Charleston, S.C. – After a couple months of restructuring, The Citadel Football coaching staff recently promoted newly hired Josh Conklin to defensive coordinator and safeties coach and welcomes Denny Doornbos, formerly of St. Norbert College and Northern Illinois, as assistant defensive coordinator and d-line coach.
Conklin, who spent the last three seasons on Wofford's coaching staff, joined the Bulldogs in February as one of three new hires on defense. He replaces Mark Collins, also hired in February, as the defensive coordinator who left after a month to accept a position with the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons. Conklin joined the Terriers in July 2007 as a secondary coach and added special teams responsibilities for the 2009 season. In his first two years working with the cornerbacks, two earned All-Southern Conference honors. Under Conklin's assistance, Wofford led the SoCon in scoring defense with 24.8 points allowed per game in 2007, while boasting a conference best 20 interceptions. The following season, the Terriers finished tied for second in the SoCon with 13 interceptions. Prior to Wofford, Conklin was the secondary coach and special teams coach at South Dakota State for two seasons (2005-06). He was a graduate assistant coach with the Jackrabbits in 2003 and 2004 before being elevated to full-time status prior to the start of the 2005 season. In 2006, SDSU finished 21st in the nation in the final College Sporting News coaches poll. Conklin's secondary ranked second in the Great West Conference in pass defense, allowing just 165.4 yards per game through the air, while the kickoff return and kickoff coverage teams were the top-ranked units in the Great West Conference. A native of Gillette, Wyo., Conklin graduated from Campbell County High School in 1998 before enrolling at Dakota State University. A 2003 graduate of Dakota State with a degree in physical education, Conklin started at linebacker his junior and senior seasons and was an Academic All-America selection. Conklin also earned a masters degree in sports administration in 2008 from South Dakota State University.
Doornbos spent last season at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisc., where the Green Knights ended the season with a 9-1 record. The defense finished second in the conference and recorded two shutouts to conclude the season, marking the first shutouts since 1952. Prior to his stint at St. Norbert, Doornbos spent five seasons with the Northern Illinois Huskies. After spending the 2003 season coaching the linebackers, Doornbos was promoted to defensive coordinator and linebackers coach and held the position with the Huskies until 2007. During that time, NIU became the first team in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) to beat three BCS Schools (2003) and finished the season with a 10-2 record; won the Silicon Valley Bowl and finished the season 9-3 (2004), was named West Division Champions of the MAC, while the defense finished first in the conference in scoring defense (2005) and participated in the Poinsettia Bowl in 2006.
"I am excited to have Denny Doornbos as our new assistant defensive coordinator/defensive line coach," said Bulldog Head Coach Kevin Higgins. "I have known Denny from his tenure at West Point when he served as Bob Sutton's Defensive Coordinator. He has a wealth of experience having served as defensive coordinator in four different programs. His experience at a military school like West Point will be invaluable to our program. He is a proven leader, an exceptional recruiter and a great teacher. Also, Denny's experience in an option program will benefit us."
Doornbos, who has over 30 years of coaching experience, also spent 13 years at the United States Military Academy where he was defensive coordinator and defensive ends coach for nine years. He also spent time on the coaching staffs of University of Texas at El Paso, University of Michigan, Kent State, Boston College, University of Illinois and Western Michigan, where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1978.
Nate Hogge, formerly the Bulldogs' assistant offensive line coach, was recently promoted to recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach. He replaces Ryan Hearn who left to take a head coaching job at a high school in Ocala, Fla. Hogge joined the Bulldog staff in 2008 after working with the Oklahoma State football coaching staff for three seasons. In 2006 and 2007 he was a graduate assistant coach working with the offensive line, while in 2005 he worked in quality control for the Cowboys' offense. Before going to Oklahoma State, Hogge spent two years at the University of North Carolina as a graduate assistant coach. He spent one year working with the offense under long time coach Gary Tranquill and one year working with current defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders. Prior to his time at UNC, Hogge spent one season working with the Fork Union Military Academy post-graduate team as an offensive assistant. He worked with the offensive line and running backs and also served as the operations coordinator as he dealt with the day-to-day operations of the football team. Hogge was a member of the Elon University football team for four seasons and served one year as a student assistant. He received his degree in communications with a double concentration in broadcast and corporate communications from Elon.
Gerald Dixon also returned to The Citadel coaching staff as the new cornerbacks coach. Dixon, who spent last season assisting with the Bulldog defensive line, originally joined the staff in 2008 after working at Coral Park Miami Senior High School as the defensive back coach. In addition to coaching the defensive backs, Dixon coordinated the Coral Park Rams Special Teams. Dixon also taught 11th grade English and coordinated an afterschool peer counseling program. Prior to his stint at Coral Park, Dixon signed and played with the NFL's Detroit Lions for the 2002 and 2003 seasons. In 2004, he signed with the Buffalo Bills and played with the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe. Gerald signed with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2005-07 winning a Gray Cup. Dixon attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where in 2002 he earned a bachelor's degree in communications and anthropology. While at Alabama, Dixon started four years at cornerback from 1999-2002 and was a member of the 1999 SEC Championship team. He earned Freshman All-SEC Honors and All-SEC as a senior.
The Citadel Football recently completed spring practice on Saturday, March 27. They will resume in the fall when they return for camp on Aug. 6. The Citadel will open the 2010 season at home against Chowan on Sept. 4 at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Courtesy: The Citadel Sports Information