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March 2, 2014

SHSU FOOTBALL — Bearkats meet new coaches

Sam Houston State completes new coaching staff, introduce hires to players

HUNTSVILLE — Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler completed the football coaching staff last week with the hire of special teams coordinator and former Bearkat fullback Matt Powledge.

On Friday, Powledge and the special teams philosophy were introduced to the players. The message simply was for the best players to expect to be involved.

“Every player is going to be involved in it and we truly want to play the best players on special teams,” Keeler said. “We will play great special teams. There’s no reason not to. I think we have a great knowledge base of it and we’re going to put the time and effort into it.

“Matt has tremendous knowledge of the kicking game and his energy is off the charts.”

Since hiring offensive coordinator Phil Longo, co-defensive coordinator Brad Sherrod and defensive line coach Phil Petitte, the Bearkats have added four more coaches to the staff.

Dan Lanning takes over as defensive backs coach and assistant recruiting coordinator to offensive line coach Bart Tatum. Terance Archer is the new wide receivers coach. Rodrique Wright, who played at Texas from 2002-2005 and four seasons in the NFL, was hired as the defensive ends coach. Wright, who received a recommendation from former Longhorns coach Mack Brown, will also help Petitte coaching the defensive line.

“Rodrique is a guy who can go into any school in Houston and they’ll know who he is because he played down that way,” said Keeler of the former Alief Hastings standout. “He has very strong Houston ties. So he was a great fit for us in terms of him as a coach, but also those very strong Texas ties and that Houston area. He just brings such a great presence with him.”

Powledge, who will also coach running backs, served as a special teams assistant at Kentucky under Bradley Dale Peveto and had the opportunity to follow him to LSU last week. But the Bearkats hired him away.  

Aside from their football acumen, Keeler wanted assistants who had a knack for recruiting. Lanning impressed in his interview with a savvy social media approach that aims not only to communicate with recruits, but to help market the overall Sam Houston State brand.

Lanning was hired from Arizona State, where he served as the on-campus recruiting coordinator and assisted with defensive backs. His role with the Bearkats will be similar.

“He’ll put us on the map in terms of the networking we need to do on social media and those kind of things,” Keeler said. “There’s certain things in the rules you can’t do in terms of making contact with the kids, but there’s these things you can do that put you in contact with them on a daily basis in terms of following your Twitter feed. They can follow the program. It’s just a way to educate the kids about what’s happening here at Sam Houston State without making that phone call every day. Dan understands it at a level that is probably unique at any level.”

Longo hired Archer. The two have ties going back to their days at La Salle. Keeler said Archer possessed the common theme within the new coaching staff, which is the ability to recruit.

“It’s a nice blend,” Keeler said. “I wanted some experienced coaches and some younger coaches. I wanted some guys with Texas roots but some guys who could bring some stuff from outside. And this is a hungry group for recruiting. That’s the one thing I made very clear with every coach I hired is that if you can’t recruit then you can’t coach with me.

“Within four hours of this campus, we have the greatest high school football in the world. I’m sitting in the middle of it, living a college coach’s dream. So we need to make sure we do the right things in terms of recruiting.”

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All proceeds from the Team Big George Wiffleball Tournament will go to George Ancira, above, to support him in his battle with cancer.

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