Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

May 1, 2013

KCU spring game this Saturday, Peterson names coaching staff


May 1, 2013 — Kentucky Christian University will be hosting its Spring Game (intra-squad) on Saturday, May 4, at 1:30 p.m. Admission is free.

While the program at KCU is entering its sixth season, it has been successful beyond expectation. The Knights finished 2012 ranked #25 in the NAIA. Not bad for a school of 550 that has a football tradition going back only to 2007.

But, it was a tough winter, with the surprise departure of second year head coach and former NFL wide receiver Mike Furrey, along with several of the coaches.

For some, this change foretold a reining in of the success at KCU. But this is not the expectation of the administration, and certainly was not the plans of the remaining coaches. The school selected quarterbacks coach Gene Peterson to the head spot, and he secured the core of the coaching staff to stay on.

Then Coach Peterson and the staff set to work to find the best talent and most experience they could to continue to develop the squad. He has 30 years of football coaching experience, mostly at the high school level, and he has been at KCU for the past two seasons.

Larry Blackburn, the defensive coordinator, in his third year at KCU, was an All-America at Fairmont State in 1967, on both offense and defense. Fairmont State College (now University) won the NAIA National Championship that year, with Larry and his brother Barry as the defensive ends. Larry was also a running back who set a school single season school record of 1,288 running yards.

Barry Blackburn, offensive line coach, special teams coordinator, and twin brother to Larry, was an All-WVIAC player at Fairmont State, and a leader on that national championship team. He retired from coaching high school football in Ohio after 40 years as a coach, and nearly as long as a teacher. He also coached at Salem International, and came to KCU prior to the 2011 season. He is Mike Furrey's father-in-law.

Alfred Gene “Jitter” Fields is the new strong safeties and defensive backs coach. He came to KCU directly from the Stars Football League in Florida, where he was a head coach.

James C. Harrell walked on at Florida, and played safety, defensive end, but was a stand out on special teams. He signed with the Denver Broncos, but also saw action with the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs. He played one year with the USFL Tampa Bay Bandits.

Al Clark has coached in the Washington, D.C. area for several years, and was a quarterback coach at Richmond University. He played at Virginia Tech, and was their starting quarterback and the team MVP in both 1997 and 1998. He led Tech to victory in the 1998 Music City Bowl, defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide 38-7, for Tech’s largest-ever margin of victory in a bowl game.

Matthew Johnson is the new running backs coach at KCU, and he came from William Penn University, where he coached linebackers and was the JV defensive coordinator. He was formerly a high school coach in Michigan, where he led his team to 330 yards per game and a state playoff spot.

Jermaine Keyes won a state championship in Mississippi, then played junior college football prior to transferring to Kentucky State University. He played for the NFL Cleveland Browns, the CFL Edmonton Eskimos and the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe.

Aaron Baker, the strength and conditioning coach, just completed an S&C internship with Texas Christian University. He was an all-conference wide receiver at Albion College in Michigan, and a triple-jumper. He has coached at Olivet College in Michigan and Louisburg College in North Carolina. He recently completed a Masters in coaching degree from Ohio University.

Pressley Marshall was an all-state wide receiver at Fleming County High School a few years ago, but a heart condition kept him from playing in college. He is entering his third year at KCU as the wide receivers coach.

James “Hoot” Gibson coaches the defensive line. His playing days as a linebacker and long snapper at Carson-Newman College ended after a neck injury, but he has coached in eastern Tennessee for the past few years.

Tyrone Young is the director of football operations and he was a lineman for KCU. He coached at East Carter in 2012.

Caleb Cox is a graduate assistant coach of wide receivers and played at KCU as well.

Between them, they have more than 160 years of coaching experience. This staff is seasoned, experienced, mature and continuing to develop the disciplinary excellence that is required to make a great squad. As of today, they have signed 40 new players, and have verbal commitments from many others.