TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Third-year Indiana State head football coach Trent Miles has named his coaching staff for the 2010 campaign. Joining the staff will be linebackers coach Rick Minter, offensive line coach Mike Simmonds, offensive line coach Harold Etheridge, outside linebackers coach PJ Volker and offensive assistant Clayton Dever.
"I am extremely excited to announce the addition of Rick Minter, Mike Simmonds, Harold Etheridge PJ Volker and Clayton Dever to the Sycamore football coaching staff," Miles commented. "All of our new coaches have a wealth of experience at the highest levels of collegiate football and more importantly have proven to be great role models during their careers. The Sycamore football program is taking a huge step forward with the additions of these experienced and committed coaches."
Joining offensive coordinator Troy Walters will be Simmonds and Etheridge who will share coaching responsibilities along the offensive line and with the Sycamore tight ends. Etheridge will also work with the Sycamore special teams. Luke Powell returns for a second season as the team's wide receivers coach while Walters works with the quarterbacks and running backs. Terre Haute native Clayton Dever will be an offensive assistant coach.
On the defensive side of the football under third-year coordinator Shannon Jackson will be Minter who will coach the linebackers and PJ Volker who will coach the outside linebackers. Jackson will continue to work with the defensive line while Jesse Minter will spend his second season with the defensive secondary.
Returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach is Indiana State Athletics Hall of Fame member Mike Simmonds. He comes back home to ISU from South Florida where he coached the offensive line. Simmonds was inducted into the ISU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
A former NFL offensive lineman with the Tampa Bay Bucs and an ultra-successful prep coach in Tampa, Mike Simmonds was named offensive line coach at USF in 2007 after one season as a graduate assistant with the Bulls.
Behind the 2008 offensive line, the Bulls offense was on the cusp of many program records. USF led the BIG EAST in total offense (405.0 yards per game) and ranked second in scoring offense (27.6). The rushing offense averaged 165.4 yards per game, good for third in the conference.
In his first season overseeing the offensive line, Simmonds was able to pull together an overachieving front five from a position group that was hit hard by injuries during fall training camp. The end result was a consistent starting line of Walt Walker, Ryan Schmidt, Jake Griffin, Zach Hermann and Marc Dile. That group was led by second team All-BIG EAST performer Schmidt and helped pave the way to program records in total offense (5,383) and yards per game (414.1). The running game accounted for 30 touchdowns and 185 yards per outing behind a line that was largely unproven in early September.
The head coach at Jefferson High School from 1998-2005, Simmonds compiled a 75-29 record and led the Dragons to the state championship game in 2002 and 2004. After a 2-8 debut in 1998, Simmonds took his next seven teams to the state playoffs, where he compiled a 17-7 record. In 2002, Simmonds was honored as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers High School Coach of the Year, and in his eight seasons at Jefferson, the Dragons had 74 players sign college scholarships including current NFL wide receiver Andre Caldwell.
Simmonds also played a role in a third state finals appearance as an assistant coach at Hillsborough High, where he was on the staff for six seasons. Those six teams compiled a 54-14 record and the Terriers reached the state championship game in 1996.
A graduate of Indiana State University, where he started 46 games and earned I-AA All-America honors, Simmonds was chosen in the 10th round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He started for the Bucs at offensive guard in 1989, once earning NFL Offensive Lineman of the Week in a game against Chicago. He signed as a Plan B Free Agent with San Diego in 1990 and when he retired, Simmonds had been credited with four NFL seasons.
Simmonds played his high school football for Belleville (IL) before enrolling at Indiana State, where his Sycamore teams reached the I-AA Playoffs in 1983 and 1984.
Minter, comes to Indiana State from Marshall University where he spent two seasons as the team's defensive coordinator. Minter, who previously was the head coach at Cincinnati for 10 seasons, returned to that role for the Thundering Herd's final contest of the 2009 campaign as he led the team to a 21-17 victory over Ohio in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
In 2008, the Thundering Herd defense produced nine interceptions and recovered five fumbles after managing only four interceptions and three fumble recoveries in the previous year. The unit also produced first-team all-conference selection Albert McClellan at defensive end.
Minter was the defense coordinator for Notre Dame from 2005-06 and helped the Irish to two BCS Bowls. He coached a 2005 unit that produced 24 turnovers while contributing to Notre Dame's plus-10 turnover margin. The Irish defense limited opponents to only a 35 percent success rate on third downs while Notre Dame foes scored touchdowns on only 56 percent of red zone opportunities.
Minter made major improvements in the South Carolina defense in 2004 under Lou Holtz. The Gamecocks ranked 20th nationally in total defense and 15th nationally in pass defense. Among his pupils was freshman free safety Ko Simpson, who earned second-team All-America honors and ranked third nationally in interceptions.
During 10 seasons as head coach at Cincinnati, Minter led the Bearcats to four postseason bowl games and was the winningest coach in the program's history. Minter's 2002 team was co-champion of Conference USA. His 1997 team finished 8-4 after a Humanitarian Bowl victory over Utah State, marking the first bowl appearance for Cincinnati since 1951. Minter's Bearcats had three straight seven-win campaigns from 2000-2002 - and all three seasons resulted in postseason bowl invitations.
In 2000, kicker Jonathan Ruffin became the program's first consensus All-America selection, as Ruffin led the nation in field goals and won the Lou Groza Award as the top kicker in the country. During Minter's eight seasons in Conference USA, the Bearcats produced 26 first-team all-league selections.
It was during his first stint at Notre Dame from 1992-93 that Minter earned a national reputation of being one of the top defensive minds in college football. The 1993 Irish defense held nine of its 12 opponents under 100 yards rushing en route to an 11-1 season and runner-up finish in the national championship race. Notre Dame finished that season with the nation's fourth-best rushing defense, with three of Minter's defenders earning first-team All-America honors.
The 1992 Notre Dame defense allowed an average of just 91 yards rushing and 277 total yards over the last nine games of the season, as the Irish posted a 10-1-1 mark, won the Cotton Bowl and were ranked fourth in the final polls. During his first two seasons at Notre Dame, Minter coached 21 defensive players who went on to play professionally in the NFL.
Prior to joining the Notre Dame staff, Minter served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Ball State for seven seasons, annually developing units that were ranked among the national leaders. The 1991 Ball State squad was ranked ninth in the country in scoring defense, 11th in total defense and 16th in passing defense. A year earlier, in 1990, the Cardinals were second in the nation in total defense, third in pass and scoring defense and 10th in rush defense.
During Minter's seven seasons under head coach Paul Schudel, Ball State produced nine all-Mid-American Conference players on defense, including three-time MAC Defensive Player of the Year (1987-89) Gary Garnica.
Minter also has collegiate coaching experience at New Mexico State, North Carolina State, Louisiana Tech and Arkansas, where he was a graduate assistant under Holtz in 1978.
Born in Nash, Texas, Minter is a graduate of Texas High School in Texarkana, Texas. He was a three-year starter at defensive end at Henderson State, where he earned both his bachelor's (1977) and master's degrees (1978) in education.
Minter is the father of two sons - Josh, who resides in New York City, and Jesse, who is currently the Sycamores' defensive backs coach.
Harold Etheridge comes to Indiana State from Washington State where he spent each of the last two seasons as the Cougars' offensive line coach.
Etheridge, a 21-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks, also served as the offensive line coach at Northern Illinois during the 2007 season. There he coached tackle John Brost, an All-Mid American Conference and MAC All-Academic selection.
Prior to Northern Illinois, Etheridge spent three seasons as the offensive line coach at the University of North Texas. During his first season the Mean Green led the Sun Belt Conference and ranked 23rd nationally in rushing offense at 196.3 ypg, paced by nation's leader Jamario Thomas at 180.1 ypg. In 2005 Thomas again rushed for 1,000 yards while the offensive line ranked among the league leaders in fewest sacks allowed. North Texas linemen earned five All-Conference honors in his three seasons at the school.
Etheridge is no stranger to members of the Cougar staff, having served alongside current Cougar assistants Sears and Niekamp while all three were on Todd Berry's staff at Army. Etheridge spent four seasons as the Black Knight's offensive line coach (2000-03), where in 2001 and 2002 Army led Conference USA in fewest sacks allowed. In 2000, the offensive line paced the way for Michael Wallace, whose 115.7 ypg were tops in Conference USA and 16th nationally.
From 1991-99 Etheridge served as the offensive line coach at Illinois State under head coach Jim Heacock (1991-95) and Todd Berry (1996-99). The 1998 squad reached the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs while the 1999 team advanced to the national semifinals after capturing the Gateway Conference title. That team finished the year ranked No. 3. During his nine seasons Etheridge coached eight players to 12 all-conference honors and two players, Mike Rodbro and Andy Ziebarth, to All-America status.
Throughout his coaching career Etheridge has coached four All-Americans, 10 all-conference performers and two players currently on NFL rosters.
The Gallup, N.M., native began his Division I coaching career in 1989 at Kentucky, where he spent three seasons and a graduate assistant coach working with the offensive tackles.
He spent seven seasons in the prep coaching ranks at Gallup (N.M.) High School (1983-86) and Louisville's Ballard (Ky.) HS (1987-89). At Gallup, his teams made four playoff appearances and were district champs each year.
Etheridge was a four-year starting offensive guard for Western New Mexico (1979-82), garnering all-conference honors after his junior and senior seasons. Following graduation, Etheridge spent two seasons as the offensive line coach at Western New Mexico in 1982 and 1983. He earned a bachelor's degree in marketing and management from the school in 1982.
Etheridge, who in 2001 published a book entitled "Coaching the Front Liners," and his wife Jeanne are the parents of twins Clayton and Eliza (13).
PJ Volker comes to Indiana State from Thomas More College just outside of his native Cincinnati. At Thomas More, Volker coached the linebackers and was the program's recruiting coordinator. He also spent time at Thiel College, located in Greenville, Pa. At Thiel, Volker coached the program's runningbacks.
Volker is a 2005 graduate of Mt. St. Joseph's College, playing alongside Sycamore assistant coach Jesse Minter during his career. Minter and Volker were members of a Mt. St. Joseph's team that compiled a 30-10 record, marking the best four-year mark in school history, as the Lions won consecutive Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference crowns in 2004 and 2005. The duo helped the Lions to back-to-back NCAA Division III playoff appearances in his junior and senior seasons. In 2004, Mount St. Joseph posted a perfect 10-0 mark in the regular season and lost to eventual national champion Mount Union in the first round the following year.
Clayton Dever is joining the program as an offensive assistant coach. The Terre Haute native will also help with the Sycamore football's video staff during practice and games as well as for opponent scouting.