BY MIKE MONTFORT
Navarro College on Friday named defensive coordinator Jim Gush as the Bulldogs’ 14th head football coach, and also promoted two staff members to coordinator positions.
Assistant head coach Hunter McWilliams was named as Navarro’s new offensive coordinator, and defensive line coach Chris Achuff accepted the defensive coordinator job, NC Athletic Director Roark Montgomery said Friday afternoon.
The elevations evolved after Cody Crill resigned Monday to become The University of Incarnate Word’s new offensive coordinator. Crill told the Bulldogs his intentions in a 2 pm team meeting Monday. His last official day at Navarro was Friday.
“It’s been almost 10 years, and I really appreciate the opportunity that I’ve been able to coach and raise my daughters here,” said Crill, who compiled a three-year head-coaching record of 19-11 with two post-season appearances. “It’s been great to be a part of championships and to win a national championship.”
The San Angelo native led the 17th-ranked Bulldogs to a 6-4 record and the 2017 Southwest Junior College Football Conference semifinal playoffs. His 2016 squad (6-3) finished as the NJCAA’s ninth-ranked team. Since Crill’s arrival here as an offensive line coach, the Bulldogs have an 87-24 record, won the 2010 NJCAA national championship, 3 conference and 3 regional titles, plus 4 bowl championships.
Crill last Monday endorsed the selection of Gush as a possible successor.
With Gush as unit coordinator here in 2017, Navarro led the Southwest Junior College Football Conference in total defense.
Gush, an Elmira, N.Y. native, spent one-third of his 36-year coaching career at Garden City CC, Ks. – three years with Top-10 finishes as head coach, and nine seasons as a defensive coordinator. He compiled a 29-7 win-loss record in three seasons as head coach and led Garden City to NJCAA rankings of No. 7 (10-2) in 1996, No. 4 (10-2) in 1997 and No. 7 (9-3) in 1998. In 1997, Gush led GCCC to a Jayhawk Conference championship and a berth in the Red River Bowl, the national championship game. His 1996 squad played in the Real Dairy Bowl and his 1998 team won the Valley of the Sun Bowl. Garden City CC produced a first-team JC All-American every season Gush was a coach there and played in the Jayhawk Conference Championship game in 10 of his 12 seasons with the Broncbusters.
Gush also has coaching experience at Albany, Iowa State, Kansas State, SMU, Stony Brook and Baylor Universities.
McWilliams, a University of Texas product, coached special teams and wide receivers since his arrival here from The University of California-Berkeley almost three years ago. He was a member of coach Sonny Dykes’ staff at California, and also spent three seasons as a graduate assistant for Dykes when he coached at Louisiana Tech. The son of former University of Texas and Texas Tech head coach David McWilliams served as Navarro’s assistant head coach under Crill last season. McWilliams accepted his new opportunity here almost two months after offensive coordinator Scott Parr resigned to take a similar position at NCAA Division I Eastern Illinois University.
Achuff coached defensive linemen here in 2017. His coaching background includes stops at Baylor, University of Tennessee-Martin and Charleston Southern University. While at UT-Martin. the Skyhawks finished 17th nationally in rushing defense (112.9 ypg) and sixth in total defense during a 9-3 Ohio Valley Conference winning season that earned an FCS Playoff spot. Earlier as defensive line coach at Charleston Southern, the Buccaneers claimed their first winning season and conference championship.
Meanwhile, Crill now joins the UIW staff of 32-year-old, first-year head coach Eric Morris. Morris, hired December 30 from Texas Tech, is UIW’s third head coach since the 2009 inception of its Division I FCS football program. The Southland Conference-member Cardinals went 1-10 last season.