HUNTSVILLE -- Scott Stoker, former head football coach at Northwestern State University, and Lee Hays, who served as offensive coordinator for the Baylor Bears, have joined the Sam Houston State football coaching staff, Bearkat director of athletics Bobby Williams and head football coach Todd Whitten have announced.
In addition, Mike Walton, who has worked the past two seasons as a volunteer defensive assistant, has been named as interim defensive secondary coach.
The new additions complete Whitten's football staff for the coming 2009 season as preparations begin for spring training in March. Recently, offensive line coach B. J. Anderson joined the University of Houston staff as an assistant and safeties coach Trent Grona left to go into private business.
Stoker will serve as defensive coordinator and linebacker coach for the Bearkats. Hays will coach the offensive line. The three hires represent an additional full-time position to the football coaching staff.
Returning members of the staff will be James Ferguson (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Duane Dirk (defensive line), Jonathon Cooper (wide receivers) and Mike Salinas (special teams). Dirk also will be assuming new responsibilities for football operations under the reorganization of the staff.
"With the new staff changes, we've had the opportunity to bring new ideas and add a position to the football staff," Williams said. "We have not been fully staffed in years past and the new addition will be a big plus for our program."
Stoker compiled a 43-38 record in seven seasons as head coach at Northwestern State, leading the Demons to the 2004 Southland Conference co-championship and to the NCAA Division I national playoffs in 2002 and 2004. His teams totaled 22 NCAA top 20 statistical rankings on offense, defense and special teams.
He was an assistant coach at McNeese State from 1994 to 2002, working with both the offense and defense for teams that earned six FCS national playoff berths, reached the 1995 national semifinals and played in the NCAA Division I national championship game in 1997.
Hays served as Baylor's offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008. The 2006 Bears' offense averaged 23.6 points per game, the team's best mark since 1996. Previously, he was the architect of West Texas A&M's high-octane offenses that led the Buffs to the 2005 Lone Star Conference championship, the NCAA Division II playoffs and a 10-2 record. Hays also coached at his alma mater, Texas A&M-Kingsville.
"We really feel good about our 2009 coaching staff," Whitten said. "Coaches do make a difference. You hate to lose a coach, but we have hired quality men who are good coaches to replace them. Scott Stoker and Lee Hays are going to bring new and fresh ideas. Mike Walton has done a tremendous job for us the past two seasons and we're excited for him to step into a new role."
Walton joined the Sam Houston State staff in 2007 after working seven seasons as an assistant coach at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales where he was defensive coordinator. Walton, an All-American defensive back at Eastern New Mexico, has coached the Bearkat cornerbacks the past two seasons.
Sam Houston State spring football practice will begin Wednesday, March 25. The Bearkats will have 14 practice sessions leading to the annual Orange-White spring game Saturday, April 25.