BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU head football coach Mike Sanford made the first additions to his 2017 coaching staff on Wednesday with the hiring of three on-field assistants including two former national champions, the mentor of a pair of No. 1 overall NFL Draft picks, and double-digit combined appearances in BCS and New Year’s Six bowl games.
Joining Sanford on The Hill in 2017 will be his father, Mike Sanford Sr. (Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs), Steve Spurrier Jr. (Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks), and Jami DeBerry (Recruiting Coordinator/Safeties).
“I am thrilled to be able to add not only three outstanding football coaches but exceptional motivators and mentors to our coaching staff,” Sanford said. “All three coaches come from winning pedigrees and understand what is required to achieve success at the highest levels with backgrounds as national champions and consistent bowl contenders. They will also be great representatives of WKU in the community and on the recruiting trail.”Spurrier Jr. comes to The Hill after a one-year stint with Oklahoma where he served in an off-field role as a recruiting and offensive specialist, particularly with offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, whose offense ranks No. 3 nationally in 2016, averaging over 550 yards and 44 points per game. Prior to his time in Norman, Spurrier spent 11 seasons at South Carolina on his father’s staff as the Gamecocks’ wide receivers coach. He added titles of passing game coordinator in 2009, recruiting coordinator in 2011 and co-offensive coordinator in 2012. During his time in Columbia, the Gamecocks went to nine bowl games and his pupils featured future NFL stars Sidney Rice, Alshon Jeffery and Kenny McKinley. He won the 2000 national championship as a part of Bob Stops’ staff as the Sooner’s wide receivers coach and in 1996 as a graduate assistant at Florida. Sanford Sr. joins his son on The Hill after a four-year run as the head coach at Indiana State. During his time with the Sycamores, Sanford guided the program to its first postseason win since 1983 in 2014 as the program finished 8-6 and defeated Eastern Kentucky in the first round of the FCS Playoffs, 36-16, that season. For his efforts, he was named the AFCA Region Coach of the Year. Prior to Indiana State, Sanford spent a season as the Assistant Head Coach at Utah State under former coach Gary Andersen where he also mentored the running backs and tight ends. His coaching stops have also included a five-year stretch as the head coach at UNLV and collegiate assistant positions at Louisville, Utah, Stanford, Notre Dame, and Southern California among others. Sanford has also helped developed a pair of No. 1 overall NFL Draft picks including Alex Smith (2005) during his time coordinating the offense at Utah (2003-04) and Keyshawn Johnson (1996) while coaching the wide receivers at his alma mater, USC (1989-96). A former Hilltopper and national champion, DeBerry returns to The Hill after spending four seasons at ISU on Sanford’s staff, including his final season as the pass defense coordinator and defensive backs coach. DeBerry’s recruiting efforts while at ISU also focused on Louisville, southern Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky. DeBerry was a part of WKU’s 2002 National Championship season under coach Jack Harbaugh, lettering at linebacker, before serving as quality control and graduate assistant on defense in 2008-09. DeBerry added a stop at Kansas in 2012 where he served as a quality control coach on special teams. Prior to his playing days at WKU, DeBerry, a Franklin, Ky. native, starred as a quarterback at Franklin-Simpson.
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