Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Curry Announces Football Staff Hirings

Georgia State head football coach Bill Curry has announced the first three members of his coaching staff with the hiring of John Bond as offensive coordinator, John Thompson as defensive coordinator and George Pugh as assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator. That trio possesses a total of 71 years of college coaching experience, including 32 seasons as an offensive or defensive coordinator as well as five seasons as a collegiate head coach.

Mike Riddle, who played under Curry at the University of Kentucky, also joins the staff as director of football operations.

Bond, a 22-year coaching veteran, has spent the last 11 years as an offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, Northern Illinois, Army and Illinois State.

Thompson, the head coach at East Carolina in 2003-04, has been a defensive coordinator at Mississippi, where he served in 2007, as well as Florida, Arkansas, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State and was co-defensive coordinator at South Carolina.

Pugh was the wide receivers coach at Houston in 2007 and has also been an assistant coach at UAB, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Pittsburgh as well as the head coach at Alabama A&M (1989-91). He has strong ties to the Atlanta area after serving as the head coach at Columbia High School (1978) and Meadowcreek High School (2003-04).

“I was very pleasantly surprised to be able to attract three men with the experience and success of John Bond, John Thompson and George Pugh,” said Curry. “I covered all three while I was at ESPN, and I saw them coach and watched them work under pressure. I’m thrilled to be able to get those types of coaches to come to Georgia State and be excited about being here.

“And I’m very pleased to have someone as smart and as detailed as Mike Riddle to be our Director of Operations.”

Curry was named Georgia State’s first head coach on June 13. He and his staff will begin recruiting immediately to sign the Panthers’ first class in February 2009, and Georgia State will begin play in 2010 and will compete at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA.)

“We’ll spend much of this week working on organization and meeting with various departments in athletics and on campus,” said Curry. “And of course, we’ll begin to work on recruiting. We’re received many, many letters, emails and DVDs from prospective student-athletes and from high school coaches about prospects, and we’re going to evaluate every one of them.”

Offensive Coordinator

Hired as Georgia State’s first offensive coordinator, John Bond is a 22-year veteran of college coaching who has spent the last 11 seasons as a Division I offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, Northern Illinois, Army and Illinois State.

Bond spent the 2007 season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Georgia Tech, where his offense was led by all-Atlantic Coast Conference running back Tashard Choice, who led the ACC in rushing and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

He spent the previous three seasons coaching one of the nation’s most prolific rushing attacks as offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois (2004-06). All-America Garrett Wolfe led the nation in rushing in 2006 after ranking second as a junior and fifth as a sophomore. The third-round draft pick is now with the Chicago Bears.

Bond helped Northern Illinois to two Mid-American Conference Western Division titles and two bowl games, highlighted by a 9-4 record in 2004, when the Huskies ranked 11th in the nation in rushing, 14th in scoring and 14th in total offense.

“When I was with ESPN, I covered some of John’s games at Northern Illinois, and I saw an offense that was so well conceived,” said Georgia State head coach Bill Curry. “No matter what the defense did, the offense had an answer, and it wasn’t just Garrett Wolfe running the ball all over the place.”

Before going to Northern Illinois, Bond served four seasons (2000-03) as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Army, where he fashioned a wide-open offense that broke 35 school records.

Bond’s first full-time coaching position was at Southwest Missouri State, where he served as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator from 1986-90. The Bears won two conference titles and reached the NCAA I-AA playoffs twice, advancing to the quarterfinals in 1989.

He served as quarterbacks coach at UTEP from 1991-93 and then as quarterback coach and passing game coordinator at Delta Sate in 1994-95.

From there, Bond moved to a four-year stint at Illinois State, serving as wide receivers coach in 1996 before he was elevated to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for his final three years (1997-99). The Redbirds ranked in the top 10 in the nation in scoring his final two years. In 1999, Illinois State reached the NCAA I-AA national semifinals, and Bond was a finalist for the American Football Coaches Association’s Assistant Coach of the Year award.

His coaching background also includes two seasons as a student assistant (1983-84) and one year as a graduate assistant (1985) at his alma mater, Arkansas, where he worked under Lou Holtz and Ken Hatfield.

A native of Rogers, Ark., Bond was an all-state quarterback for his father, Gary Bond, at Rogers High School. The elder Bond is a member of the state’s high school federation Hall of Fame, and John was inducted into the Rogers High Hall of Fame.

Bond, 45, who played one season at Arkansas before a career-ending injury, earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1985.

He is married to the former Jennifer Wilder and has two daughters, MacKenzie and Mallory, and one son, Brody.

Defensive Coordinator

John Thompson brings 24 years of college coaching experience, including 21 seasons as a defensive coordinator, to his position as Georgia State’s first defensive coordinator. He also served two years as the head coach at East Carolina.

Thompson previously worked one season with Panthers’ head coach Bill Curry as linebackers coach at Alabama in 1987.

Recognized as a top defensive mind, Thompson has worked as a defensive coordinator or co-coordinator at Southeastern Conference schools Mississippi, Florida, Arkansas and South Carolina, as well as at Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State.

As a defensive coordinator, Thompson has seen more than 40 of his defensive players drafted by, or sign with, National Football League teams. Forty of his defenders earned all-conference honors, five were named all-America, and one, former Northwestern State linebacker Gary Reasons, has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

“John was with us at Alabama as a very young coach but an outstanding one, and we have stayed in touch through the years,” said Curry. “He has coached at all those places because people have sought him out to be their defensive coordinator after they couldn’t move the ball on him. He finds a way to convey a defensive that is simple to our players but utterly confusing to the opposing offense. We’re going to need to that, especially early on.”

Thompson spent the 2007 season as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Ole Miss. That followed a one-year stint as the athletics director at his alma mater, the University of Central Arkansas, which he guided in its move to NCAA Division I. He served as co-defensive coordinator at South Carolina in 2005.

As the head coach at East Carolina in 2003-04, he coached three first-team all-conference players and seven all-freshman selections.

Thompson was the defensive coordinator at Florida in 2002, when the Gators’ pass defense was ranked seventh in the nation, allowing just 162.4 yards per game. He also spent two years at Arkansas, serving as co-defensive coordinator in 2000 and then defensive coordinator in 2001. In 2000, the Razorbacks were second in the nation in pass defense while leading the SEC in pass defense and total defense. The following year, Thompson helped lead Arkansas to the 2002 Cotton Bowl.

Thompson’s first position as a defensive coordinator came at Northwestern State, where he served from 1983-86, and again from 1988-89 after spending the 1987 season at Alabama.

In 1990, he became the defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech for two seasons before moving to Southern Miss as defensive coordinator in 1992. He was given additional responsibility as assistant head coach in 1993. In Thompson’s seven seasons at Southern Miss (1992-98), the Golden Eagles won or shared two Conference USA titles, twice ranked among the top 25 nationally in scoring defense and made two bowl appearances.

In one season at Memphis in 1999, his Tiger defense ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense and 20th in total defense.

A native of Forrest City, Ark., Thompson began as a high school coach in 1977 while pursuing his bachelor’s degree at UCA. He continued to coach prep football until moving to the college ranks in 1982 as a graduate assistant at Arkansas.

A high school quarterback, Thompson was inducted into the Forrest City High School Hall of Fame in 2006. His playing career also includes two seasons as a defensive back at Central Arkansas. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from UCA in 1978.

Thompson and his wife, Charleen, have two sons, Cabe and Hays.

Assistant Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator

Veteran assistant coach George Pugh joins Georgia State’s first football staff as assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator. He will also coach receivers.

In addition to 25 years in college coaching, Pugh has strong ties to the Atlanta area after serving as the head coach at Columbia High School (1978) and Meadowcreek High School (2003-04). As a college coach, he has recruited the Atlanta area throughout his career.

“George is an outstanding recruiter because is highly respected by the high school coaches, he has a remarkable personality and he shows an uncanny knack of knowing where the players are,” said Georgia State head coach Bill Curry. “He knows how to find, sign and develop talent, especially if they are wide receivers.”

Pugh also has head coaching experience, directing the Alabama A&M program from 1989-91. In his three seasons, the Bulldogs posted a 19-10 record, winning three Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles and reaching the NCAA Division II playoffs in 1991.

In 2007, Pugh served as receivers coach at the University of Houston, helping the Cougars reach the Texas Bowl and coaching Donnie Avery, who was selected in the second round (33rd overall pick) of the 2008 National Football League draft by the St. Louis Rams.

Prior to that, Pugh served two seasons (2005-06) at UAB. That was his second tour of duty with the Blazers, where he also worked from 1995-2000, both times working under head coach Watson Brown. In his first UAB stint, Pugh helped the Blazers in their transition to NCAA Division I-A.

He worked as an assistant coach at Arkansas in 2001-02.

Pugh began his coaching career in 1976 as an assistant coach at Columbia High School in Decatur, Ga., where he served one season as an assistant coach and one year as head coach. He then moved to the college ranks, serving as receivers coach at UT-Chattanooga (1978-79) and then New Mexico (1980).

He then spent one season at Pittsburgh, helping the Panthers reach the 1982 Sugar Bowl, before a seven-year stint at Texas A&M (1982-88). The Aggies won three Southwest Conference titles and played in three Cotton Bowls during his time there.

Pugh also coached high school football in Alabama at Selma High School (1992-93) and Luverne High School (1994).

A four-year letterwinner as a tight end, Pugh played at Alabama under head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. During his four years (1972-75), the Crimson Tide lost just one game, highlighted by a national championship in 1973. He earned his bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and recreation from Alabama in 1976.

Pugh is married to the former Lelettrice Hines. The couple has three daughters, Stephanie, April and Brittany, and three sons, Marcus, Michael George and Joshua.

Director of Football Operations

Mike Riddle has been named Georgia State’s Director of Football of Operations on head coach Bill Curry’s first staff.

Riddle, who played under Curry at Kentucky, comes to Georgia State from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga., where he served as line coach in 2007 before being elevated to offensive coordinator.

He previously spent four seasons at Indiana, serving as a graduate assistant and offensive quality control assistant.

Before going to Indiana, Riddle coached three seasons of high school football, working with the offensive line at Colerain High School in Cincinnati, Ohio (2000) and Lexington Catholic High School in Lexington, Ky. (2001-02).

Riddle joined the Kentucky program as a walk-on and lettered four years (1995-98). He was honored as the Wildcats’ Scout Team Player of the Year in 1996 and earned a scholarship for his final season (1998).

“Mike was walk-on for us at Kentucky, and I’ve always thought walk-on football players are some of the finest human beings because it’s so hard to do,” said Curry. “They come to practice and work hard every day, and they may never get to play but they hit the snot out of the starters. Mike Riddle was one of those guys, and now I’m very pleased to have someone as smart and detailed as Mike on our staff.”

Riddle earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Kentucky in 1999 and added a master’s in secondary education in 2000.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Riddle is married to the former Brandee Lampley, and the couple has one son, Landon.

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