far as both a teacher and coach and I am excited about the opportunity for him to continue to build on the defense that we have in place.”
Zo Costantini - Defensive Coordinator
Costantini comes to Statesboro after serving as the defensive line coach for UCF and will be the defensive coordinator for the Eagles. In his second stint at UCF, Costantini coached three seasons with the Knights, working as their defensive line coach. Relentless on the recruiting trail, Costantini was responsible at UCF for recruiting the Florida Panhandle (from Escambia County to Franklin and Liberty County), southern Alabama, Houston, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan and Mississippi.
A native of Houston, Texas, Costantini has been a defensive line coach at five schools in his career. He spent 2012 with Southern Miss after serving on the UAB staff from 2007-11.
UCF’s sacks total increased from 29 in 2013 to 36 in 2014, in large part to Costantini’s guidance up front. Both of those numbers led the American Athletic Conference. The Knights also led the conference those two seasons in tackles for loss. Eight players had multiple sacks, highlighted by Thomas Niles with 7.5 and Jaryl Mamea with 7.0. Both of those Knights went on to be named to the All-American Athletic Conference Second Team. With the Knights ranking in the top 20 in several defensive categories that year, they produced a 9-4 overall record, received a trip to the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl and won back-to-back league titles. Costantini was part of the memorable 2013 season in which UCF won a school-record 12 games, the American Athletic Conference title and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The Knights finished ranked No. 10 in the country as they defeated two top-10 teams (No. 6/5 Baylor and No. 8/6 Louisville) along the way. The UCF defense held 10 of its 13 opponents to under their scoring averages during 2013 even though it used several freshmen throughout the season. And UCF amassed 29 sacks while giving up just 22.
Summers on Costantini:
“Zo Costantini is someone I’ve worked with a lot over the past decade. He’s been a part of several great staffs and I know he’s a great fit for the defensive tradition we have here. He has a great football mind and it’s exciting to have him on board here at Georgia Southern.”
David Dean - Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach
Two-time national champion head coach David Dean will serve as the co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Georgia Southern for head coach Tyson Summers. Dean, who had unprecedented success in his nine seasons as the Valdosta State head coach, has proven his name belongs among the top in the nation when discussing the best coaches in the NCAA Division II’s ranks.
Dean twice led his team to the pinnacle of the NCAA Division II football world as his squad won national championships in both 2007 and 2012. Additionally, he led his squad to four more appearances in the NCAA Playoffs and tallied a career record of 79 wins against just 27 losses, a winning percentage of .745.
Twice Dean was named the American Football Coaches Association Division II Coach of the Year, having accomplished the feat in both 2007 and 2012 and received the organization’s Super Region II Coach of the Year honor in 2010. The individual accolades have not been reserved just for Dean during his tenure, as he had a player receive All-America recognition on 27 occasions, including six in his final season, while a Blazer was named All-Gulf South Conference 66 times under his watch.
Summers on Dean:
“Coach Dean is one of the most well-respected head coaches in the country. He has done an outstanding job as both a head coach and play caller during his tenure at Valdosta State, winning three national titles [two as a head coach, one as the OC]. He’s also a fantastic developer of wide receiver talent. His knowledge of the passing game is top-notch and he’s going to help us expand that facet of our offense, along with the screen game. He also has great recruiting ties to the state of Georgia, which is one of our top priorities as a staff.”
Chris Foster - Running Backs Coach
Chris Foster will head up the talented stable of running backs coach at Georgia Southern. Foster has plenty of experience coaching the position as he brings 12 years of experience at three previous stops prior to Statesboro.
Foster comes to Georgia Southern from Maryville (TN) College, where he spent the 2015 season as a running backs coach. In his lone season there, he coached a rushing attack that averaged 257.4 yards per game and had 29 rushing touchdowns. Deshjion Whitlock averaged 5.9 yards per carry on his 154 attempts, accumulating 906 total rushing yards while scoring 13 touchdowns en route to first-team all-conference honors. Prior to Maryville, Foster spent three seasons at Appalachian State, coaching a pair of his pupils to two of the best campaigns by running backs in school history. His efforts produced seven all-conference players and a pair of FCS All-Americans.
Summers on Foster:
“Chris is well-known as one of the best recruiters in the state of Georgia, particularly the Atlanta area. He is known to be a dynamic running backs coach and has developed good backs everywhere he has been. He’s an exciting addition to our staff.”
Rance Gillespie - Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Rance Gillespie returns to Georgia Southern as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Gillespie, who has previous ties to Georgia Southern Football as the offensive coordinator of the Eagles from 2007-2009, found success at the high school level as well, winning a pair state championships in the state of Georgia.
Gillespie has spent the past six seasons as the head coach of Valdosta (GA) High School, picking up 49 wins at one of the winningest high school programs in American football history. The Wildcats reached the state playoffs in each of Gillespie’s seasons, including a quarterfinal berth in 2010. In his first tenure at GS, the 2008 and 2009 offensive attacks led the Southern Conference in passing offense and also ranked high nationally.
Prior to his first stint in Statesboro, Gillespie led Peach County (GA) High School to the Class AAA state championship in 2005 and 2006, the first two state titles in school history. He posted a 65-16 record as head coach during his tenure, including an impressive 50-8 mark his last four seasons. From 1995-99, he served as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator. During his tenure at Peach County, dating back to the 1995 season, Gillespie had every starting quarterback signed to a college scholarship.
Summers on Gillespie:
“Rance Gillespie is one of the best developers and teachers of the quarterback position in our state. He’s a great fit for our offense to expand the gun option attack we already have in place. In 2007, he called plays for Georgia Southern and led the country in rushing with Jayson Foster winning the Walter Payton Award. He has an outstanding background as a head coach who has won multiple state titles and also has been an offensive coordinator in the college ranks. He will obviously bring a ton of help to us in recruiting with all of his ties to the state of Georgia, as well.”
Jimmy Lindsey - Defensive Line Coach
Lindsey comes to Statesboro after serving at Furman the previous four seasons. At Furman, Lindsey spent four seasons as the defensive line coach, adding the title of assistant head coach for the final season. Lindsey will coach the defensive line for the Eagles.
In his first season with the Paladins in 2012, Lindsey directed an improved defensive front that featured All-SoCon end Josh Lynn and a pass rush that netted 25 sacks. In 2013, Lindsey crafted a unit that helped key Furman to a SoCon championship, headlined by consensus All-SoCon end Gary Wilkins. In 2014, Wilkins completed his collegiate career ascent under Lindsey by landing All-America honors en route to signing a free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders. In 2015, freshman defensive lineman Jaylan Reid garnered SoCon All-Freshman Team honors.
Lindsey joined the Paladin program following two seasons as defensive line and special teams coach at Chattanooga, his alma mater. In his short stint at UTC, the second of his coaching career, he helped mold a Mocs’ defensive front into one of the best in the SoCon in 2011.
Summers on Lindsey:
“Jimmy has built a reputation as a top-notch defensive line coach from his work at Furman and Chattanooga and he’s someone who brings impressive credentials as a recruiter to our state.”
Allen Mogridge - Offensive Line Coach
A veteran of the college ranks in the coaching profession, Allen Mogridge will coach the offensive line for head coach Tyson Summers. Mogridge began his UCF career as its tight ends and special teams coach in 2012 before working with Temple’s offensive line in 2013. He came back to the Knights as their tight ends and H-backs coach in 2014, and finished his first year as the offensive line coach in 2015.
Mogridge helped mentor the Knights to a 9-4 overall record, a spot in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl and an American Athletic Conference title in 2014. Tight ends Justin Tukes and Kevin Miller along with H-back Joseph Puopolo were key contributors throughout the year, with Tukes closing out his career with 30 receptions overall.
With the Owls, Mogridge’s offensive line protected true freshman quarterback P.J. Walker, who broke out with a 60.8 completions percentage and 20 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions. Temple rushed for 17 touchdowns as well.
UCF was dominant on special teams in 2012 as the Knights went 10-4 and won the C-USA East Division title as well as the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.
Summers on Mogridge:
“Allen is one of the best fundamental offensive line coaches in the country and has worn several different hats during his career, working with the likes of Butch Davis and George O’Leary. He has been a recruiting coordinator, special teams coordinator, offensive line coach and running backs coach and he has been on the ground floor of running an offense ‘tempo’ similar to what we will want to run. He has also done an outstanding job as a recruiter over the years with ties to the entire southeast.”
Jeremy Rowell - Defensive Backs Coach
Rowell is a veteran coach who brings 15 seasons of college experience to Statesboro, including six as a defensive coordinator. He has spent the past three seasons coaching at the high school level, helping lead Colquitt County (GA) High to a pair of GHSA Class 1-AAAAAA state championships. In his final season at CCHS, the Packers went 15-0 and finished as national champions by High School Football America and were ranked No. 2 in the country by USA Today. Rowell will be the defensive backs coach for Georgia Southern.
A native of Crestview, Florida, Rowell spent 15 seasons at Troy University, the final six as the Trojans’ defensive coordinator. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2005 after six seasons overseeing the defensive backs. From 2006-2010, the Trojans won the Sun Belt Conference title outright or shared the title each of those five seasons.
Summers on Rowell:
“Jeremy has done big things at the college level with his work at Troy for 15 years and then what he’s done down at Colquitt County High School in winning a national championship. I’m really impressed with his body of work and excited about what he brings to this program.”
Here’s a look at the new off-field coaching hires for 2016, in alphabetical order:
Steve Dennis - Director of Football Administration
Former Troy director of athletics Steve Dennis is the new director of football administration at Georgia Southern. Dennis spent seven full years running the Troy athletics department and saw his student-athletes flourish both on the field and in the classroom. The Trojan student-athletes regularly posted grade point averages of 3.0 or better, allowing Troy to enjoy the highest level of success possible under the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report for the 2008-09 and the 2009-10 school years as all 16 NCAA sports registered above the mandated 92.5 percent. Under his tutelage, Troy’s baseball program had 17 players drafted or signed to professional contracts while the football program sent 27 players into professional football, including first-round draft picks DeMarcus Ware and Leodis McKelvin.
The Troy football program was especially successful under his watchful eye. The Trojans won five consecutive Sun Belt Conference titles and appeared in four bowl games during his tenure as director of athletics and Troy led the Sun Belt Conference in football attendance in five of his final six seasons.
His tenure as Athletics Director was marked by construction and growth of Troy University’s athletics facilities. The soccer and track teams moved into a brand-new facility. Riddle-Pace Field underwent $5 million in renovations that included the construction of the Lott Baseball Complex. Veterans Memorial Stadium saw the addition of two new luxury boxes and prior to the 2012 season a brand new playing surface. The crowning achievement of the facility improvements under Dennis was the new Trojan Arena that opened for the 2012-13 basketball season. It is also the home of the Troy volleyball team and houses the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame.
Externally, Dennis was instrumental in the formation of the Trojan Warriors, the athletic department’s booster club, as well as “The Legion,” a student support group. Both groups grew to more than 1,000 members in a short time and continued to grow annually. The athletics department also entered into a marketing agreement with IMG College, an agreement that was renewed in 2009. Other external accomplishments have included chartering the “T” Letterman’s Club as a chapter of the Troy University National Alumni Association and the establishment of the Al Lucas Endowment for Student-Athlete Excellence.
Summers on Dennis:
“Steve has a wealth of knowledge and experience as both a coach and an administrator. As an athletic director at Troy for seven years, he really had an impact on the amount of money that was raised as well as the facility improvements that were made during his tenure. Being from Macon, he recruited this area as an assistant coach for Pat Dye for a number of years and has won SEC championships as both a coach and an administrator.”
Dr. Tredell Dorsey - Director of Strength & Conditioning
Dr. Tredell Dorsey has over 15 years of experience in the field and nine years as head strength and conditioning coach with stops at UCF, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Delaware State University, Alabama State University and Cleveland State University. Dorsey will take over as director of strength & conditioning at Georgia Southern for the Eagles’ football program after spending four years as the assistant director of strength & conditioning at UCF, working directly with football and track & field.
Prior to UCF, Dorsey spent two years, from 2002-2004 as assistant director of player development at Georgia Tech under the leadership of Ed Ellis. In 2004-2005, he was the Sports Performance Director at Velocity Sports Performance in Cordova, Tennessee, and spent three years (2005-2008) as the head strength coach at Georgia State University, overseeing 17 sports. From 2008-2009, Dorsey worked as the assistant athletic director for strength & conditioning at Delaware State University, while he was the head strength coach for football and 16 other sports for two years from 2008-2009, and the head strength coach the final three years (2010-2013).
Summers on Dorsey:
“Tredell has been a head strength & conditioning coach at the FCS level at Alabama State and has worked with some of the best people in the business, including Ed Ellis and Scott Sinclair. I was able to work with him first-hand at UCF and he did an outstanding job during the season when we went to the Fiesta Bowl.”
Travis Taylor - Director of Football Operations
Travis Taylor will be the new director of football operations for head coach Tyson Summers. Taylor, from Unadilla, Georgia, spent two seasons with Western Kentucky as the assistant director of football operations. In his first season, WKU went 8-4 and won the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl over Central Michigan. The Hilltoppers won 12 games in 2015, highlighted by an undefeated conference record, WKU’s first appearance in the top 25, and a Conference-USA championship. The Hilltoppers defeated South Florida in the Miami Beach Bowl 45-35, ending the season with a 12-2 record.
He re-located to WKU after five seasons at UAB, spending the final two as the director of football operations for the Blazers, where Summers coached from 2007-11.
Taylor played at Valdosta State from 2004-07 and was a three-year starter for the Blazers at wide receiver. He was a part of the 2004 and 2007 Valdosta State teams that captured NCAA Division II national championships.
Summers on Taylor:
“Travis is coming to us from Western Kentucky where he did an outstanding job in football operations. He was part of their football team which took off the last two years under Coach Jeff Brohm. He was also the director of football operations at UAB and was a fantastic player at Valdosta State, winning two national championships. He is from south Georgia and knows the area very well so will obviously bring those ties with him.”
2016 Georgia Southern Football Staff
Tyson Summers - head coach
Lorenzo “Zo” Costantini - defensive coordinator
Rance Gillespie - co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks
David Dean - co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers
Pat Bastien - linebackers
Chris Foster - running backs
Jimmy Lindsey - defensive line
Chad Lunsford - tight ends/special teams coordinator
Allen Mogridge - offensive line
Jeremy Rowell - defensive backs
Travis Taylor - director of football operations
Steve Dennis - director of football administration
Dr. Tredell Dorsey - director of strength & conditioning
Chris Ball - director of video services
(From Georgia Southern Reports)