11 candidates for the post


After eight seasons as Jacksonville State Football coach, John Grass announced Saturday after the home final against Abilene Christian, he retired.

Grass took over as head coach in 2014 after serving as an offensive coordinator on Bill Clark’s staff.

He was 72-26 in his time with the Gamecocks.

Here’s a look at possible candidates to replace the 1990 JSU graduate as the Gamecocks prepare to move from FCS to FBS, announcing a move to Conference USA.

AMOUNT :Jacksonville State Athletics accepts invitation to join Conference USA

IN-MOTION ANALYSIS:Jacksonville State Track and Field: What Would a U.S. Conference Call Would Mean to Schedule

Nelson Adams, Jacksonville State Assistant Coach and Defensive Line Coach

Adams is in his first full season on the staff at Grass. He was a Mississippi State defensive lineman from 2012-2016 and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Steelers. Although Adams has only been on staff for a season, he could be a continuity option.

Jacksonville State Assistant Coach and Quarterback Coach Tyler Allen

In his second year with Grass’s squad, Allen might also make sense for the Gamecocks if they seek continuity, as quarterbacks Zion Webb and Matthew Caldwell appear to be the two best quarterbacks next season.

Jody Wright, offensive assistant for the New York Giants

The 2004 JSU graduate was the passing game coordinator and tight ends coach in 2013, Wright also held two assistant positions with Nick Saban at the University of Alabama. He was a graduate assistant / offensive analyst from 2010-2012 and director of player personnel from 2015-2017 and was part of four national championship teams (2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017).

Bryant Vincent, assistant coach / offensive coordinator of the UAB

Vincent is one of former JSU coach Bill Clark’s best assistants. He’s been with the Blazers since 2018 and coached NFL-playing Jordan Howard on his first stint with the UAB. With Vincent as their coach, the Blazers have won 26 games over the past four seasons, including three consecutive US Conference West Division titles and the C-USA Championship two of the past three years.

David Reeves, UAB Defensive Coordinator

Another of Clark’s best assistants makes sense to the Gamecocks. Reeves is in his fifth season as defensive coordinator for the Blazers. He coached a nationally top 10 team in total defense in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Two-time Broyles Award nominee Reeves coached a defense that compiled 113 total sacks and 277 tackles for losses over the past three seasons.

FILE - In this October 10, 2015 file photo, Kennesaw State Head Coach Brian Bohannon watches an NCAA college football game in Kennesaw, Georgia.  Bohannon brings the former Georgia Tech attack back to Bobby Dodd Stadium.  Bohannon, the former Georgia Tech assistant who is in his seventh season as FCS Kennesaw State's first coach, faces a tough challenge in the Owls' first game against a Power 5 team on Saturday.  (AP Photo / Lisa Marie Pane, file)

Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State Head Coach

Bohannon holds a 53-16 record in seven seasons as coach of the Owls. He brings a triple option offense to KSU, one he learned under Paul Johnson as the 2008-12 quarterback / fullback coach at Georgia Tech. JSU is familiar with the triple option, as it gave the Gamecocks adjustments earlier this season.

John Carr, Assistant Coach Troy and Pass Coordinator

Carr is entering his third season as Chip Lindsey’s assistant with the Trojans. He also brings coaching experience in the Sun Belt, as head coach at Louisiana-Monroe in 2018.

ETSU Head Coach Randy Sanders walks on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of the game against Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt Stadium on Saturday September 4, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

Randy Sanders, East Tennessee State Head Coach

Sanders went 20-15 as an ETSU coach, including a 7-1 record this season on Saturday. He also has experience as an offensive coordinator in Tennessee, Kentucky and the State of Florida.

Head Coach Pete Shinnick communicates with his assistants during the Shorter vs UWF football game at Blue Wahoos Stadium in Pensacola on Saturday, October 23, 2021.

West Florida Head Coach Pete Shinnick

Shinnick led UWF to a 2019 NCAA Division II National Championship, his first ever, with the schedule starting in 2016. Has a career record 142-64 with appearances at Azusa Pacific and UNC Pembroke.

West Alabama head coach Brett Gilliland walks on the sidelines during the University of West Alabama return game against the University of West Florida Argonauts at Tiger Stadium in Livingston on Saturday, October 28, 2017.    [Staff Photo/Erin Nelson]
West Alabama football coach Brett Gilliland, a native of Pensacola and a graduate of Escambia High, will have a moving experience on Saturday when he returns to coach his team against UWF Argos at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Brett Gilliland, West Alabama Head Coach

At just 40, Gilliland could provide the Gamecocks with a long-term trainer. He’s posted a 51-28 in his eight seasons in West Alabama, including 6-2 this season coming in on Saturday. He played quarterback in West Alabama from 2000 to 2003.

Southern Alabama head coach Joey Jones chats with his players after their spring game in March at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

Joey Jones, former South Alabama head coach

The only coach not active on this list, Jones posted a 52-50 record from 2008 to 2017 in South Alabama. The former Alabama wide-out was the 2013 Sun Belt Coach of the Year. His last stop was as Special Teams Coordinator for the State of Mississippi from 2018-19.

Contact Ehsan Kassim at 256-300-5313 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Ehsan_Kassim.

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