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Mercer expands coaching staff
College football has two seasons: the one that connects late summer to fall to winter, and then the fiscal year.
The latter has plenty to do with the former, as Bobby Lamb has learned all too well.
The Mercer head football coach greeted the beginning of his second fiscal year with the Bears by officially adding four new assistant coaches to his staff.
He’s still waiting for the beginning of his first football season, but that’s coming in a little more than a year. For now, he’s happy to have filled nearly all of his assistant positions, adding four coaches to the staff Monday, the first business day of the fiscal year.
“We have been working with a skeletal staff for a year now,” Lamb said in a news release. “These additions will allow us to broaden our recruiting territory, as well as strengthen our identity as we continue to develop the program.”
The Bears expect nearly 90 players to show up for the first workouts in August, followed by a year of getting ready for the 2013 season in the Pioneer Football League.
When complete, there will be eight full-time coaches on the staff, with four on each side of the line. Lamb is the offensive coordinator, while Mike Kolakowski has been named the defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and assistant head coach.
Kolakowski came on board Monday, along with offensive assistant Carter Barfield, secondary coach Mitch Doolittle and offensive line coach Casey Vogt.
Kolakowski is the veteran of the newcomers, with experience on the Division I and II levels, as well as helping to start NAIA program Ave Maria in Florida.
His résumé includes stops at Cincinnati, Central Michigan, Ohio, Maine, William and Mary, Morehead State and California (Pa.).
Barfield played for Lamb at Furman before beginning his coaching career as a grad assistant at Tennessee-Martin. He held the same position the past two seasons at Kentucky.
Doolittle has a comparatively short move. He coached linebackers at Savannah State last season, and has been a grad assistant at Alabama-Birmingham – under former head coach and Maconite Neil Callaway – and Georgia.
Vogt spent five seasons as offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Colgate, helping the Raiders to the Patriot League title in 2008. He coached tight ends and helped with the offensive line at Youngstown State, and has also coached at Gannon (Pa.), Slippery Rock and Tulane.
Finalizing the staff has been predictably unpredictable for an upstart program.
It was right at about 51 weeks ago that Lamb introduced Carroll McCray and Jeff Farrington as his first two assistant coaches, Farrington as defensive coordinator and McCray as assistant head coach and offensive line coach.
Both had been with him at Furman, McCray for four seasons and Farrington for nearly a decade.
But even before the three worked their first National Signing Day at Mercer together in early February, things were already in flux.
In mid-January, McCray was named as head coach at Division II North Greenville. Two weeks after signing day, Farrington was introduced as the new defensive coordinator at Virginia Military Institute
He replaced them, in bodies, with Justin Brown and Grant Cain in early March. Brown is a Warner Robins grad who played noseguard at Furman for Lamb and graduated in 2007. Cain, who played at Catawba, came from Coastal Carolina.
“We have a group with diverse backgrounds and experience,” Lamb said in the release. “We have secured a number of good coaches from quality programs, and they have all been successful both on and off the field.”
Mercer football staff
Head coach/offensive coordinator: Bobby Lamb
*Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/outside linebackers: Mike Kolakowski
*Offensive line: Casey Vogt
*Offense: Carter Barfield
Defense: Justin Brown
Defensive line: Grant Cain
*Secondary: Mitch Doolittle
* Hiring announced Monday
By MICHAEL A. LOUGH, Macon Telegraph