In addition to a new head coach for the 2019 season, Coastal Carolina has a new defensive coordinator in Chad Staggs.
He joined the Coastal football staff as the linebackers coach in February and was promoted to defensive coordinator this month after Marvin Sanders resigned to pursue other opportunities, according to CCU assistant athletic director for media relations Kevin Davis.
Sanders was hired as CCU’s defensive coordinator in December 2017, shortly after the 2017 season concluded, and has left the program before Jamey Chadwell’s first game as head coach.
In January, Chadwell was promoted to head coach from associate head coach and offensive coordinator to replace Joe Moglia, who resigned as head coach but retains the positions at CCU of chairman of athletics and executive director of football.
The Chants were 110th in FBS in total defense in Sanders’ one season in 2018.
“I think we’re definitely going to be more multiple [on defense],” said Chadwell on Monday at Sun Belt Conference Football Media Day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. “Last year we made some progress defensively but from Game 1 to Game 12 we were the same. You knew who we are and how we were going to fit things. I think this year you’ll see us more multiple with different fronts, different looks. . . . And I think you’ll see our guys play with more passion and purpose on defense.”
Staggs, who was Chadwell’s defensive coordinator at Charleston Southern from 2013-16, came to Coastal after two years as Furman’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
In 2018, Staggs helped the Paladins earn a share of the 2018 Southern Conference championship by going 6-2 in league play and winning six of their final seven games.
With a young Furman defense in 2017, Staggs’ squad produced a league-leading 34 sacks to help the Paladins to an 8-5 record and the program’s first Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff berth since 2013.
“I’m very excited about it, and it’s not just for me,” said CCU junior defensive end Tarron Jackson on Monday in New Orleans. “I’m more so excited for our secondary guys and everything because the defense we have now is a lot simpler to them. You can tell from my spring ball, everybody’s moving like way faster, and I feel that’s going to help us as a defense.”
Last season at Furman, Staggs mentored freshman bandit Adrian Hope, who finished the regular season with 32 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks, which led the FCS nationally. Hope was a finalist for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award, which is presented annually to the top freshman player in the FCS, and the Blanchard-Rogers Award, given by the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame to the Palmetto State’s top player.
Three Furman defensive players earned at least Coaches All-Southern Conference Second Team honors in 2018.
With Chadwell for four years at Charleston Southern, Staggs’ defenses helped the Buccaneers win 35 games, claim two Big South Conference championships and earn Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff berths in both 2015 and 2016.
In 2016, his defense ranked seventh nationally in total defense (294.1 yard per game), third in pass defense (158.8 ypg) and 18th in sacks (2.6 per game), and produced seven all-conference performers led by All-America defensive end Anthony Ellis.
In 2015, CSU ranked fourth nationally in passing defense (144.9 ypg), ninth in total defense (292.0 ypg), and 16th in third-down percentage defense (32.4 percent).
Staggs has coached under Chadwell for eight seasons prior to this year. He was the defensive coordinator under him at Delta State in 2012 after working in the same capacity at North Greenville for three years from 2009-11.
He spent five seasons as a graduate assistant at South Carolina (2003-07) under former national championship head coaches Steve Spurrier and Lou Holtz, working with the secondary, linebackers and scout teams.
He graduated from USC Upstate in 2000 with a degree in math education and also holds a master’s degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management from South Carolina. He and his wife, Kelli, have two children, Gracie and Jack.
Chad Staggs’ coaching history
2000-02: Lexington High (Assistant)
2003-07: South Carolina (Graduate Assistant)
2008: Charleston Southern (Defensive Backs/Special Teams)
2009-10: North Greenville (Defensive Coordinator)
2011: North Greenville (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator)
2012: Delta State (Defensive Coordinator)
2013-16: Charleston Southern (Defensive Coordinator)
2017-18: Furman (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
2019: Coastal Carolina (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)