Carroll McCray, Head Coach
Randall McCray, Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
Travis Cunningham, Inside Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator
Brett Hickman, Outside Linebackers/Special Teams Coordinator
Issac Mooring, Defensive Line
Rocco Adrian, Corners
BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb head football coach Carroll McCray officially announced his recently completed coaching staff on Tuesday.
Six of the nine coaches spent the 2012 season with McCray at North Greenville University. One coach, inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Travis Cunningham, has been with the Gardner-Webb program since 2001.
Offensive coordinator Dale Steele and defensive coordinator Randall McCray have a combined 50 years experience in college coaching, primarily at the Division I level, and with considerable time spent at BCS programs.
Three of the new offensive coaches spent last season at North Greenville: Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Line Coach Kenny Ray; Quarterbacks Coach Brett Nichols and Receivers Coach La'Donte Harris.
Ray, who played center at Southern Miss during Brett Favre's career in Hattiesburg, also has heavy experience in the Division I ranks and was Offensive Coordinator at North Greenville in 2012. Nichols spent time as an intern on the staff at Furman under Bobby Lamb and played quarterback at South Carolina under both Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier. Harris cut his teeth in coaching as an offensive graduate assistant at Clemson, where he played receiver from 2004-2007.
Three of the new defensive coaches spent last season at North Greenville: Defensive Line Coach Issac Mooring; Outside Linebackers Coach and Special Teams Coordinator Brett Hickman and Cornerbacks Coach Rocco Adrian.
Mooring gained experience coaching on both lines at North Carolina Wesleyan, before spending a year tutoring the defensive front in Tigerville, S.C. He played at the University of North Carolina, competing with future first rounders Julius Peppers and Ryan Sims on a deep Tar Heels' front four. Hickman spent four seasons coaching at North Greenville, helping the Crusaders to their magical, 11-3 run in 2011. He also coached in Conference USA as an undergraduate assistant and quality control coach at East Carolina under Skip Holtz. Adrian played and coached at Furman, spending three seasons on staff under Bobby Lamb.
Cunningham has been an integral part of the Gardner-Webb program since beginning his coaching career as an undergraduate assistant in 2001. He has mentored 19 linebackers or safeties to All-Conference honors during that time and has seen six of his pupils – all linebackers – earn Division I FCS All-America honors. Seven of the top-20 tacklers in Gardner-Webb history spent at least one season under Cunningham's watch.
Steele spent the past seven years as head coach at Campbell University, building the Fighting Camels football program back after a 50-year hiatus in the sport. His work paid off in 2011, as Campbell posted a 6-5 overall record and a 5-3 mark in Pioneer League play – including a 42-28 win over perennial league power San Diego.
Steele has coached in a wide variety of offensive systems, helping guide a high-powered passing attack during his days under Bill Lewis and Steve Logan at East Carolina in the early 1990s, and posting top-20 national rushing seasons three times in Buies Creek.
McCray most recently spent a season as special teams coordinator and outside linebackers/safeties coach at the University of Pittsburgh under Coach Todd Graham, but has an outstanding level of experience as a position coach at nearly every spot on the defensive side of the football – and at the highest levels of the college game.
McCray coached four seasons at the University of Wisconsin on defense, spent a season as defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State and has quality time at the FCS level at both Murray State and Illinois State.
McCray, the younger brother of head coach Carroll McCray, played college football at nearby Appalachian State in the late 1980s.
Gardner-Webb is tentatively set to begin spring practice on March 19 following spring break. The annual GWU Spring Game is tentatively set for Saturday, April 13.