Figuring out all of the connections between the new Tech football coaching and his staff requires a pen, a pad of paper and a good memory.
For his new staff, Dewayne Alexander hired three former Golden Eagle players, one former Golden Eagle coach and four new faces while retaining two current coaches – one of whom later took another job elsewhere.
Of the slate of assistant coaches, one is Alexander’s former teammate, two are his former co-workers and two wanted the top job for themselves. Alexander, himself a former Golden Eagle player and two-time coach, left the purple and gold when he was not selected for the top post in 2015.
His return to Tucker Stadium, and of those who have been here before, brings a new sense of pride for the university, he said. “I felt like we needed an infusion of some people who really wanted to be here at Tennessee Tech and who understand Tennessee Tech,” Alexander said. Alexander succeeds Marcus Satterfield who was fired in November aft er a 1-10 season – the team’s worst record since 1988.
The search was narrowed to seven finalists before Alexander was selected just before Christmas. “I thought it was a really, really good process. We had a lot of input from a lot of people, we had a lot of interest from people who wanted to be a head football coach at Tennessee Tech,” athletic director Mark Wilson said. “We had seven candidates who we invited to campus and they were all really great candidates, but the cream rises to the top and it was great to have Dewayne Alexander come home and agree to lead our program.”
Alexander graduated from Tech in 1989 with a degree in political science. He worked at Tech in 2002 as a defensive line coach and again from 2013- 2015 and as the acting head coach after Watson Brown retired. Alexander now lives in Cookeville and comes to Tech from East Tennessee State University, where he served as the Buccaneers’ offensive line coach.
The Golden Eagles’ offense is set to begin the 2018 season under the direction of associate head coach Doug Malone, who also will serve as the tight ends coach. Malone, who was a finalist for the head coach position, served as the Golden Eagles’ offensive coordinator in 2002 and as acting head coach of the team in 2006. He is from Western Illinois University.
Former Golden Eagle quarterback Tre Lamb is set to serve as the offensive coordinator. Lamb led Tech to their most recent Ohio Valley Conference championship as well as an NCAA football championship subdivision playoff appearance in 2011.
He served as the team’s quarterback coach in 2014 and most recently worked at Mercer University. Lamb also was a finalist for the head coaching job at Tech. Adams Mims, wide receiver coach, was previously wide receiver coach at Presbyterian College and played in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jake Thornton, graduate assistant for the Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama, is offensive line coach.
Running back coach Dominique Davenport, previously cornerbacks coach at Mercer University. On the defensive side of the ball, Alexander hired coach Donnie Suber from Cumberland University as Tech’s defensive coordinator, Taylor Hennigan as the cornerbacks coach, Bruce Hatfield as the linebackers coach and retained Sam Williamson as the defensive line coach.
Hennigan is the son of former Tech football coach Mike Hennigan and played for the Golden Eagles. He was previously an assistant coach at White County High School. Hatfield was college roommates with Alexander while also playing for the Golden Eagles. He previously coached for 20 seasons at Hendersonville High School. Williamson has coached the Golden Eagles for 12 seasons.
Alexander had previously coached with Suber and Williamson. Alexander also retained coach Dontae Wright as the special teams coordinator, defensive ends and nickels coach, but Wright has since accepted a position at Western Michigan University.
Alexander said the job offer at WMU was a “great opportunity” for Wright. “This was one of those opportunities that came knocking, the Western Michigan coach gave me a call a couple of nights ago and we visited on the phone and he let me know that it was a name that he had gotten and that he was going to interview him and was very strongly interested in him,” Alexander said.
He said he already has someone in mind to replace Wright. “Obviously it’s just so recently since I hired the staff , so I interviewed a number of coaches, and you’re always going to keep some of those coaches in your back pocket for these kind of what-if situations,” he said.
The new coach also has been focusing on recruiting players during his fi rst month on the job, nabbing linebacker Michael Scavo and quarterback Cade Smith, both from Cookeville High School. Alexander’s new staff faces their first test Aug. 30 on the road against UT-Chattanooga.
“Everything that we’re doing in the weight room, in spring practice, everything we’re doing should be a little bit toward helping win that ballgame, so we want to go to UT-Chattanooga and start our season 1-0 and then we’ll go from there,” he said.