Dave Christensen Announces New Coaching and Administrative Responsibilities for Wyoming Football Staff
Feb. 13, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. - University of Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen announced on Wednesday new coaching and administrative responsibilites for members of his football staff, including the official hiring of three new assistant coaches.
Christensen had previously announced on National Signing Day, Feb. 6, plans to add new defensive line coach Jamar Cain, who comes to Wyoming from Cal Poly, and new quarterback coach Jason Gesser, who joins the Cowboy staff from Idaho. Wednesday, Christensen added former UW graduate assistant Nick Danielson as a full-time assistant coach. Danielson, who served as an offensive graduate assistant for the Cowboys in 2012, will coach the Cowboy tight ends and H-backs.
"I think Jamar, Jason and Nick are all exceptional young coaches, who bring great enthusiasm to our program. I am excited to have them join our program, and look forward to working with them," said Christensen.
Christensen also announced on Wednesday new responsibilities within his staff.
Assistant head coach Pete Kaligis and offensive line coach Jim Harding have been elevated to co-offensive coordinators. Kaligis, who coached the running backs and offensive line in 2012, will focus on coaching the Wyoming running backs in 2013, while Harding will continue to coach the offensive line.
Christensen, himself, will assume the immediate play-calling responsibilities on game days for the Cowboy offense. Christensen has 12 years experience as an offensive coordinator, and was named the Offensive Coordinator of the Year in 2007 by Rivals.com while he was at Missouri.
Former Wyoming offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Gregg Brandon recently accepted the offensive coordinator position at New Mexico State after coordinating the Cowboy offense the past two seasons.
"I felt that both Pete (Kaligis) and Jim (Harding) deserved this opportunity, and I am pleased to be able to promote the two of them from within our staff to coordinate the offense," said Christensen. "In regard to Gregg (Brandon) accepting the offensive coordinator position at New Mexico State, he believed that it was a good opportunity and good fit for him, and I have never had an issue with one of my assistants who found an opportunity that was beneficial to them and their family.
"I have involved myself more in working with the offense this offseason. I will help bring Pete and Jim along as they assume the offensive-coordinating duties. I have decided to take over the play-calling duties -- that is not to say at some point in the future Pete or Jim may take over those responsibilities, as well. They have both been with me since we came to Wyoming, have worked extremely hard and been very loyal. They have put themselves in a position to become coordinators, and I'm really excited to have them in charge of the offense, working hand-in-hand with me.
"Another part of my decision to get back involved in the offense is I love coaching, and at the end of this past season I decided I wanted to get more involved on a day-to-day basis in stragegizing and teaching."
Christensen filled the final assistant coaching position on this staff with Danielson, who will coach the Wyoming tight ends and H-backs. That position came open with the departure of former Cowboy assistant coach Jason Ray, who was hired as receivers coach at Oklahoma State in January 2013.
Chris Tormey, who took over as Wyoming's defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2012, will continue to coach the Cowboy safeties and serve as defensive coordinator. He will be joined in coaching the secondary by new full-time staff member Renaldo Hill. Hill, who served as a defensive graduate assistant for Wyoming in 2012, was announced as a new full-time assistant coach on Jan. 11. Hill will coach the Cowboy cornerbacks. He played cornerback and safety in the NFL for 10 seasons, concluding his professional career with the Denver Broncos in 2010.
Members of the Cowboy coaching staff whose responsibilities will remain the same for the 2013 season include: Robin Ross, who will continue to serve as special teams' coordinator and linebackers coach; and Derek Sage, who will enter his fourth season as Wyomng's wide receivers coach.
In terms of new administrative appointments:
Matt Rahl will move into a new, but familiar role, as Wyoming's Director of Recruiting. Rahl coached the Cowboy defensive line the past two seasons in 2011 and `12, but he was previously Wyoming's Director of Recruiting in 2009 and `10.
Brent Vernon, who was Wyoming's Assistant Director of Football Operations a year ago, has been elevated to the position of Director of Football Operations. He replaces Brian Wilkinson, who accepted the position as Director of Football Operations for Arkansas State in January.
Danilo Robinson will be Wyoming's Director of Player Personnel. Robinson had been the Director of Player Personnel and Recruiting last season.
New Wyoming Assistant Coaches
Jamar Cain joins the Cowboy coaching staff in 2013 as the defensive line coach. Cain takes over the position left open when former UW defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc accepted a similar position at Southern Miss this offseason. He coached the defensive line the previous four seasons (2009-12) at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Mustangs enjoyed an outstanding season in 2012, ending the year as tri-champions of the Big Sky Conference, sharing the title with Eastern Washington and Montana State. Cal Poly was ranked No. 11 in the final Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches Poll, and was ranked No. 12 in The Sports Network final FCS rankings of 2012. The Mustangs advanced to the FCS Playoffs, losing, 16-18, at eventual National Runner-up Sam Houston State in the first round. Cal Poly posted a 9-3 overall record and a 7-1 conference mark in 2012. Cain coached junior defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz, who earned Second Team All-Big Sky Conference honors in 2012. Another one of Cain's defensive linemen in 2012, junior defensive end Grant Goebel, earned Big Sky Academic All-Conference honors in the fall of `12.
Prior to his stint at Cal Poly, Cain coached the defensive ends at Missouri State for three seasons (2006-08). In 2005, he was a defensive graduate assistant at Ohio University, working with the defensive ends under former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich.
Cain coached one season at the junior-college level in 2004 as an assistant coach at Sacramento City College. His first coaching position was as a high school coach at John F. Kennedy High School, also in Sacramento, for the 2003 season.
During his coaching career, he has worked with two NFL teams through the NFL's minority internship program. He interned with the Arizona Cardinals in the summer of 2008 and with the Kansas City Chiefs in the summer of 2009.
Cain is a native of Sacramento, where he played at Valley High School. He went on to play his first two years of college football at Sacramento City College as a defensive lineman. Cain earned First Team Community College All-State honors his sophomore year. He then transferred to New Mexico State, where he earned Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors as a senior defensive lineman.
Born June 13, 1979, he and his wife, DeCarla, have a son, Cosby, and a daughter, Cali.
"Jamar Cain is an outstanding young coach," said Christensen. "I was very impressed with how his defensive line played when we faced Cal Poly last season. He is a phenomenal technician.
He is a great family guy, and has a wonderful young family. I think he will be a great fit in the community, and I believe he will develop great relationships with our players."
Nick Danielson was named Wyoming's assistant coach for tight ends and H-backs on Feb. 13, 2013. He served as an offensive graduate assistant for Wyoming for the 2012 season. Among Danielson's duties for the Cowboys in 2012 were: signaling plays on game days; working with the quarterbacks during individual drills; preparing scouting reports; video breakdown; helping coordinate scout teams during practices; and playbook management.
He graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles, Calif., in May of 2011 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. Danielson was a three-year starter at center at Occidental, and was a three-time All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) selection.
After graduation, Danielson played and coached for the Arlanda Jets in Märsta, Sweden from May to September of 2011. The Arlanda Jets play in the highest division of Swedish football. He also helped coach the Jets U11, U13 and U15 junior teams, and conducted several youth camps around Sweden to introduce the sport of American football.
From February to May 2012, Danielson was an assistant offensive line coach at the University of Puget Sound before joining the Wyoming football program as a graduate assistant in the summer of 2012.
A native of Snohomish, Wash., Danielson played his high school football at Snohomish Senior High School where he earned All-State honors and was selected to play in the East vs. West All-Star game.
"Nick (Danielson) did an outstanding job for us last year as an offensive graduate assistant," said Christensen. "He is a bright, young coach who I'm happy to be able to add to our full-time staff."
Jason Gesser is Wyoming's new quarterbacks coach. He was most recently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Idaho in 2012. He also served as the interim head coach at Idaho for the final four games of the Vandals' 2012 season. Gesser spent two seasons at Idaho, originally joining the Vandals as running backs coach for the 2011 season.
Gesser was an All-America quarterback at Washington State his senior season of 2002, and finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy balloting that season. Gesser led Washington State to a 10-3 record in 2002 and a berth in the Rose Bowl versus Oklahoma. Washington State concluded the season ranked 10th in the final Associated Press poll.
Following his college playing career, Gesser played in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans from 2003-2005. In 2005 and `06, he played with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. Gesser also spent time playing with the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League from 2005-08.
Prior to beginning his college coaching career, Gesser coached high school football in the state of Washington for five years. He began as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Federal Way High School in Federal Way, Wash., for the 2006 season. He moved to Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma, Wash., for two seasons in 2007 and `08 -- once again serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. His final two seasons as a high school coach were spent at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Wash., where he was the head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2009 and `10 seasons.
In 2008, Gesser founded Jason Gesser Elite Sports. He was involved in hosting Nike Northwest Elite Football Camps in 2009, `10 and `11, and also conducted multiple quarterback skill camps in the northwest during that same time period.
Born May 30, 1979, Gesser grew up in Honolulu, Hawai'i, where he played his prep football at Saint Louis High School.
"Jason Gesser is a quality young man," said Christensen. "He played at Washington State where he was an All-American and led them to the Rose Bowl. He is a great young coach, who will bring a lot of passion and energy to our offense. He has experience recruiting the Northwest, while at Idaho, which is a huge plus for us as we want to continue to recruit that area of the country."