From staff reports
Missouri Southern turned to a veteran coach to lead the Lions defense.
Wally Ake, who has 33 years of collegiate coaching experience, was announced on Tuesday as Missouri Southern’s defensive coordinator.
This past season, Ake served in the same capacity at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C.
“We are very excited to have Coach Ake added to our staff,” Missouri Southern coach Daryl Daye said in a press release. “He is a proven coach with an outstanding resume and is very highly respected throughout the coaching profession. He fits in with our format of having experienced veteran coaches at the coordinators positions. We are very pleased and proud to have him become a part of the MSSU family.”
In addition to his one season at Campbell University, Ake has coached at Liberty, Army, Western Michigan, Maryland, Rice, Clemson, Arkansas, Air Force and William & Mary. He served as defensive coordinator at Maryland and Rice.
As defensive coordinator at Maryland from 1997-2000, Ake helped the Terrapins rank as the No. 12 most improved defense in 1998. Maryland also was No. 13 in scoring defense and No. 14 in improved passing defense. Nine Maryland defenders during Ake’s tenure went on to NFL careers.
At Rice from 1994-96, Ake helped the Owls rank in the top 25 nationally in four defensive categories during the 1994 season. Rice shared the Southwestern Conference title that season.
Ake’s other duties over the years have included defensive backs, linebackers, special teams coordinator, defensive line and tight ends.
He was the secondary and linebackers coach at Liberty from 2009-11. In 2011, the Flames were among the defensive leaders in the Big South Conference in numerous categories. Liberty had the top scoring defense in the league (22.0) and ranked first in pass defensive efficiency (119.7).
Ake replaces Jay Thomas, who left the Lions to become head coach at Division I Northwestern State University.
The veteran coach takes over a Lion defense which was third in the MIAA in total yards allowed with 358.7 yards per game last season.