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When Brock Spack was named the 20th head coach in Illinois State football history prior to the 2009 season, he saw Illinois State football as a “sleeping giant” – a program that had all of the tools and resources to be a powerhouse in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), but was lacking the foresight to see itself that way.

After four appearances in the FCS playoffs in the last five seasons and back-to-back Missouri Valley Football Conference championships in 2014-15, it looks as if the giant has been awoken. A two-time finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, Spack has changed the culture of Redbird football.

The Redbirds advanced to the postseason for the third year in a row in 2016, something that had previously not been done in school history. ISU also knocked off a Big Ten Conference foe for the first time in school history, when the Redbirds defeated Northwestern 9-7 at Ryan Field in the second game of the season.

The Redbirds went on to win four out of their last five games to earn their spot and a road game at Central Arkansas. Following the season, senior lineman Mark Spelman earned All-American honors and was named the Rimington Award winner as the top FCS center.

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GREG MCLAIN Associate Head Coach/Tight Ends, H-Backs

Greg “Moose” McLain begins his seventh season as a member of the Redbird coaching staff, and his second as the team’s associate head coach. McLain is in his fourth season in charge of the team’s tight ends and H-backs.

McLain’s work with tight end James O’Shaughnessy and helped the former Redbird gain attention from the professional ranks.

In 2014, O’Shaughnessy caught 29 passes for 544 yards and tied for the team lead with nine receiving touchdowns. He averaged 18.8 yards per catch and caught of pair of touchdowns in Illinois State’s loss to North Dakota State in the FCS Championship. Those numbers helped O’Shaughnessy get drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Before coming to ISU, McLain spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Greenbrier High School in Evans, Georgia, and worked as the team’s offensive coordinator during the final two seasons.

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CODY DETI Assistant Coach/Secondary & Passing Game Coordinator

Cody Deti begins his seventh season with the Illinois State football coaching staff and will continue to oversee the Redbird secondary.

During his time working with the Redbird defensive backs, Deti helped safety Ben Ericksen earn All-America honors and Mike Banks and Dontae McCoy become All-MVFC selections.

Ericksen was named a Third-Team All-America selection by The Sports Network and the Associated Press and selected to the College Sporting News 2012 Fabulous Fifty FCS All-America Team. That same season, Ericksen earned All-MVFC First-Team honors, after he finished the season ranked No. 4 in the country in interceptions per game and led the MVFC with seven.

In 2014, Banks ended his illustrious career with the Redbirds and is one of the most durable players in ISU history, having started every game of his career (50 total). He earned All-MVFC Second-Team honors as a cornerback and finished his career with the third-most passes defended in ISU history (46).

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KHENON HALL Assistant Coach/Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator

Former Redbird defensive back Khenon Hall is in his fourth season at Illinois State, working with the team’s safeties, defensive backs, and running backs as well as acting as the Recruiting Coordinator.

Hall served as a mentor for 2014 senior captain Dontae McCoy, who anchored the Redbird defense from the safety spot. McCoy earned All-MVFC Honorable Mention honors in his final season, after recording 67 tackles and breaking up four passes in his final season at ISU in 2014. He also helped Alec Kocour earn MVFC honorable mention honors, despite playing in just nine games due to an injury.

Hall returned to Illinois State, after serving as a graduate assistant at New Mexico working with defensive backs during the 2011-12 season. Prior to that, Hall spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as a student assistant at Illinois State and assisted with the Redbirds’ secondary and defensive line.

He started six games for Illinois State in 2008, before suffering a career-ending neck injury. He would then go on to earn his degree from Illinois State in University Studies in 2010.

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ALICIA MAYS Director of Football Operations

Alicia Mays is in her second season at Illinois State as Director of Football Operations. In her role, Mays is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the program, handling team logistics, team schedules, team travel, practice preparation, overseeing the football budget as well as supervising the Redbirds’ recruiting efforts and support staff.

Prior to her move to Illinois State, Mays served as the Kansas softball program’s first director of operations beginning in 2012. Mays was a collegiate standout on the softball diamond at Purdue and went on to work for Purdue Sports Properties, prior to working with the Purdue softball team as the gameday operations manager in 2011 before joining the Kansas Staff.

Mays graduated from Purdue with a degree in organizational leadership and supervision in 2009 and received her master’s degree in sport management in 2013 from Kansas. She and her husband, Jon, reside in Bloomington, Illinois, with their dog, Kirby.

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Kurt Beathard Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

A familiar face will returns in 2018 to lead the Illinois State football offensive attack, as head coach Brock Spack announced the hiring of Kurt Beathard as the program’s offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.

Beathard previously served as the Redbirds’ offensive coordinator from 2014-15, presiding over two of the most successful offensive seasons in Illinois State football history. In his first season leading the Redbird offense in 2014, Beathard’s offensive unit set 15 single-season school records, including points (574), total touchdowns (76), total offense yards (6,954) and rushing yards (3,619). Illinois State finished the season ranked No. 4 nationally in passing efficiency (155.58), No. 9 in scoring offense (38.3) and No. 17 in total offense (463.6) and powered its way to a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference championship and an appearance in the FCS National Championship game in Frisco, Texas.

Quarterback Tre Roberson earned Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer of the Year honors in his first season with the Redbirds. A transfer from Indiana, Roberson finished the season ranked in the top 5 in the FCS in five different offensive categories, including passing touchdowns with 30.

The 2015 season saw the Redbirds earn a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference championship for the second-straight year with a 9-2 regular season record and a 7-1 record in conference play. ISU went on to finish the season 10-3 overall, marking just the third time in school history the Redbirds had won 10 or more games in a season, and headed into the FCS playoffs as the No. 2 overall seed. That season, the Redbirds finished in the top five of the ISU record books in rushing touchdowns (39), points (451) and rushing yards per game (234.2).

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Travis Niekamp Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers

The Illinois State football program has found its new defensive coordinator, as head coach Brock Spack announced the addition of former ISU defensive lineman and Redbird assistant coach Travis Niekamp.

Niekamp, who previously served as outside linebacker, safeties and defensive tackles coach for head coach Todd Berry at Illinois State (1998-99), returns as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for the Redbirds.

Niekamp recently spent two seasons as part of the coaching staff at Montana, serving as the Grizzlies’ special teams coordinator and linebackers coach. He joined head coach Bob Stitt’s staff in January of 2016, and in his first season at Montana, Niekamp coached linebacker Josh Buss, who finished the 2016 season as Montana’s leading tackler. Buss posted 20 tackles for loss, a national best among sophomores, and earned a place on the HERO Sports FCS Sophomore Defensive All-America first team.

Prior to heading to Montana, Niekamp served as Louisiana-Monroe’s co-defensive coordinator in 2015 for Berry, as well as the Warhawks’ special teams coordinator and linebackers coach from 2013-2015. In 2012, Niekamp served as ULM’s tight ends coach.

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Brian Anderson Assistant Coach/Wide Receivers

Illinois State football head coach Brock Spack bolstered his offensive coaching, with the hiring of former Minnesota assistant coach Brian Anderson as the team’s new wide receivers coach in 2018.

Anderson recently spent his six seasons as an assistant coach on the Gopher Football staff, serving as wide receivers coach from 2014-16 after leading the Gophers' running backs from 2011-2013.

Minnesota receivers flourished under Anderson in 2015. Sixteen different Gophers, seven of them receivers, combined to catch 251 passes for 2,793 yards and 15 touchdowns. The 251 receptions were the most by a Minnesota team since 2008 when it had 258. Gopher receivers combined to catch 158 passes (62.9 percent) for 1,794 yards with 12 touchdowns. Anderson coached senior KJ Maye to a record-breaking season in 2015. Maye, who started his Minnesota career as a running back, caught 73 passes for 773 yards and five touchdowns. His 73 receptions rank second all-time (most ever for a senior) in a single-season behind Eric Decker's 84 receptions in 2008 and his 773 yards are the most for a Gopher since Decker had 1,074 in 2008.

Under Anderson's direction in 2014, Isaac Fruechte recorded Minnesota's first 100-yard receiving game since 2012. In 2013, Anderson helped produce the Gophers' first 1,000-yard running back since 2006. In 13 games, junior David Cobb rushed for 1,202 yards to become the first back to rush for more than 1,000 yards (and 1,200 yards) since Amir Pinnix. In 2012, Anderson coached Donnell Kirkwood, who churned out 926 yards during his redshirt sophomore year.

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Mike Banks Assistant Coach/Asst. Secondary

Former Illinois State all-conference defensive back Mike Banks will joins the 2018 coaching staff as an assistant coach.

Banks has worked the previous two seasons with the ISU football staff as a graduate manager, while working towards completion of his master’s degree. In his new role, Banks will work with the Redbird outside linebackers.

Banks was a four-year letterwinner for the Redbirds (2011-14) as a cornerback and started all 50 career games he played in. A 2014 All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Second-Team selection and MVFC All-Academic Team honorable-mention selection, Banks was instrumental in the Redbirds’ journey to the FCS National Championship game and ranked 17th in the FCS that season with 19 passes defended. He ranks No. 3 all-time at ISU in career passes defended with 46.

In his final year with the Redbirds, Banks ranked third on the team with a career-high 93 tackles, broke up 17 passes and intercepted two more to help ISU win its first MVFC title since 1999. The University Park, Illinois, native had one of the best games of his career, with 10 tackles, a sack, two tackles-for-loss and a game-sealing fourth-down stop in the semifinal win at New Hampshire.

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Harold Etheridge Assistant Coach/Offensive Line

Illinois State head coach Brock Spack has brought back another familiar face to join his staff, as former ISU assistant coach Harold Etheridge has been hired as the program’s offensive line coach in 2018.

A veteran coach with more than two decades of experience, Etheridge returns to Normal after previously spending nine seasons as the offensive line coach for the Redbirds in the late 1990s. During that time, Etheridge helped the Redbirds earn a spot in the NCAA FCS playoffs in 1998, before winning the Gateway Conference title and reaching the FCS semifinal game in 1999. In 2000, he moved with former ISU head coach Todd Berry to Army and coached the Black Knights’ offensive line for four seasons.

Most recently, Etheridge spent four seasons at Georgia State after joining head coach Trent Miles’ coaching staff in 2013 as the offensive line coach and assistant head coach. Etheridge previously worked with Miles for three seasons at Indiana State (2010-12), helping the Sycamores post three consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the 1960s.

While at Georgia State, Etheridge’s offensive front blocked for record-setting quarterback Nick Arbuckle the last two seasons, helping him lead the Sun Belt Conference in passing and rank in the top 15 nationally both years. Etheridge also helped develop offensive tackle Ulrick John into a NFL prospect. John was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

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Brian Hendricks Assistant Coach/Defensive Line

Brian Hendricks joins the Illinois State coaching staff as the team's defensive line coach in 2018.

Hendricks comes to Illinois State, after serving as an assistant coach at Montana for the past three seasons. There, he worked alongside new ISU defensive coordinator Travis Niekamp, who will now coach the inside linebackers for the Redbirds.

The Burlington, Colorado, native spent the last two seasons as the Grizzlies’ defensive line coach, after serving as the defensive ends coach in his first season at Montana in 2015. In Hendricks’ first year at UM coaching the defensive ends, he coached the 2015 STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year Tyrone Holmes to a national-best 18 sacks.

Before arriving at Montana, Hendricks was an assistant coach for Griz mentor Bob Stitt at the Colorado School of Mines working with the defensive line. In 2014, Mines had an overall record of 10-2 and tied for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title with an 8-1 league mark. The Orediggers participated in the NCAA playoffs, and their 10-2 record was the 13th winning season in 15 years for Coach Stitt, and also added to the program’s record with an eighth consecutive winning season.

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Kye Stewart Assistant Coach/Outside Linebackers

Former Illinois State All-American linebacker Kye Stewart returns to his alma mater to join the football coaching staff as the team’s outside linebackers coach.

Stewart comes to Illinois State by way of Alcorn State, where he spent the last two seasons with the Braves as their defensive line coach.

The Braves improved to No. 2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in pass efficiency defense (114.9) and No. 3 in scoring defense (21.8 ppg) and rushing defense (133.1 ypg) in 2017. The Braves won their fourth-consecutive SWAC East Division title and became the first team in the history of the league to play in four consecutive SWAC Championship games.

Prior to his move to Alcorn State, Stewart worked for three seasons as a member of the Memphis football coaching staff, serving in the role as a graduate assistant coach on the defensive side of the football. He was mentored by head coach Justin Fuente, who was offensive coordinator at ISU during Stewart’s career, and Galen Scott, who was his defensive coordinator while playing for the Redbirds.

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