Defensive Coordinator | Linebackers Coach
David Duggan enters his first season as the Red Wolves’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2019.
He comes to Arkansas State from Western Michigan, where he served as the Broncos’ linebackers coach the last three seasons and also the special teams coordinator since 2017.
“Coach Duggan is one of the most professional and hard‐working individuals I’ve ever been around,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “He is selfless and makes everyone else around him better, both personally and professionally. I have worked with him for six years, known him for 10, developed a great trust with him and he is a perfect fit for what we want to do schematically.”
During his time with the Broncos, he helped lead the program to a pair of bowl games, a Mid‐American Conference championship and a combined 26‐13 record. His initial year with the program saw Western Michigan post an undefeated 13‐0 regular‐season record, a final No. 12 ranking and a berth in the Cotton Bowl, where it dropped a narrow 24‐16 decision to Wisconsin.
Most recently, he was part of a 2018 coaching staff that directed Western Michigan to a 7‐6 overall record and an appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
During his time with the Broncos, he coached a pair of All‐MAC linebackers in Robert Spillane and Asantay Brown, who was a two‐time selection. They each signed NFL free agent contracts following the 2017 season. Duggan also saw four of his special teams players tabbed All‐MAC, including the league’s Special Teams Player of the Year in kickoff and punt returner Darius Phillips.
Duggan spent two different stints with Southern Miss prior to Western Michigan, the last from 2013‐16 as the Golden Eagles defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. While there, he was part of one of the best turnarounds in the FBS in 2015 as Southern Miss went from a 3‐9 record in 2014 to a 9‐5 mark, a berth in the Conference USA championship game and an appearance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl the following year. His defense ranked third in C‐USA along with the top ranked player in interceptions as Kalan Reed had four.
Prior to returning to Southern Miss, Duggan was at North Carolina in 2012 as the outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator with the Tar Heels. He helped lead the team to an 8‐4 finish, the best winning percentage for the program since 1997. The team blocked three punts and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
His first stop in Hattiesburg from 2008‐11 had the Golden Eagles set an NCAA record for most interceptions returned for touchdowns with 12. He coached eventual NFL draft pick Jamie Collins, who went to the New England Patriots. He took over the defensive coordinator role in Hattiesburg in 2011, while also coaching linebackers all four seasons.
Aside from his college days, Duggan was the head coach of the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe from 2006‐07. His defense ranked No. 1 in the overseas league both seasons. He spent a total of six seasons in NFL Europe with Cologne, along with the Berlin Thunder. He was also a member of the staff that won the World Bowl in 2001 and 2002 with Berlin.
Duggan also had multiple stops in the northeast, coaching at Brown, Colgate, Holy Cross, New Hampshire and Alleghany College. He earned his bachelor’s degree from New Hampshire in 1986, where he played from 1982‐86.
Allen Johnson is beginning his sixth year in 2019 as an assistant coach at Arkansas State, but his first as cornerbacks coach after spending the 2014-18 seasons as safeties coach.
Johnson possesses over 20 years coaching experience at both the collegiate and high school levels. His first season at Arkansas State saw the Red Wolves post a 7-6 record and make an unprecedented fourth consecutive appearance in the GoDaddy Bowl.
The Red Wolves followed that up with a Sun Belt Conference championship and appearance in the New Orleans Bowl in 2015. A-State made it back-to-back league titles in 2016 and ended the season by knocking off UCF 31-13 in the Cure Bowl. A-State made its fourth consecutive bowl-game appearance – the Camellia Bowl – with Johnson on the coaching staff in 2017 and, most recently, played in the 2018 Arizona Bowl.
During his five seasons with the program, A-State has forced 128 turnovers for the third most in the nation since 2014. Included in that total are 49 fumble recoveries and 79 interceptions, which are tied with Alabama for the second most in the country. A-State’s 2015 squad produced an FBS-era-record 26 interceptions for the program.
He was a part of A-State’s defensive staff that helped the Red Wolves conclude the 2018 campaign in strong fashion by not allowing more than 298 yards in four of the last five games, including the Arizona Bowl, and giving up no more than 17 points in each of the final five outings. It marked the first time in A-State’s FBS history and first time at any level since 1986 that the defense allowed 17 points or less in five straight games. Along the way, the squad had seven defensive players named All-Sun Belt, including safeties Justin Clifton and Darreon Jackson as first-and-third team selections, respectively.
The 2017 season saw Johnson mentor two players who earned all-conference recognition, including Clifton as a second-team selection and safety B.J. Edmonds as an honorable mention choice. The two players were part of the Red Wolves’ secondary that helped the team rank No. 9 in the nation in 4th down conversion percentage defense (.364), No. 21 in 3rd down conversion percentage defense (.330), No. 21 in defensive touchdowns (3), No. 27 in fumbles recovered (10), No. 29 in turnovers gained (24), No. 32 in passes intercepted (14), No. 32 in 1st downs defense (233) and No. 40 in team passing efficiency defense (120.59).
Just a sophomore in 2017, Edmonds posted career best numbers and finished the season ranked second on the team in tackles with 80 and first on the squad in interceptions with three. Clifton was the squad’s third-leading tackler, but the unit also featured nickelback and safety Darreon Jackson as the Red Wolves’ fourth-ranked tackles leader.
Johnson coached three players who earned all-conference recognition in 2016, including safety Money Hunter as a first-team selection and Clifton and safety Cody Brown as second-team choices. The three players helped A-State rank eighth in the nation in defensive touchdowns, 19th in scoring defense, 23rd in pass efficiency defense, 29th in total defense and 30th in 3rd down conversion defense.
In fact, Hunter ended his career as the Sun Belt Conference’s all-time leader in interception returns for a touchdown with four. Brown tied for the team high in interceptions in 2016 with three, while Clifton ranked second on the squad in tackles with a career-high 87 to his credit.
The 2015 season saw the Red Wolves rank No. 1 in the nation in interceptions with 26, and Johnson’s safeties were responsible for 10 of those. Led by juniors Hunter and Brown with three interceptions each and three combined pick-six’s, the position group was also instrumental in A-State’s No. 1 national ranking in defensive touchdowns (8).
Following the season, Brown was named a Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection with 65 tackles to go along with his three interceptions and nine pass break-ups. Additionally, A-State ranked second in the nation with 34 turnovers gained, which tied its most ever as an FBS member.
A-State saw three different players start at the Nickelback position in 2015. Among the group was Honorable Mention All-SBC selection Khari Lain, who also played linebacker.
Johnson’s 2014 safeties were part of A-State’s defense that ranked No. 14 in the nation in defensive touchdowns (4), No. 15 in passes intercepted (16), No. 17 in team sacks (2.85 per game), No. 21 in turnovers gained (28), No. 27 in third down percentage defense (.359), No. 28 in fumbles recovered (12), No. 36 in fourth down percentage defense (.435) and team tackles for loss (6.6 per game), No. 42 in red zone defense (.795), No. 44 in passing yards allowed (216.0 ypg) and No. 45 in team passing efficiency defense (122.26).
Despite losing starting strong safety Chris Humes just two games into the season, two of A-State’s top five tacklers were safeties. Johnson coached sophomore Hunter, who stepped into the starting role and enjoyed the best season of his young career with 65 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, two pass break-ups and two interceptions, including one returned 94 yards against Toledo that was the longest scoring play in GoDaddy Bowl history. Hunter also had a career-tying 11 tackles in the bowl game.
Under Johnson’s watch, senior safety Sterling Young ended his career as the team’s third leading tackler in 2014. Young accounted for 75 tackles, one forced fumble, three pass break-ups and two interceptions. Johnson also tutored All-SBC pick Andrew Tryon at the nickelback position in 2014.
The Red Wolves’ safeties compiled a combined 171 tackles for almost 20 percent of the team’s total. The group also combined for four interceptions, five pass break-ups and three forced fumbles.
Prior to arriving at A-State, Johnson spent three seasons at Lamar University as the assistant head coach from 2012-13 and the defensive coordinator in 2011, while also overseeing the secondary all three years.
Johnson was part of Lamar’s coaching staff charged with reviving a program that took the field in 2010 for the first time since 1989. Competing in the NCAA FCS as a Southland Conference (SLC) member, the Cardinals led the league in both pass defense and pass efficiency defense in 2012 and 2013 with Johnson serving as the secondary coach.
Not only did Lamar’s secondary function as one of the top units in the SLC, the group boasted several players that were recognized for their individual efforts under the direction of Johnson. Safety Chad Allen and cornerbacks Branden Thomas and Tyrus McGlothen were All-Southland Conference choices during their career. McGlothen earned first team recognition in 2013 when he posted 81 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one sack and a fumble recovery.
Prior to his time at Lamar, Johnson coached the cornerbacks at the University of Texas-El Paso for three seasons. While at UTEP, Johnson coached such star defensive backs as Cornelius Brown, Melvin Stephenson and Clarence Ward, all of whom played briefly in the National Football League. Johnson’s final season at UTEP (2010) saw the Miners make their first appearance in a postseason game since 2005, competing in the New Mexico Bowl.
Before going to UTEP, Johnson spent the 2007 season as the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Midwestern State University, which fielded the top defense in the Lone Star Conference (LSC) that year. In going 8-3 that season, Midwestern State led the league in scoring defense (18.6 points-per-game average), total defense (294.2 yards-per-game average) and rushing defense (93.9 yards-per-game). The Mustangs also ranked third in the LSC in pass defense and pass defense efficiency.
In 2006, Johnson served as the quality control coach at Oklahoma State University, helping lead the Cowboys to seven wins and an Independence Bowl victory. He doubled as the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator at Blinn College in 2005, helping the team qualify for the National Junior College Athletic Association playoffs.
Johnson started his coaching career as a defensive graduate assistant coach at Texas A&M-Commerce in 1999 before being elevated to a full-time position as running backs coach in 2000. After his two-year stint on the Lions’ coaching staff, he spent the next four seasons in the high-school coaching ranks at Gaither HS (2001) in Tampa, Fla., at Plant HS (2002) in Tampa and at Newman Smith HS (2003-04) in Carrollton, Texas. He worked with the secondary at all three high schools and was also the defense coordinator his lone season at Gaither.
Johnson, who earned his bachelor's degree in health and kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Commerce in 1999 and his master's degree in the same field a year later, played collegiately at Kilgore College, Central Oklahoma and A&M-Commerce.
After taking a break in his college career to serve in the U.S. Air Force, Johnson earned All-Lone Star Conference South Division honors and a trip to the Snow Bowl as a senior in 1998. He also competed for the A&M-Commerce track and field team and served as president of the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Johnson, who was an all-district defensive back at Desoto (Texas) High School, has three daughters - Jayla, Kyra and Olivia.
Defensive Ends Coach
Brandon Joiner enters his first season as the Red Wolves’ defensive ends coach in 2019.
A familiar face in Jonesboro and an Arkansas State University alumnus, Joiner was a two‐year letterman for the Red Wolves from 2010‐11 and helped lead the program to the 2011 Sun Belt Conference championship while being named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
He spent the last three seasons at A‐State as a graduate assistant coach (2016) and in a defensive line quality control position (2017‐18) before being elevated to a full‐time coaching role. During that time, Joiner helped lead the program to the 2016 Sun Belt Conference championship, three consecutive winning seasons and a trio of bowl game appearances, including the 2016 Cure Bowl, 2017 Camellia Bowl and 2018 Arizona Bowl.
“Seeing a young man fight through adversity as a player and go on to the NFL, and then to come back here to a quality control position and put himself in a situation to be elevated to a full‐time coach, is a fantastic example of courage, perseverance and hard work,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “It was great to see not only the smile on his face when he earned the job, but also how ecstatic our players were when they found out. Coach Joiner is a guy who makes this place special.”
Joiner worked with the defensive line specifically all three seasons, helping mentor some of the top players in school history. Former defensive end Ja’Von Rolland‐Jones was tabbed the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in both 2016 and 2017 while completing his career as the second all‐time sacks leader in NCAA FBS history. Most recently, defensive end Ronheen Bingham was tabbed the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2018.
He also coached players such as defensive end Chris Odom, who was a First Team All‐Sun Belt Conference selection in 2016 and signed an NFL free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers. Rolland‐Jones, and former defensive tackle Dee Liner also signed free agent contracts with teams in the league following their playing career.
The Red Wolves have ranked among the top 13 teams in the country each of the last three years and actually led the nation in 2016 with 9.6 per game. The defensive line has also ranked among the top 27 teams in the country since 2016. Over that span, A‐State placed seven different defensive lineman on the All‐Sun Belt Conference Team at least once.
Following his stellar playing career, he signed an NFL free agent contract and spent three seasons with Cincinnati Bengals. While with the Bengals, he received the Mentorship Award in 2014 for his work with the “Boys to Men Program.”
The Killeen, Texas, native was also a NJCAA All‐America selection at Navarro (Texas) College prior to transferring to Arkansas State. He earned his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Arkansas State University in 2012.
Safeties Coach | Special Teams Co-Coordinator
Nick Paremski begins his second season at Arkansas State in 2019, but his first as safeties coach after spending the 2018 campaign overseeing the outside linebackers position.
Paremski and A-State won eight games and made a school-record eighth consecutive bowl-game appearance last season. He was part of A-State’s defensive staff that helped the Red Wolves conclude the 2018 campaign in strong fashion by not allowing more than 298 yards in four of the last five games, including the Arizona Bowl. A-State also surrendered no more than 17 points in each of the final five outings. It marked the first time in A-State’s FBS history and first time at any level since 1986 that the defense allowed 17 points or less in five straight games. Along the way, the squad had seven defensive players named All-Sun Belt.
Paremski came to Arkansas State after spending 10 seasons at West Texas A&M from 2006-15, including the last three as defensive coordinator, and rejoins the Red Wolves as an assistant coach after also spending the 2016 campaign with the program when the squad won the Sun Belt Conference championship and defeated UCF in the Cure Bowl.
He served as the cornerbacks coach his first season at West Texas A&M before moving to defensive backs and being named the recruiting coordinator for the 2007 campaign. He continued in that role from 2008-13, but was also elevated to assistant head coach during that period.
During his time with the Buffaloes, he helped lead the program to Lone Star Conference (LSC) championships in 2006, 2007 and 2012. The 2012 squad was also Super Region 4 champions and a national semifinalist.
West Texas A&M ranked first in the conference in multiple defensive categories at least once during his tenure, including turnovers forced, pass efficiency defense and passing yards allowed. The 2013 team was No. 7 in the nation in turnovers forced, while also ranking third in tackles for loss. His 2015 defensive unit ended the year No. 8 in the country in turnover margin and No. 19 in tackles for loss.
Paremski coached 12 NFL or CFL players at West Texas A&M, while also mentoring 20 first team All-Lone Star Conference selections. He developed three players named the Lone Star Conference Defensive Back of the Year, one LSC Linebacker of the Year and two LSC Freshman of the Year choices.
Markus Pierce-Brewster, Bryan Johnson, Taylor McCuller and Ethan Westbrooks each signed NFL free agent contracts with the New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams, respectively. His defensive unit also produced CFL signees Chris Olson and Kyle Voss.
Paremski developed LSC Defensive Backs of the Year Tae Evans (2010), who signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Rams, Curtis Slater (2013) and Torian Oakley (2014). He also developed the talents of defensive backs Darnell Johnson, Arseel Shakoor, Bret Jones, Cashmin Thomas, Curtis Jefferson, Caleb Randolph and Jordan Smith, all of whom garnered various postseason accolades.
Prior to West Texas A&M, Paremski served as a graduate assistant coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville from 2004-05. The 2004 season saw the Javelinas win the Lone Star title and secure and NCAA Division II playoff berth while he was coaching cornerbacks and safeties. He coached three All-Lone Star Conference players, including NFL free agent Michael Bragg who captured All-Southwest Region honors following the 2004 campaign.
Paremski earned his Masters of Business Administration from Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2006, and he also holds his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
His first coaching position came at Holmen (Wis.) High School, where he was in charge of the defensive backs from 2002-04. He helped lead the football team to the Mississippi Valley Conference championship in both 2002 and 2003.
Nick and his wife, Krista are the parents of a son, Huston, and daughter, Alani.
Interior Defensive Line Coach
Ed Pinkham enters his first season as the Red Wolves’ interior defensive line coach in 2019.
Pinkham brings over 40 years of collegiate coaching experience with him to A-State, including 31 as a defensive coordinator. He most recently spent the last two seasons in the role at UMass, but also had FBS stops as defensive coordinator at Rutgers and Western Michigan. He served as the secondary coach at Minnesota from 1989-91 as well.
His time UMass saw the program record its most wins in back-to-back seasons in its seven-year history as an FBS member, while also collecting its first win over a team from one of the power-five conferences.
He went to UMass after spending 2013-16 as the defensive coordinator at Western Michigan. The 2016 season saw the Broncos post an undefeated 13-0 regular-season record and a final No. 12 ranking, while also earning a berth in the Cotton Bowl, where it dropped a narrow 24-16 decision to Wisconsin. Pinkham’s unit ranked No. 8 in defensive touchdowns across the nation, No. 15 in scoring defense, No. 18 in turnovers gained, No. 22 in interceptions forced and No. 26 in total defense.
Prior to spending 2011-12 as Elon’s defensive coordinator, Pinkham held the same position at Rutgers from 2009-10 and was the program’s secondary coach in 2008. He guided the 2009 Rutgers defense, which included Devin and Jason McCourty, to national top-20 rankings in five statistical categories: tackles for loss (No. 1), turnover margin (No. 2), rush defense (No. 15), scoring defense (No. 16) and total defense (No. 18). Also in 2009, Rutgers’ defense held opponents to 15 points or less seven times and the Scarlet Knights’ secondary ranked second in the Big East defending the pass.
Pinkham spent the 1996-2007 seasons at Colgate. His units led the Patriot League in defense in 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2006 and, in 2007, the Raiders ranked No. 10 nationally against the run, No. 22 in total defense and No. 26 in scoring defense.
Pinkham’s previous stops also included Holy Cross (1992-95), New Hampshire (1977-88) and Allegheny College (1975-76).
A 1975 graduate of Allegheny College, Pinkham is a native of Clark, New Jersey. He was a four-year letterwinner, four-time all-conference honoree and an Associated Press Second-Team All-American at safety for the Gators.
Defensive Graduate Assistant
Ethan Morriss begins his first season in 2019 as a graduate assistant coach at Arkansas State, working on the defensive side of the ball.
Morriss comes to A-State after spending the last two seasons at Harding University as a graduate assistant coach working with the defensive backs. During his two seasons with the program, the Bisons posted a combined 20-7 record and advanced to the NCAA II playoffs.
The 2018 season saw Harding post a 9-3 record and finish No. 20 in the final AFCA poll, while the Bisons ranked No. 6 in the nation the year prior after posting an 11-4 mark and advancing to the Division II playoffs semifinals.
He helped coach four All-Great American Conference (GAC) defensive backs, including 2018 All-Super Region 3 selections Frank Herbert at cornerback, Dra Smith at safety and V’Onte Williams at corner.
He went to Harding after completing his collegiate playing career at West Texas A&M as a defensive back. He redshirted the 2011 season and was a four-year letterman from 2012-15, earning All-Lone Star Conference honors as both a junior and senior. He completed his career with 137 tackles, five interceptions and eight pass break-ups.
The Sonora, Texas, native was two-time All-West Texas MVP at Sonora High School, where he played quarterback and helped lead the Broncos to the District 13-2A championship as a senior.
Defensive Graduate Assistant
Matt Schell begins his first season in 2019 as a graduate assistant coach at Arkansas State, working on the defensive side of the ball.
Schell comes to A-State after spending the last three seasons in multiple roles for the UMass football program. After a tenure as a student assistant working with all aspects of the defense, Schell was named a defensive graduate assistant for the 2016 season, was promoted into a defensive analyst role ahead of the 2017 campaign and, most recently, shifted into the director of operations position in 2018.
During the 2017 season, Schell was responsible for breakdown of practice and game film, statistical reports detailing defensive production, coordinating scout team and assisting with day-to-day recruiting operations.
As an undergraduate, Schell worked as a video assistant with the New England Patriots. He was responsible for filming practices, individual workouts and games for the coaching staff. He worked with XOS computer software to digitize, edit and upload film, while also installing and operating the ICE software to assist coaches and scouts with specialized assignments.
Schell earned a dual undergraduate degree in finance and sport management from Massachusetts in May 2015.