The great gridiron shuffle

Courtesy of Jasmine Golden-Sea

Football shuffles around coaching staff following Jay Locey’s arrival

By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor

It seems change is the order of business for LC football. Following the hire of Head Coach Jay Locey, the team has dedicated itself to optimizing its coaching staff with new hires and position reshuffling. What has been done to further Coach Locey’s goals for the team, and how will these changes affect the future of the team?

After last year’s winless season (0-9), Locey and the athletic department had to adjust the coaching staff by bringing on new members and expanding the department. They have brought on three new coaches, namely Offensive Line Coach Isaac Parker (HC of McNary High School), Wide Receiver Coach James Yen (Pacific University’s Wide Receiver Coach) and Quarterback Coach Jim Nagel (most recently Southern Oregon’s Defensive Assistant). Out of these hires, both Yen and Nagel are filling positions that did not exist under previous HC Chris Sulages’ system. By specializing the coaching staff further, Coach Locey has probably improved the comprehensiveness of his team’s game plans and their ability to adjust to circumstances changing in-game.

It also helps that Locey is familiar with his new coaches. Both Yen and Nagel are veterans of Coach Locey’s Linfield College coaching staff, and both were on his staff for Linfield’s 2004 NCAA Division III Championship. After spending the past nine years away from the Northwest Conference at Oregon State, it helps Locey to have a staff with which he is familiar.

Locey has also changed up the responsibilities of the existing coaches. Former Outside Linebackers Coach Joe Kopp has become the Linebackers Coach, while Offensive Assistant Mark Figueroa has been named the new Outside Linebackers Coach. Also, Running Backs Coach Kyle Lavender is now in charge of Special Teams as well.

In a press release, Coach Locey said, “I’m not going to throw out a win or loss record, but we are going to redefine what it means to win. Early on, it’s about building a culture as much as anything.” Bringing in members of his old Linfield staff and shuffling around the responsibilities of the existing coaches will help him to make his mark on the team, and improve their chances of success in the near future.

These new hires also advance Coach Locey’s desire to expand the Pios’ recruiting activities. As Locey said in a Pioneer Log interview, “Well, I think number one you have to recruit some kids. Increase the numbers, also develop our guys in the program, and develop our guys with the motto of excellence and create a brotherhood and a ‘team first’ environment.” The new staff will not only aid player development, but they also offer up new recruiting opportunities. Coach Locey praised the recruiting abilities of Parker and Yen in the press releases announcing their hires. Locey is committed to bringing in more talent to Griswold Stadium, and it looks like he has an ideal set-up now.

In shaking up the coaching staff with new hires and position changes, HC Jay Locey looks to build a better coaching system and expand LC’s recruiting base. The gridiron is about to get hot.


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