The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 16, 2014

Lions football makes changes to coaching staff

— Aaron DeBerry, who has served as the defensive coordinator for Independence Community College the past two seasons, has been hired to coach Missouri Southern’s defensive line.

Missouri Southern head coach Daryl Daye on Thursday announced the hire of DeBerry, as well as the resignations of assistants Wally Ake and Bob Howell.

Ake had served as the Lions’ defensive coordinator for one season. A coach with 34 years of experience at the collegiate level, Ake previously had served as the defensive coordinator for such schools as Maryland and Rice.

Howell had served as co-offensive coordinator. In his two years with the Lions. He helped direct a Lions’ triple option attack that broke the school record for rushing yards each season. Daye said Ake and Howell both plan to move closer to family.

H.T. Kinney will remain on as the Lions’ assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.

Daye said DeBerry is someone he has been trying to hire for years.

“I recruited Aaron to Liberty (University) out of high school in 1998,” Daye said. “His high school coach was Johnny White, who I had coached. Aaron was a great player there. I’ve known him since high school.

“He’s a guy I know is going to be loyal. He’s a very good recruiter. It’s going to be good to have someone who has coached at a Kansas junior college for recruiting.”

During DeBerry’s two seasons as defensive coordinator for Independence Community College, 15 of his players went on to sign scholarships with four-year schools.

He previously spent six seasons as a high school coach. DeBerry served as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga., for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He was co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Va., from 2006-09.

DeBerry was a four-year starter at NCAA Division I FCS school Liberty from 1999-2003. He holds three records at Liberty, including career sacks (26), most sacks in a game (4) and career tackles for loss (44). He finished his playing career with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League in 2004.

In other coaching changes, Chandler Tygard will move from the defensive line to the wide receivers, and Rodney Freeman will move from wide receivers to running backs.

Daye said he anticipates adding two coaches to the staff.

The Lions need to replace offensive line coach Derek Moore, who was fatally shot on a Joplin movie theater parking lot in November. Moore coached the Lions for only one season, but quickly gained respect among his players and fellow coaches.

Daye said it has been an emotional time trying to find Moore’s replacement.

“It’s definitely been the hardest hire I’ve had to make,” Daye said. “It’s difficult. You know who you want. You want him, but you can’t have him. In a way, you can’t find anybody good enough. It’s such a tough thing to get over. We’re going to make sure we get the right guy.”

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