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Introduced as Furman’s new head football coach on December 19, 2016, Clay Hendrix in two seasons has already reinvigorated a Paladin football program long accustomed to success.
Hendrix, a former standout Paladin offensive guard and assistant coach who returned to his alma mater following a decade as an assistant coach at the United States Air Force Academy, directed Furman to an 8-5 campaign and Football Championship (FCS) playoff appearance in 2017, improving on a three-win 2016 season and defying a preseason No. 7 Southern Conference tab by playing for a share of league title in the regular season finale en route to finishing a consensus No. 20 in two major FCS polls.
This past season Furman took another step under Hendrix’s guidance by claiming a 35-30 road victory over Mercer in the regular season finale to secure a 6-4 record and share of the program’s 14th SoCon championship — the most in league history.
That Hendrix has been able to orchestrate an impressive rebound of Paladin football was just what Furman football supporters envisioned when he was named the 23rd head coach in the history of Furman football, which dates from 1889.
Following a pair of narrow, heartbreaking losses in its first three games in 2017, Furman reeled off seven straight wins — the program’s longest run of success streak since 1999 — en route its first appearance in the polls since 2014. The winning streak helped the Paladins garner their first playoff berth and postseason victory since 2013, and was recognized for its significance by Hendrix landing consensus SoCon Coach of the Year honors in voting by his peers and media.
Fueling Furman’s resurgence was a staple of former Paladin greatness and hallmark of Hendrix’s coaching DNA — a balanced, high powered offense (32.6 ppg) driven by an effective running game and efficient passing attack (168.54 rating). Also playing a key role was a young, aggressive Paladin defense that led the league in sacks (34).
All told, 13 Paladins earned All-SoCon honors in 2017, highlighted by All-America center Matthew Schmidt, who extended Furman’s unmatched tradition of producing Jacobs Blocking Award winners by becoming the school’s 13th recipient (and seventh Hendrix pupil) to capture the prestigious honor.
The 2018 campaign saw Furman drop its first three games and have its scheduled home opener against Colgate cancelled due to Hurricane Florence. The Paladins rebounded off the slow start, however, by winning six of their final seven games, including a 34-14 triumph over FCS fourth-ranked Wofford.
Spicing the impressive stretch run was the outstanding play of fifth-year senior quarterback Harris Roberts, who in his first season as a starter paced the SoCon in passing efficiency (182.60), and another strong pass rush highlighted by the play of All-American outside linebacker Adrian Hope, whose FCS leading 15.0 sacks helped him finish fourth (and tops among defensive players) in balloting for the Jerry Rice Award, which is given annually to the top freshman in the FCS.
Furman’s successful 2018 campaign extended Hendrix’s legacy of notable success and consistency, underscored in the fact that in 37 years of collegiate football, spanning his years as a player and as an assistant coach, he has been part of 31 winning teams that have combined to go 296-160-3 (.648).
In 10 years at the Air Force Academy, where he coached the offensive line and served as offensive coordinator for five seasons, as well as associate head coach over the final seven campaigns, Hendrix played a pivotal role in the Falcons producing some of the top rushing attacks in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). That productivity translated into a 77-53 record (.592), nine bowl game appearances, and four Commander-in-Chief’s Trophies, which is awarded annually based on head-to-head results among the three service academies.
Air Force led the Mountain West Conference (MWC) in rushing and ranked in the top 10 nationally eight times in the last 10 years due, in part, to the quality work of Hendrix-directed offensive lines. All told 19 Falcon offensive linemen garnered all-conference recognition and 21 players under Hendrix’s guidance landed Academic All-MWC honors during his tenure in Colorado Springs.
In 2016 Air Force posted a 10-3 record and 5-3 mark in the MWC, won its fourth Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy this decade, and defeated South Alabama in the Arizona Bowl following a 27-20 win over 19th-ranked Boise State on Nov. 25. The Falcons ranked third nationally in rushing offense (322.8 ypg), seventh in FBS in third down conversion percentage (51.4), and averaged over 451.4 yards per game in total offense along with 34.3 points per game.
The victory over Boise State represented the final win in an impressive list of Air Force triumphs with Hendrix on staff. In 2014 the Falcons defeated 21st-ranked Colorado State (27-24) during the regular season and knocked off Western Michigan (38-24) in the Idaho Potato Bowl to complete a 10-3 campaign. In 2010 Air Force downed Georgia Tech (14-7) in the Independence Bowl, a year after beating 25th-ranked Houston (45-20) in the Armed Forces Bowl. In his first season there, the Falcons handed Notre Dame its biggest setback (41-24) to a service academy since 1963.
Hendrix paved his way to Air Force with an exemplary 19-year record of accomplishment as an assistant coach at Furman, where he served as offensive line coach each year, recruiting coordinator for three seasons, and assistant head coach over his final five campaigns. From 1988-2006 he helped the Paladins post a 155-77-1 record (.667), including a 100-45 Southern Conference mark (.690) that led to six league championships, 11 NCAA FCS (formerly I-AA) playoff appearances, a national runner-up finish in 2001, and 1988 national championship — the first by a SoCon member school and private university in FCS history.
Over his final eight seasons on the Paladin staff (1999-06), Furman registered a 73-28 record (.723) and 47-14 worksheet (.770) against SoCon competition en route to three league championships, seven FCS playoff berths, 2001 national runner-up campaign, and seven top 10 final national rankings.
Hendrix-directed offensive lines and powerful rushing attacks were central in one of the greatest eras in Furman history. In 1999 Furman knocked off North Carolina (28-3) on the strength of a 177-yard rushing performance by tailback Louis Ivory, and in 2000 averaged a school record 307.1 yards per game rushing to spearhead Ivory’s run to the Walter Payton Award, the FCS equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. The next year a Paladin line featuring three All-Americans keyed an 12-3 campaign, highlighted by a 24-17 playoff semifinal road win over Georgia Southern that halted the Eagles’ NCAA record 39-game home winning streak.
In 2005 a potent Paladin ground game was central to Furman scoring 64 touchdowns and averaging 470.0 yards per game — both school standards.
In recognition terms, 25 Hendrix-coached players earned first team all-conference honors and 13 garnered All-America laurels during his Paladin assistant coaching tenure. In addition, five products — center Steve Duggan (1990), guard Ben Hall (1999), tackle Josh Moore (2000), tackle Donnie Littlejohn (2001), and tackle Ben Bainbridge (2004) — captured the SoCon’s Jacobs Blocking Award. A sixth recipient, tackle Joel Bell, who was recruited and developed by Hendrix, garnered the award in 2008.
Three of Furman’s SoCon leading 15 Academic All-Americans — guards Eric Walter (1990 & ‘91) and Adi Filipovic (2006) — are Hendrix products.
A native of Commerce, Ga., where he was a three-sport standout in football, wrestling, and golf as a prep, he starred as an offensive guard on the gridiron, helping Commerce High School to a 13-1 record and 1981 Class 2A state championship.
He came to Furman in 1982 on a football scholarship under head coach Dick Sheridan and over the next four years, including three seasons as a starter under the tutelage of offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, played a role in the Paladins posting a 39-10-1 record, winning SoCon championships in 1982, ‘83, and ‘85, and finishing as national runner-up his senior year — a season that saw him earn all-state recognition. Furman also recorded impressive wins over South Carolina (1982), Georgia Tech (1983), and North Carolina State (1984 & ‘85) during his playing tenure.
Following graduation in 1986, he joined Sheridan’s staff at N.C. State for the 1986 and ‘87 seasons — the first of which featured a Peach Bowl appearance. The Wolfpack beat ACC regular season champion Clemson in 1986 and the seventh-ranked Tigers again the following year.
He returned to Furman in 1988 as offensive line coach under head coach Jimmy Satterfield and his influence quickly led to success as Furman registered a 13-2 record and claimed the NCAA FCS championship with a 17-12 triumph over Georgia Southern.
He and his wife, LeeAnn Hedgpeth ‘90 of Taylors, S.C., have two sons, Cal and Mac.
Brian Bratton, one of the greatest receivers and return specialists in Furman history who enjoyed several highly successful seasons in professional football, was named wide receivers coach at his alma mater in 2015, and in the spring of 2017 added special teams coordinator duties under head coach Clay Hendrix.
Bratton joined the Paladin coaching staff following two seasons as an assistant coach at nearby North Greenville (S.C.) University.
In 2017 he worked with a pair of standout wide receivers in Thomas Gordon (39 rec., 717 yds. TD) and Logan McCarter (31 rec., 555 yds., 5 TDs), who played a pivotal role in Furman’s SoCon passing efficiency leading offense that helped power Furman to an 8-5 season and FCS playoff appearance. In addition he oversaw Paladin special teams that ranked among league leaders in a number of categories.
This past season Bratton’s receiving corp and special teams played a pivotal role in Furman winning six of its final seven games to claim a share of the program’s 14th SoCon championship. In addition to leading the league in passing efficiency, the Paladins also produced the SoCon’s best multi-purpose specialist in All-American kicker Grayson Atkins and league’s top kick return specialist, Dejuan Bell.
Prior to beginning his coaching career he spent six seasons (2007-12) in the Canadian Football League (CFL), seeing action as a wide receiver and return specialist and helping the Montreal Alouettes capture a pair of Grey Cup championships. He capped his CFL career by receiving the league’s 2012 Tom Pate Award, which is similar to the NFL’s Walter Payton “Man of The Year” Award that honors a player who displays outstanding sportsmanship and has made a significant contribution to his team, community, and association.
Bratton, a 2011 Furman Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, earned SoCon Freshman of the Year and All-America accolades in 2001 after averaging a nation best 37.2 yards on kickoff returns, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He caught 131 passes for 1,826 yards, and 18 touchdowns in his career, helping lead Furman to a pair of SoCon championships (2001 & ‘04) and three playoff appearances, including an FCS national runner-up finish.
Following graduation in 2005 with a degree in communications, the Martinez, Ga., native signed free agent contracts with the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens. After starring with the Cologne Centurions (NFL Europe) in 2006, he joined the Alouettes, where over his six-year career he caught 263 passes for 3,127 yards, and 23 touchdowns while helping Montreal to Grey Cup championships in both 2009 & ‘10.
Bratton and his wife Ashley have three children:, Blaze, Brynlee, and Breeze.
Furman head football coach Clay Hendrix announced on Feb. 7, 2020, the hiring of Chad Byers as the Paladins' new outside linebackers coach.
Byers, who served in a defensive quality control capacity for the Paladins in 2015, returns to Furman following a one-year stint as graduate assistant linebackers coach at Marshall University (2019) and a three-year tenure (2016-18) at Shepherd University, where he served in a variety of roles, including linebackers coach, special teams coordinator, recruiting coordinator, and director of operations.
At Marshall he played a role in the development of 2019 All-Conference USA linebackers Tavante Beckett and Omari Cobb. In his time at Shepherd, he worked with defensive units that ranked among the best in NCAA Division II in rushing defense, total defense, and scoring defense, and which helped the Rams to two Mountain East Conference Championships and a pair of NCAA Playoff appearances, including a semifinal finish 2016.
Byers' 2016-18 tenure at Shepherd was his second at the Shepherdstown, W.Va., school. From 2013-15 he coached the Rams' wide receivers and was part the program's 2013 Mountain East Conference crown.
During his 2015 season at Furman he was part of a Paladin program that knocked off Central Florida, 16-15.
Byers attended James Madison University from 2008-12 and played linebacker for the Dukes, rising from walk-on to scholarship status. After winning the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title in 2008, the Dukes knocked of Virginia Tech, 21-16, in 2010.
Holder of a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from JMU, which he received in 2012, he is married to Kelly Gooch, formerly of Richmond, Va.
Furman head football coach Clay Hendrix announced Dru Duke as the Paladins’ new tight ends coach in July 18, 2018.
“Dru has done nothing but impress me from the first day I met him,” said Hendrix said at the time of Duke’s hiring. “He has had a unique experience as a student assistant coach, being very involved on both sides of the ball. He has the utmost respect from our coaches and players and we are excited to have him in this new role. Dru is extremely bright and is a very good worker. He is well prepared and has earned this opportunity.”
Duke’s first season as full-time assistant coach backed up the confidence Hendrix placed in him as the Paladins, getting solid play from their tight end corps, won six of their final seven games to claim a share of the program’s 14th SoCon championship. In the Paladins 35-30, title clinching road win over Mercer sophomore tight end Jake Walker caught a pair of touchdown passes, including what proved to the game winner midway through the fourth quarter.
A 2018 Furman graduate with a degree in math & economics, Duke served as a student assistant coach for three seasons, including the last two in a quality control capacity.
Duke, an Easley native, joined the Paladin program as a walkon linebacker in 2014. After one year in uniform he began his coaching career as a student assistant, working with both the Paladin offensive line and last year with Furman’s defense.
Ken Lamendola is in his third season as the Paladins’ inside linebackers coach and first as recruiting coordinator.
In his first year on staff Lamendola was forced to manage early season ending injuries to three senior starters — a task he accomplished in solid fashion by overseeing the development of a pair of Southern Conference All-Freshman Team performers, including Elijah McKoy, who finished the season with 81 tackles on the Paladins’ 8-5 squad that advanced to the FCS playoffs.
In 2018 he helped first-year starter Donavan Perryman (75 tackles) play a key role in the squad’s strong stretch run that saw the Paladins register five wins over their final six games to claim a share of the program’s 14th SoCon championship.
Lamendola came to Furman from Air Force Academy Preparatory School, where he coached inside linebackers for two seasons.
Lamendola’s playing career spanned five seasons (2007-11) and was highlighted by a sophomore campaign that saw him rack up 118 tackles and earn honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors as an inside linebacker before injuries curtailed his playing time.
The Westlake, Ohio, product totaled 24 tackles for a 2009 Air Force squad that defeated 25th-ranked Houston, 45-20, to win the Armed Forces Bowl. The next year he was a member of a Falcons squad that went 9-4 and beat Georgia Tech, 14-7, in the Independence Bowl, and in 2011 he served as team captain in helping Air Force capture the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which is awarded annually based on head-to-head results among the three service academies.
Following graduation in December of 2011, he served one year as a program manager for Air Force One in the Very Important Person Special Air Mission (VIPSAM) and Special Duty Division at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
An 18-month stint as executive officer in the VIPSAM Special Duty Division followed before he was assigned program manager duties in the E-4B Commercial Derivative Aircraft Division in Sept. of 2014. Among his many tasks there were enabling critical decision making capability to the Secretary of Defense and the National Airborne Operations Center for the $150 million/year E-4B fleet and spearheading a $400 million-dollar Low Frequency Transmit System replacement.
Lamendola began his coaching career in April of 2015 at USAFA Prep School as inside linebackers coach.
In addition to his bachelor of science degree in management from Air Force Academy, he has completed graduate level studies in United States Air Force Fundamentals of Acquisition Management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and holds a master’s degree in human resources from the University of Oklahoma.
Furman head football coach Clay Hendrix announced on Feb. 24 that Kevin Lewis has been named the Paladins' defensive line coach.
Lewis comes to Furman following one season at Army West Point, where he coached the Black Knights' defensive front.
Prior to his stint at Army he served as defensive line coach at William & Mary for five years, where he mentored All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) selections each year, including All-American defensive end Mike Reilly. Honored as 2014 CAA Defensive Player of the Year, Reilly signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns following a senior campaign when he ranked 13th nationally in sacks per game.
In addition to Reilly, two other Lewis-coached Tribe defensive linemen, tackles Jasper Coleman and Tyler Claytor, earned All-CAA honors and NFL opportunities — Coleman with the Houston Texans and Claytor with the Chicago Bears.
Defensive tackle Isaiah Stephens continued the legacy of excellence under Lewis by earning all-conference honors during the 2016-17 seasons, while junior defensive tackle Bill Murray was tabbed in 2018.
Prior to his stop in Williamsburg, Lewis served as defensive line coach at Dartmouth for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. In his second year there he helped the Big Green rank ninth nationally in scoring defense.
Lewis also coached three seasons at Richmond, where he served as the defensive line assistant for two years before being promoted to defensive line coach following the 2010 campaign. In addition to helping the Spiders post a 20-15 record, including an 11-2 mark in 2009 when Richmond reached the NCAA FCS Quarterfinals, he coached first-team All-American Martin Parker, who went on to help the New York Giants win the Super Bowl.
A 2005 graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in history, Lewis was a three-year starter who helped the Hokies win the 2004 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship and appear in four bowl games. He went on to play professionally with the Hamburg Sea Devils in NFL Europe and was invited to training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A product of Varina High School in Richmond, Va., Lewis began his coaching career at his prep alma mater in 2007.
He is married to the former Miyah Jones.
Furman head football coach Clay Hendrix announced in January that Peter Lusk had added the duties of run game coordinator to his existing role as the Paladins' offensive line coach.
"I am pleased to announce the promotion of Peter Lusk to run game coordinator/offensive line coach," said Hendrix. "He has been a critical part of our staff the last two years, and whether it has been coaching the offensive line, game planning, or recruiting, Pete has done exceptional work, and we are fortunate to have him at Furman."
In his two seasons with the Paladins, Lusk has overseen the revival of a ground attack that has produced four All-Southern Conference linemen, as well as 2017 All-American and SoCon Jacobs Blocking Award winner Matthew Schmidt. The improved line play has paved the way for a duo of all-conference running backs who have played a key role in Furman advancing to the FCS playoffs in 2017 and claiming a share of the 2018 SoCon championship while posting a combined 12-4 league mark.
A 2010 graduate of Air Force Academy, he was a standout offensive guard for the Falcons, starting 30 games over his four-year career, serving as a team captain, and earning All-Mountain West Conference honors as a senior while helping lead the Falcons to a 45-20 victory over 25th-ranked Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl. His sophomore year he started at right guard in the Falcons' 41-24 triumph over Notre Dame.
During his tenure at Air Force he played a key role in AFA registering some of the Football Bowl Subdivision's (FBS) most prolific rushing attacks, averaging 299.5 yards per game in 2007, 266.9 yards per game in 2008, and 283.5 yards per game his senior year.
He received his bachelor of science degree in legal studies and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in May of 2010, after which he served as a satellite vehicle operator on the $51-billion MILSTAR / AEHF System with the 4th Space Operations Squadron, Schriever (Colo.) Air Force Base.
As a 1st Lieutenant and payload engineer, from June 2012 through September of 2013 he headed up a 50-person team that conducted initial testing on a $3.3-billion new satellite system.
That service was followed by a seven-month assignment as mission commander with the MILSTAR system, supervising a crew of 15 operators. During that stint he was selected as No. 1 of 62 Company Grade Officers (CGOs), No. 1 of 40 Squadron Lieutenants, and No. 4 of 115 Group Level Lieutenants.
Promoted to the rank of Captain in March of 2014, he took on the planning, certification, and evaluation of all operators in the 4th Space Operations Squadron and was selected No. 3 of 16 CGOs in the Elite Group Evaluations Unit.
Lusk began his coaching career at Air Force Prep in June of 2015 as offensive line coach and added play calling duties later in the campaign. In 2016 he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before joining the Furman staff.
In addition to his undergraduate degree from Air Force Academy, Lusk graduated with academic achievement from Satellite Vehicle Operator Training and later earned instructor and evaluator certifications at Vandenberg (Calif.) Air Force Base.
Awarded an MBA from Oklahoma State University in May of 2013, he is married to Allison Ossege, a physical therapist and native of Cincinnati, Ohio.
George Quarles, one of the most successful high school head football coaches in the country prior to returning to Furman in December of 2016, recently completed his second season as associate head coach and first as offensive coordinator and coach of the program’s quarterbacks.
In his first campaign under head coach Clay Hendrix he coached the squad’s tight ends, including All-SoCon and NCAA Post-Graduate scholar performer Andy Schumpert, who caught 32 passes for 652 yards and nine touchdowns in the Paladins’ 8-5 campaign that netted a FCS playoff appearance.
In 2018 he took over as quarterbacks coach and oversaw the work of Harris Roberts, who battled back from a preseason injury and limited play in the early going to engineer Furman to a 5-1 stretch run, highlighted by a 34-14 pasting of Wofford. Harris threw five touchdowns in the Paladins’ 35-30, SoCon title clinching victory over Mercer and finished the campaign atop the SoCon in passing efficiency with a school record 182.6 rating.
He was inducted into both the Tennessee Football Coaches and Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Halls of Fame in 2018.
Quarles, a 1989 Furman graduate and starting wide receiver on the Paladins’ 1988 NCAA FCS (I-AA) National Championship team, spent 22 years at Maryville (Tenn.) High School, including the final 18 as head coach, during which time he recorded a stupendous coaching record of 250-16 (.939), making him one of the most successful prep coaches in the United States. The fastest coach in U.S. high school football history to register 200 wins, he guided Maryville to 11 state championships, including the last four in TSSAA Class 6A, and 15 state title game appearances, and won at least 10 games every season there.
During his remarkable run at Maryville, Quarles coached the Rebels to a nation’s-best 74 consecutive wins during one stretch that included four consecutive state championships. After taking over the Maryville program in 1999, he went 10-7 in his first 17 games, which he followed with a mark of 240-9 (.964). He was the winningest high school coach in America over the 10-year period (2007-16).
A seven-time state coach of the year selection, he was named Tennessee Titans Coach of the Year in 2005 and PrepXtra Coach of the Year in 2005 and ‘13.
In 2010 he coached the East Team in the prestigious Army All-American Bowl, an elite all-star game for the top senior football players in the country, after serving as offensive coordinator in the event in 2008.
Prior to stepping into Maryville’s head coaching shoes in 1999, he served as an assistant on the Rebels’ staff for four seasons (1995-98), handling offensive coordinator duties and coaching the program’s quarterbacks and defensive backs.
He held those same duties over three seasons (1992-94) as an assistant coach at Greenville’s Eastside High School after beginning his full-time coaching career at Cedar Shoals (Ga.) High School in 1991.
Quarles served as a graduate assistant at Furman for the 1989 and ‘90 seasons — both Southern Conference Championship campaigns for the Paladins. In that role he worked with the defensive backs and coordinated the scout team offense.
He earned two letters during his playing career at Furman. The Jefferson County, Tenn., native led Furman with 18 receptions for 295 yards as a senior in 1988, helping the Paladins go 13-2, win the SoCon championship, and claim the NCAA FCS (I-AA) national title — made possible by his 42-yard touchdown reception in Furman’s 13-9, semifinal playoff victory over Marshall in Huntington, W.Va.
In 1985, his freshman year at Furman, the Paladins went 12-2, won the SoCon title, and went on to register a national runner-up finish.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Furman in 1989 and later secured a Master’s of Education degree in administration and supervision from Lincoln Memorial University.
He and his wife, Leslie, have two sons: Jack and Beau.
David Sims, who enjoyed a solid collegiate football career at Georgia Tech, was named running backs coach at Furman in February of 2017.
In his first season with the Paladins he was instrumental in the notable improvement of All-SoCon performers Antonio Wilcox (814 yds., 14 TDs) and Kealand Dirks (720 yds., 9 TDs), who combined to play a key role in the Paladins’ 8-5 season and FCS playoff appearance.
In 2018 he oversaw the emergence of Devin Wynn, who rushed for 722 yards and six touchdowns, including an impressive late season stretch that helped fuel the Paladins’ 5-1 run en route to a share of the SoCon championship — the 14th in program history.
Sims came to Furman following two years at NCAA Division II Shorter University in Rome, Ga., where he served as assistant head coach and directed the program’s fullbacks and quarterbacks while also serving at the Hawks’ academic coordinator.
While at Shorter he helped the Hawks finish seventh in the country in rushing in 2015, averaging 280.4 yards per game for an offense that featured running back B.J. McCoy, a first team all-conference selection, USA College Football All-America honoree, and finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy — Division II’s Heisman equivalent.
Sims was a three-year starter as a running back at Georgia Tech (2011-13) who served as team captain and earned honorable mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) honors his senior year after rushing for a squad leading 884 yards and 12 touchdowns. He completed his career ranked 11th on Georgia Tech’s rushing charts (2,252 yards) and tied for seventh in rushing scores (23).
A native of St. Mathews, S.C., he was an outstanding quarterback at Calhoun High School, where he helped lead the Saints to three region championships and earned all-classification second team all-state recognition as a senior prior to playing in South Carolina’s North-South All-Star Game. Along the way he set a number of school records, including season passing touchdowns (37) and career passing yards (5,800) and rushing yards (2,800).
Sims was accorded a bachelor of science degree in management from Georgia Tech in December of 2012.
Furman head football coach Clay Hendrix announced on Feb. 12, 2019, the promotion of Duane Vaughn to defensive coordinator.
Vaughn served as coach of the Paladins' outside linebackers and as recruiting coordinator in 2017 and '18, during which time he oversaw the development of Adrian Hope, who led the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with 15.5 sacks en route to earning All-America honors as a redshirt freshman on Furman's 2018 Southern Conference championship team.
He served as coach of the Paladin safeties for two years (2015-16) and tight ends coach for three campaigns (2012-14), which included Furman's 2013 SoCon championship. He began his coaching career as an offensive assistant with the Paladins in 2011.
In addition to his most recent work with Adrian Hope, Vaughn played a key role in the development of a pair of highly regarded tight ends, including two-time consensus All-Southern Conference and FCS All-America performer Colin Anderson and all-conference performer Duncan Fletcher.
In 2016 Vaughn directed the work of All-SoCon safety Trey Robinson, a free agent signee of the New York Giants, while also overseeing the development of 2017 & '18 All-SoCon safety Aaquil Annoor.
A native of Clarksville, Tenn., he played running back and safety at Davidson Academy, twice earning all-state honors.
Vaughn enrolled at Vanderbilt in the fall of 2007 and was a member of the Commodore football program, lettering as a senior special teams contributor in 2010. He was named to the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll all four years before graduating with a degree in secondary education and history.
Furman head football coach Clay Hendrix announced on Feb. 18, 2019, the hiring of Corico Wright as the Paladins’ new safeties coach.
Wright came to Furman following one season as cornerbacks coach at James Madison.
“When I started the process to fill this position, Corico Wright was a name that kept coming up from people I trust and respect,” said Hendrix. “His combination of being an outstanding player and experience with winning programs, both as a player and as a coach, was hard to match. Also, his connections to some of our best recruiting areas made him a great choice to be our new safeties coach.”
In his lone season at James Madison he coached Dukes consensus All-America cornerback Jimmy Moreland, who returned three of his five interceptions for touchdowns and finished sixth in balloting for the 2018 Buck Buchanan Award, given annually to the top defender in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
Wright went to JMU following two seasons at Murray State, where he coached the cornerbacks and also assisted with special teams.
During his time with the Racers, he guided D’Montre Wade to a pair of All-Ohio Valley Conference honors, as well as second team All-America accolades in 2017. The All-America nod came after Wade led the OVC with six interceptions.
Prior to Murray State, Wright spent three seasons at his alma mater, Clemson, where he was a defensive graduate assistant on Dabo Swinney’s staff. Wright worked with the secondary under defensive backs coach Mike Reed and was in charge of the defensive game plans and breakdowns while also assisting in the daily operations of the defense.
He tallied 200 tackles along with 17.0 tackles for-loss, 5.0 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, and one fumble recovery in a 52-game career (26 starts) at Clemson. He was also an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Academic Honor Roll member and was twice Clemson’s third-leading tackler, accounting for more than 150 stops between his sophomore and junior seasons.
As a player and coach at Clemson, Wright was part of eight bowl games and five bowl victories. He helped the Tigers win the 2009 Music City Bowl and 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl as a student-athlete, and he also took part in the Orange Bowl and Meineke Car Care Bowl. During his coaching tenure with the Tigers, the program captured a pair of Orange Bowls and the Russell Athletic Bowl while also reaching the College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama in his final season at Clemson.
Wright served as a Bill Walsh Minority Intern with the New York Jets in 2014.
A native of Milledgeville, Ga., he graduated from Clemson in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in athletic leadership. He later earned his master’s degree in human resource development from Clemson in 2015.