N.C. A&T opened its football season today with its first practice, and the Aggies new coaching staff is filled with familiar faces working in expanded roles.
Head coach Sam Washington, who was promoted after Rod Broadway retired in January, has shuffled his coaching staff to fill vacancies from within, including new coordinators for both the offense and defense.
Washington, the defensive coordinator for all seven years of Broadway’s successful tenure, will still call the defense in his first year as the head coach. But Washington will share the job with Courtney Coard, who was promoted to co-defensive coordinator. Coard will also keep his old job as the Aggies defensive line coach while adding coordinator responsibilities.
“I want to be a mentor to coach Coard as he transitions into a coordinator position,” Washington said in a news release. “He is an outstanding young coach with tremendous enthusiasm. We are excited about the progression he has made on our staff these past few years.”
The Aggies have consistently ranked among the nation’s best run-stopping defenses under Washington, and Coard’s rotation of defensive tackles and ends have been a big part of A&T’s defensive success.
Thomas Howard, who has coached A&T’s inside linebackers the past three seasons, will coach the defensive secondary this season. Washington had coached the secondary in addition to his defensive coordinator role the last seven years. Denzel Jones, who played inside linebacker for A&T, will take over Howard’s role coaching that group.
On the other side of the ball, Chris Barnette has been promoted to offensive coordinator. A star quarterback and then a record-setting wide receiver at Guilford College, Barnette has been A&T’s quarterbacks coach since 2015. Barnette has developed players the likes of run-pass dual threat Kwashaun Quick and transitioned to pocket-passing Lamar Raynard, who started all 12 games for the undefeated Aggies last year and was the MEAC’s player of the year. Raynard, a second-team All-MEAC pick in 2016, is 25-0 as a starter at A&T.
Barnette takes over for Chip Hester, who was named head coach for Barton College’s Division II start-up program in June.