Missouri State’s new football coach has the team of coaches he wants sharing the sideline in the upcoming season.
Head Coach Bobby Petrino named nine new assistant coaches for the upcoming year:
- Ryan Beard, Defensive Coordinator & Safeties coach
- Nick Petrino, Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks coach
- Skyler Cassity, Outside Linebackers Coach
- Jeremy Darveau, Offensive Line Coach & Run Game Coordinator
- Nelson Fishback, Tight Ends Coach & Co-Special Teams Coordinator
- Ronnie Fouch, Running Backs Coach, Recruiting Coordinator, and Co-Special Teams Coordinator
- William Gay, Defensive Backs Coach
- Reggie Johnson, Inside Linebackers Coach
- L.D. Scott, Defensive Line Coach & Run Game Coordinator
Petrino kept one coach from the previous staff: Stephen Bravo-Brown will be wide receivers coach.
The coaches will be meeting fans of the Bears at a special Signing Day Party at the PRIME Overtime Club inside JQH Arena on February 5, starting at 5 p.m.. The event is free.
Missouri State’s Athletic Department released the following biographies of the new coaches:
RYAN BEARD (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
Ryan Beard joins the Missouri State staff after spending the 2019 season at Central Michigan as the special teams and safeties coach there.
He joined coach Jim McElwain’s staff in February of 2019 and helped lead the Chippewas to an 8-6 campaign on a defensive secondary that created 13 interceptions.
Beard served as an assistant during the 2017-18 seasons at Louisville, starting as the defensive backs coach and in quality control before moving on to become the Cardinals’ linebackers coach and their co-special teams coordinator. Among those who Beard coached at Louisville are Jaire Alexander, who was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the NFL draft; 2014 Jim Thorpe Award winner Gerod Holliman; and James Sample, a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
As the defensive backs coach at Western Kentucky in 2016, Beard helped lead the Hilltoppers to the Conference USA championship and a win in the Boca Raton Bowl.
As a defensive back at Western Kentucky from 2007-11, Beard was a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection and was named to the league’s All-Freshman quad and its All-Academic team. In 2011, he earned the Western Kentucky Iron Man Award.
Beard holds two degrees from Western Kentucky: a bachelor of science in Business Management, and a master of science in Recreation and Sport Administration.
SKYLER CASSITY (Outside Linebackers)
Skyler Cassity begins his full-time coaching tenure working with Missouri State’s outside linebackers after spending the last two-and-a-half years at Texas Tech.
Cassity worked directly with the Red Raider defensive backs at TTU under coaches Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Wells. The Red Raiders were among the most opportunistic defenses in the country during Cassity’s first season on staff in 2017, leading the Big 12 Conference and ranking sixth nationally with 29 forced turnovers.
Prior to his arrival in Lubbock, Cassity spent the 2016 season at Texas State where he was promoted from defensive intern to graduate assistant in only a year’s time. Cassity worked primarily with the Bobcats’ defensive line and also assisted in recruiting as Texas State signed the top class in the Sun Belt Conference in 2017.
He worked as a student assistant coach and recruiting assistant from 2014-16 at his alma mater, Auburn. Cassity assisted primarily with Auburn’s running backs as the Tigers won 25 games and played in three bowl games in that span, including the 2017 Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Cassity worked with three 1,000-yard rushers as part of head coach Gus Malzahn’s dynamic offense at Auburn, including a pair of SEC rushing champions in NFL fifth-round draft pick Cameron Artis-Payne (2014) and Kamryn Pettway (2016). In addition, Peyton Barber also rushed for 1,017 yards in 2015 before signing an NFL free agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A high school quarterback at Riverwood International Charter School in Atlanta, Cassity quickly gained a passion for coaching after he was permanently sidelined prior to his junior year. His father, Mike, spent 40 years coaching at the collegiate level, serving as the defensive coordinator at the likes of Kentucky, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Baylor and Cincinnati. A former football and wrestling student-athlete at Kentucky, Mike Cassity coached in every major conference except the Pac-12 during his career as he was recognized by several publications as one of the nation’s top recruiters.
Likewise, two of Cassity’s siblings went on to play football collegiately as well as his older brother Hunter starred at safety for Samford University, while his younger brother Braden played at Oklahoma State. He also has an older sister, Brooke.
He earned his degree in Business Administration, Management from Auburn in 2016 and was a Dean’s Honor Roll standout. He also played four years of lacrosse at Auburn. He later earned his master’s in Sports Management from Texas Tech in May of 2019.
JEREMY DARVEAU (Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator)
Jeremy Darveau joins the MSU staff with more than a dozen years of college coaching experience, most-recently with a 2019 stint as the offensive line coach and running-game coordinator at South Florida.
Darveau started at USF for coach Charlie Strong in January of 2019 and helped lead the Bulls to a running attack that yielded 4.4 yards per carry with the team’s top two ball carriers each netting more than 5.1 yards per attempt.
He worked the previous four seasons (2015-18) at Valdosta State University, the last three under head coach Kerwin Bell. He helped lead the Blazers to the 2018 NCAA Division II championship with the nation’s No. 1 ranked scoring offense in the division (52.0 ppg). In his four seasons at VSU, the Blazers were 36-10 record with three Division II playoff appearances and conference and national championships during his four seasons. The 2018 VSU offense led the nation in scoring (52.0 ppg), ranked second in first downs (341) and was fourth in total offense (523.9 ypg), red-zone offense (.901) and pass efficiency (167.37). The Blazers scored 728 points on the year, the most in NCAA Division II history, as they posted 7,334 yards (3,676 rushing/3,658 passing) and 7.9 yards per play on the year. Senior offensive linemen Jeremy King was the runner-up for the Gene Upshaw Award, presented to the most outstanding Division II lineman, and three offensive linemen earned first team all-region and all-conference honors.
Prior to joining the Valdosta State program, Darveau spent the 2014 season as an offensive quality control coach at Florida, helping the Gators’ offense to 12 new offensive records and a Birmingham Bowl victory. He began his coaching career in 2008 at Southwest Minnesota State, where he served as a tight ends and running backs graduate assistant coach for two seasons (2008-09) while earning a master’s degree in business administration. He was promoted to offensive line coach/run game coordinator there in 2010, serving in that role for three seasons (2010-12) before being promoted again to offensive coordinator (2013). The program reached its first-ever bowl game in 2013 and during his tenure players posted over 40 program offensive records and seven league records.
During his career, Darveau has developed 12 all-conference players and guided numerous All-Americans, personally developing three.
Originally from Hilton Head Island, S.C., he earned a bachelor of science degree in Sociology from Louisville, where he lettered in the 2004 and 2005 seasons as an offensive tackle on teams coached by Bobby Petrino. He started seven games as a junior and 12 as a senior as the Cardinals posted a 20-4 record over the two seasons. Prior to playing at Louisville, Darveau spent two seasons at Kentucky, redshirting one, and a season at Dodge City Community College.
Following his collegiate career, he went on to play with the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe and the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Football League.
NELSON FISHBACK (Tight Ends/Co-Special Teams Coordinator)
Nelson Fishback joined the Missouri State staff after serving the 2019 season as wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. He was in charge of all six special team units and was pivotal in game planning, strategy and opponent scouting.
Prior to his season at Snow College, Fishback was the interim quarterbacks coach as well as an offensive and special teams graduate assistant at Louisville for the 2018 season.
Fishback previously served as an interim offensive assistant coach and worked with wide receivers coach at his alma mater Western Kentucky University from 2016-17. He was also a student assistant for the Hilltoppers for the 2016 and 2017 seasons, helping WKU to a CUSA title in 2016 and victories in the Boca Raton Bowl and Cure Bowl. The 2016 Hilltoppers were the nation’s top-scoring offense at 45.5 points per game.
As a quarterback at Western Kentucky from 2013-16, Fishback was a member of one of the top-scoring offenses in the country. During the 2015 season, WKU ranked in the top 5 in the Nation in offense. Western Kentucky finished the 2015 season ranked 24th in The AP Top 25, and finished 12-2 with a win in the Miami Beach Bowl over South Florida.
Fishback holds two degrees from Western Kentucky: a bachelor of science in Sports Management and a master of science in Recreation and Sport Administration.
RONNIE FOUCH (Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator/Co-Special Teams Coordinator)
Ronnie Fouch joins the Missouri State after spending the 2019 season as tight ends coach at Florida Tech University in Melbourne, Fla.
He was part of a Panther offensive mastery that engineered just under 400 yards per game of total offense.
Fouch served as the quarterbacks coach for the Salt Lake Stallions from 2018-19, mentoring Josh Woodrum to a league-best 65-percent completion percentage in the Alliance of American Football.
From 2015-18, he served as the offensive quality control coach at Louisville, assisting with the special teams and quarterbacks personnel for the Cardinals. He recruited 10 states and helped mentor a number of standout players, including first-round NFL Draft pick Lamar Jackson.
Before joining the Cardinals’ staff, Fouch worked as a football recruiting specialist at Georgia State University from 2013-15. He handling recruiting and player personnel after serving as the graduate assistant for the Panthers and his former coach Trent Miles. He coached two NFL wide receivers at GSU and was also instrumental in the club’s national recruiting strategy.
Fouch played college football at Washington and then transferred to Indiana State where he was one of the Valley’s top quarterbacks during his tenure. He started 22 games in Terre Haute, completing 322-of-544 passes for 4,316 yards and 38 touchdowns. The Sycamores were 6-5 in both of his seasons as the starter, including engineering an overtime victory against Missouri State in 2010. ISU was also ranked in the FCS Top 25 most of the 2011 season.
He earned an invitation to the Chicago Bear’s mini-camp after earning his degree in Criminology from Indiana State in 2012.
WILLIAM GAY (Defensive Backs)
Gay comes to Missouri State after spending the past year as a coaching intern with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The former NFL standout worked with a variety of duties on the Steelers’ staff, including nutritional strategies, stretching and mobility work, performance benchmarks and performance-based drills.
After being drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Gay enjoyed 12 seasons in the NFL with Pittsburgh, Arizona and the New York Giants. He spent the 2007-11 seasons with the Steelers, was with the Cardinals in 2012 where he started 15 games, and then returned to Pittsburgh from 2013-17. He signed with the Giants in 2018 before retiring from the league later that year.
He helped Pittsburgh win Super Bowl XLIII over the Arizona Cardinals, was a nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2014 and was a co-captain on the Steelers’ squad in 2015 and 2016. The native of Tallahassee, Fla., accounted for 467 total tackles in the pro ranks with 13 interceptions, 87 passes defended and 7.0 sacks.
Gay played college football at the University of Louisville where he played in 46 games recording 134 tackles.
He attended James S. Rickards High School in Tallahassee where he played quarterback, wide receiver and safety for the Raiders. He racked up over 1,200 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. He notched 1,035 yards and seven scores passing, 1,237 yards and 11 scores receiving and 82 tackles, 14 pass breakups and nine interceptions at defensive back as a senior when he was named team co-MVP and earned first team All-Big Bend Area honors.
He was also a standout in track and field. In 2002, he placed eighth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.61 seconds at the Capital City Classic and was also clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash.
REGGIE JOHNSON (Inside Linebackers)
Reggie Johnson comes to Springfield after serving the last three seasons as defensive line coach at Purdue.
His tenure with the Boilermakers netted five All-Big Ten Conference selections, including true freshman defensive end George Karlaftis in 2019 who tallied 7.5 sacks and 17.0 tackles for loss.
Johnson joined the Boilermakers after spending the 2016 season at Western Kentucky, where he coached the defensive ends. The Hilltoppers’ four primary defensive ends racked up 98 total tackles, including 22 for loss and 11 sacks, with 6 pass breakups.
Prior to Western Kentucky, Johnson spent two seasons (2014-15) as defensive coordinator, linebackers and defensive line coach at Alabama A&M, two seasons as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at UAB (2012-13) and four seasons as linebackers coach at Arkansas (2008-11).
also spent time with head coach Bobby Petrino previously, serving four
seasons as linebackers coach (2004-07), one season as defensive line
coach (2003) and two years as a graduate
assistant (1997-98) at Louisville, his alma mater. Johnson had a
three-year stint at Alabama A&M, where he served as special teams
coordinator and defensive coach (1998-99) and inside linebackers coach
(2000) and spent two seasons at UTEP as defensive ends
(2001) and linebackers (2002) coach.
He has coached in 10 bowl games, including the 2005 Gator Bowl, 2006 Orange Bowl, 2010 Sugar Bowl and 2011 Cotton Bowl.
At Louisville, he helped mentor consensus All-American Elvis Dumervil in 2003, as well as freshman and future first-round NFL Draft pick Amobi Okoye. Dumervil was selected in the fourth round by the Denver Broncos in the 2006 NFL Draft and went on to a 12-year NFL career with five Pro Bowl appearances and a record-setting 17-sack season in Baltimore. Okoye, who was the youngest player ever drafted at the age of 19 when he was selected by the Houston Texans with the 10th overall pick in 2007, played six seasons in the NFL.
Johnson was a four-year letterman as a linebacker at Louisville from 1987-90. As a senior, he played on a team that went 10-1-1, including a 34-7 victory over Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1996 and a master’s degree in education from Louisville in 1998.
Johnson and his wife, Eulice, have two children, Sydney and Jordan.
NICK PETRINO (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
Nick Petrino comes to Springfield after a short coaching tenure at UT Martin and joins his father Bobby Petrino on the Missouri State staff.
He spent the 2019 season as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at UT Martin where he mentored the Skyhawks’ second OVC Freshman of the Year in quarterback John Bachus III. A finalist for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award, given to the nation’s top freshman, Bachus ranked nationally in passing yards (2,549), passing yards per completion (13.56), passing touchdowns (18) and total offense (218.1 ypg). He also was tabbed to the OVC All-Newcomer squad while notching four OVC Newcomer of the Week and a pair of OVC Player of the Week honors. The Skyhawks also ranked second in the OVC in pass efficiency (144.7).
Before his tenure at UT Martin, Petrino served on the coaching staff at the University of Louisville under his father, Bobby Petrino. During his tenure at Louisville from 2015-18, the Cardinals offense exploded to set several program records behind the dynamic play of Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Jackson totaled a school-record eight 100-yard rushing games, while setting a school record with 1,571 yards on the ground and 21 touchdowns. He nearly duplicated his award-winning performance in 2017 by totaling 45 touchdowns and accounting for 5,261 yards of total offense. The third-year coach saw Jackson improve as a passer — completing a career-high 59.1 percent of his passes and throwing for 3,660 yards and 27 scores. Jackson was later drafted 32nd overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
He also spent the 2014-15 seasons as a graduate assistant with the Cardinals, where he aided in the development of Louisville quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Petrino was a student assistant at Western Kentucky during the 2013 season, where he worked alongside the quarterback coach and the offensive staff.
Petrino began his collegiate coaching career as a student coach at the Arkansas in 2010-11, assisting with the development of the quarterbacks as the Razorbacks finished 11-2 overall, including a win in the 2011 Cotton Bowl.
A high school star, Petrino played quarterback at Trinity High School in St. Matthews, Ky. and helped the Shamrocks win back-to-back state titles in 2005 and 2006. He spent a semester at Georgetown (Ky.) College and eventually joined his father at Arkansas as a walk-on.
He graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2014.
L.D. SCOTT (Defensive Line/Run Game Coordinator)
L.D. Scott joined the Missouri State staff in 2020 after building a reputation of one of the country’s top recruiters and defensive line specialists.
He spent the 2014-18 seasons at Louisville, coaching the defensive line at his alma mater and developing five NFL players in his tenure. His 2014 and 2015 defensive lines both finished in the top 20 nationally against the run.
Scott was influential in the development of All-ACC performer Sheldon Rankins, who finished his career in the school’s top 10 for tackles for loss and sacks and was the No. 12 pick in the first round by the New Orleans Saints. Behind the play of Rankins and fellow all-ACC honoree B.J. Dubose, the Cardinals finished sixth in the country against the run in 2014 and 10th in total defense en route to a 9-4 mark and an appearance in the Belk Bowl.
Dubose was also an NFL draft pick as a sixth-round selection of Minnesota in 2015.
Scott served one season as Western Kentucky’s defensive ends coach for head coach Petrino in 2013-14. He worked with defensive line coach Don Dunn to craft together a lineup that saw much of its unit depart due to graduation. The new lineup improved to a point where it limited its final four conference opponents to just 105 yards per game on the ground.
Scott spent the 2011 season as an intern with Arkansas under coach Petrino working with the defensive tackles, before moving to a graduate assistant role in 2012 working with the defensive line.
As a player at Louisville, Scott was a four-year letterman, putting together a 41-tackle season in his senior year of 2009. He had at least 20 tackles in each of his final three seasons and played a role in Louisville’s 2006 season, when the Cardinals went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl.
After his stellar collegiate career, Scott played one season in the Canadian Football League with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2010 before starting his coaching career in July 2010, when he worked as the defensive line coach at Seneca High in Louisville.
Scott graduated with a degree in communications from Louisville in 2009. He is married to the former Kelsey Petrino and the couple has three children, Braylon, Emmett and Brianna.