Veteran quarterbacks Coach Kyle Manley is taking over as Northwestern State’s new offensive coordinator while the Demons have added two new staff members, offensive line coach Jeff Bowen and linebackers coach Jake Olsen, head football coach Jay Thomas said Tuesday.
The personnel moves are all subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, which includes NSU.
Manley, who has been on the Demons’ staff since Thomas took over as head coach for the 2013 season, will remain as quarterbacks coach and takes over game-planning and play-calling duties. Ben Norton, who was NSU’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, has resigned to accept another position, and will be replaced as line coach by Bowen, who was an All-Southland Conference lineman under Norton at Texas State and later coached the Demon offensive line with Norton in 2014 and 2015.
Bowen spent 2016 as the offensive line coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, contributing to an offense that averaged 41 points and 529 yards per game, 205 on the ground and 324 passing. Olsen was a defensive graduate assistant during the last two seasons at UL Monroe.
“Kyle has been very involved in the game-planning and play-calling since he’s been with us and has done very good work in every role we’ve handed him. This is a logical and seamless promotion that he’s earned,” said Thomas. “He knows our personnel, he knows our incoming players, and there’s no real transition whatsoever.
“There is very little transition with bringing Jeff back. He helped recruit a good number of our players, and he has coached most of our offensive linemen during the two years he was here with Coach Norton,” said Thomas. “I want to say thanks to Coach Norton. It was a pleasure to work with him. He did a great job here, especially with our offensive line, which is one of the positions we feel really good about going into 2017.”
Olsen’s addition allows new defensive coordinator Brad Laird to handle the safeties, with veteran assistant De’Von Lockett focusing on the cornerbacks and special teams coordinator August Mangin coaching outside linebackers. Olsen handles the two inside slots, and Thomas takes over defensive line responsibilities.
“Jake comes highly recommended by a coaching staff we know well and have a ton of respect for at ULM,” said Thomas. “He also has coached in the Southland Conference at Nicholls, so he knows our territory. He understands what we want to do defensively, he will be an exceptional recruiter and our friends at ULM told us he does a great job teaching the game.”
Manley has been assistant offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, and has been NSU’s recruiting coordinator. He has coached the quarterbacks since 2014 after joining Thomas’ first Demon staff as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator in 2013.
Manley steered 2014 senior Zach Adkins to a record-shattering season that included single-game school marks for touchdown passes (5), points responsible for (36) and consecutive completions (19), along with season records for passing yards (2,821), total offense (3,004), completion percentage (67.2) and touchdown passes (28). In 2013, he helped sophomore cornerback Ed Eagan convert to wide receiver, a move that paved the way for Eagan to become the most prolific pass catcher in school history.
Before coming to NSU, Manley was on Derek Dooley’s 2012 staff at Tennessee when the Volunteers ranked 19th nationally in total offense. He coached quarterbacks at Tennessee-Martin in 2011, as senior Derek Carr set career passing and touchdown records, a year after he helped guide Scott Buisson to similar feats at Arkansas-Monticello. Manley was a quarterback from 2004-07 at Georgia Tech under coach Chan Gailey.
Bowen coached tight ends and was an offensive line assistant in his two seasons (2014-15) at NSU, highlighted by an explosive 2014 season in which the Demons broke two dozen school records including total offense (4,948 yards), first downs (274) and passing yardage (2,864).
Prior to joining the Demons, Bowen was on the UT-San Antonio staff under veteran coach Larry Coker for three seasons (2011-13), including an eight-win 2012 campaign. He was a graduate assistant in 2010 at his alma mater, Texas State, where he was an All-Southland Conference offensive lineman and an honorable mention All-America performer while also earning places on the Southland Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll in 2007 and 2008.
Olsen has four years of college coaching experience since capping his career at Valley City (N.D.) State, where he played defensive end and outside linebacker from 2008-12. He coached the Vikings’ defensive line in 2013, then joined the Nicholls staff and coached linebackers in 2014, helping Davin Bowie earn honorable mention All-Southland honors.
At ULM, Olsen worked on a defensive staff including former NSU head coach Scott Stoker and former Demon assistant Mike Collins in 2016. In that staff’s first season, the Warhawks made significant strides under former McNeese head coach Matt Viator and Olsen helped coach an All-Sun Belt Conference linebacker.
The Demons begin spring practice on March 7.