Meridian Star

Sports

January 31, 2013

Stephens, EMCC adds four new assistants

SCOOBA —     East Mississippi Community College head football coach Buddy Stephens has completed his coaching staff for the upcoming 2013 season with the hiring of four assistant coaches. The additions of Jordan Lesley, Andy Greening, Tony Gilbert and Cade Wilkerson have been approved by EMCC President Dr. Rick Young and EMCC Vice President/Director of Athletics Mickey Stokes.

    Lesley and Greening, former Northwest Mississippi Community College assistants, make the trek from Senatobia bringing with them plenty of experience within the ranks of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC). Lesley takes over as the Lions’ defensive coordinator in place of William Jones, who left EMCC after five seasons to become the new head football coach at Pearl River Community College. Greening is charged with tutoring East Mississippi’s linebackers.

    Another replacement on Stephens’ defensive coaching staff, Gilbert is a former University of Georgia standout linebacker and NFL veteran who comes on board following a pair of one-year stops at SEC members Auburn and Georgia. With defensive line coaching duties and responsibilities as EMCC’s strength and conditioning coordinator, Gilbert succeeds Jimmy Brumbaugh, who was hired by new head coach Mark Stoops as the University of Kentucky’s defensive line coach.

    Though not new to the EMCC football coaching staff, Wilkerson has been elevated to full-time status after serving as a graduate assistant defensive coach a year ago for the Lions. The Booneville native will now work with EMCC’s running backs and special teams unit as well as attending to the program’s video scouting needs.

    Having divided the past six seasons between Northwest Mississippi and Kilgore College, Lesley most recently worked last season as the defensive line coach under former NWCC head coach Ricky Woods. He also served on the Rangers’ staff in the same capacity during the 2010 season prior to returning to Kilgore for his second stint at the Texas-based school. A native of Fulton, Lesley previously spent a total of six years at Troy University — one as an administrative graduate assistant and five as a member of the Trojans’ football team — before entering the junior college coaching ranks.

    With three decades of coaching experience at the collegiate and high school levels, Greening has coached the 13 previous seasons within the MACJC North Division ranks at league foes Northwest Mississippi and Northeast Mississippi. Most recently, he served the past three seasons as Woods’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at NWCC. Prior to that, Greening evenly split a 10-year stint at NEMCC by first working as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator for five years before being promoted in 2002 and serving as the school’s head football coach through the 2007 campaign. The Corinth native also previously spent 15 combined seasons as head football coach at three north Mississippi high schools.

    New to the Magnolia State and to the junior college ranks, Gilbert, a native of Macon, Ga., brings seven years of Southeastern Conference experience as well as his seven-year NFL background to the Scooba campus.  Following a successful five-year stay playing for the Georgia Bulldogs, the former All-SEC linebacker took his talents to the NFL with playing stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons. Upon retirement from the pro game, Gilbert returned to his alma mater for a one-year stop as the school’s assistant strength and conditioning coach before moving on to Auburn as a graduate assistant football coach a year ago.

    Wilkerson initially joined Stephens’ football coaching staff at EMCC in January 2012 as a graduate assistant defensive coach and recruiting assistant for the Lions.  Prior to earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi in 2011, Wilkerson served as a student assistant coach and video coordinator on Greening’s staff at Northeast Mississippi Community College, where he also had the unique distinction of assisting his father, former NEMCC offensive coordinator David Wilkerson, by working with the team’s running backs.

 

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