BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Three more additions to Tyson Helton’s first coaching staff on
The Hill have been announced as Montario Hardesty (running backs), Richard Owens
(tight ends), Chris Chestnut (wide receivers) have joined the program.
“I believe Coach Hardesty, Coach Owens, and Coach Chestnut are going to be fantastic
motivators and teachers in their position rooms,” Helton said. “They bring a level
of relatability to their rooms and will be great representatives for WKU on the
recruiting trail and in the community. I’m excited to add them to our offensive
Owens, a former NFL tight end himself, comes to WKU from the University of
Louisville where he served as the director of on-campus relations for the 2018
Prior to his return to his alma mater, the Louisville graduate spent three seasons as a
member of the South Alabama football coaching staff, which included two years
directing the offensive line and the second year working as co-offensive
While at USA, Owens began developing tight end Gerald Everett into an eventual NFL
Draft Pick and a John Mackey Award candidate, awarded to the nation’s top tight end.
In 2015, Everett leads the Jags in receptions (41), receiving yards (575), touchdown
catches (eight) and total touchdowns scored (12). Everett’s eight touchdown snags
tied a school record while his marks for receptions and receiving yards were both
top 10 marks in a season at the school.
Chestnut comes to WKU following a three-year run on the coaching staff at Tennessee
State, including the final two as wide receivers coach. Chestnut began his run on
the staff as an offensive quality control coach working with the tight ends.
While at TSU, Chestnut was instrumental in the development of a wide receiving corps
that included four receivers who caught at least 28 balls, led by junior Chris
Rowland’s 57 receptions for 727 yards. Rowland was named an All-Ohio Valley
Conference second teamer as a wide receiver and return specialist, while Treon
Harris, a former quarterback at Florida, completed his transition to wide receiver
by tallying 35 receptions and five touchdowns, both the second-best marks on the
Chestnut’s work with receiver Patrick Smith in 2017 helped the senior receiver
finish his career among the top five Tigers in career yards, receptions, and
touchdowns. Smith led TSU in receiving in his final three seasons in Nashville.
Hardesty comes to The Hill following one season as Jeremy Pruitt’s coaching staff at
the University of Tennessee as an offensive quality control analyst. While on Rocky
Top, Hardesty worked directly with then-offensive coordinator and current WKU head
coach Tyson Helton.
Prior to returning to his alma mater, Hardesty spent time working in Conference USA
at Florida Atlantic with Lane Kiffin, his head coach during his senior season at
Hardesty got his start in coaching in 2014 at Chowan in the wide receivers room and
in 2015 at Norfolk State where he spent two seasons as the special teams coordinator
and running backs coach. Senior Gerard Johnson enjoyed a stellar senior campaign
where he started seven of the final eight games of the season and led the Spartans
with 89 carries for 419 yards. Johnson was also the second-leading receiver on the
team with 27 catches and 751 all-purpose yards.
Hardesty’s coaching career began after a four-year stint in the NFL with the
Cleveland Browns. A second round selection in 2010, Hardesty’s career was sidelined
due to injury. As a collegian, Hardesty enjoyed his best year in his senior year at
Tennessee, rushing for 1,345 yards on an SEC-high 282 carries.