Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Newberry Defense at Kennesaw State


Kennesaw State announced the hiring of Brian Newberry as the defensive coordinator for the developing Owls football team. Newberry has an impressive resume and should bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the schools program.


Brian Newberry

Coach Newberry comes to Kennesaw State from the University of Northern Michigan.  While there, the Wildcats posted a 5-7 record and in five of the losses, the opposing team scored 40+ points.  In an article in the Mining Journal, Coach Newberry said, “I’m a competitor and its human nature as a defensive coordinator, defensive coach, you don’t want to give up points. It’s frustrating, but I think we’re taking steps to getting it corrected.

“We’re getting better despite giving up 40 to a very, very good Ashland team,” said Coach Newberry after a 42-13 loss.  The defense did get better as the season moved on, however, they still gave up a lot of points. But you must look deeper at the teams that Northern Michigan competed against.  Ashland finished the season 11-1 and the other teams that put up 40+ points finished with a  total record of 29-13 (.690). Coach Newberry talked about the adjustments he makes and his coaching  philosophy. “What we want to do is get our best players on the field,” Newberry said. “It’s never about age or youth or anything like that. We’re trying to get the guys on the field that give us the best chance to win.

“We have to develop a trust, a bond with those kids back there that we feel comfortable with. We’re pretty multiple in our coverages. We put a lot on those guys. There’s a lot of moving parts. If one of those moving parts isn’t correct and is not linked with the others, then you have problems,” said Newberry to the Mining Journal.

UNM and Coach Newberry were coaching a very young secondary group, but he got the players to buy in. A transfer student Brandon Parsons told the Mining Journal that he liked Coach Newberry’s scheme, because it emphasizes playing fast and getting after the ball and puts him in position to make plays. “This defense is more key reading, so we really read our keys and rely on what we see. We just react, play fast and get to the ball,” Parson said. “I’ve improved on my tackling and my knack for the ball. I feel like I’m zoned in and ready.”

Prior to Northern Michigan, Coach Newberry spent time at Elon University, where he was the defensive backs coach for now Ball State Head Coach Pete Lembo. The two also coached together at Lehigh University.  “He’s coached position for a number of years and he’s also been a defensive coordinator for a couple of years. He’s a detailed teacher and a good communicator; he’s very easy to work with,”  said Coach Lembo in 2007. The comments from Lembo are encouraging as coaching camaraderie is the beginning of team camaraderie. Elon had a record of 24-16 while Coach Newberry was there and they never had a losing season. Ball State under Coach Lembo finished the 2012 regular season 9-3 and played in the Beef O’ Brady Bowl in Tampa, Fla.

With the experience gained at Northern Michigan, Kennesaw State is clearly getting a very experienced and tested coach that brings a fluidity to his defenses. The hiring of Coach Newberry brings the KSU football staff to seven under Head Coach Brian Bohannon. Grant Chesnut (offensive coordinator and offensive line coach), Liam Klein and Shane Bowen (assistant coaches), Tim Glanton (A-backs/slot position coach), Brett Gilliland (quarterbacks/B-backs coach), and Jay Bailey(director of football operations) round out the coaching staff with no more coaches expected to be named until after the first of the year.

Newberry was a two-year letterwinner at Baylor, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. After college, Newberry was a graduate assistant at Southern Arkansas and Rice.

SIDE NOTE: While researching this information, I found a Flickr page belonging to Coach Newberry. I strongly recommend checking it out here He is apparently quite the photographer with a creative eye. Always good to have in a defensive coordinator.

BOOM! Shotgun Reaction: The firing of Mayhem

On Monday June 17, Atlanta radio station 790 The Zone fired its morning show hosts, Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini, and Chris Dimino for an ill-advised impromptu skit about former New Orleans Saints kicker Steve Gleason. Gleason suffers from ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and is unable to walk or speak. The three hosts, seemingly lead by Cellini, engaged in an interview with the fake Gleason, which was voiced by Cellini, and Gleason asked to be put out of his misery. The Zone, which is owned by Lincoln Financial, acted quickly and by mid-afternoon had fired the hosts.790

I worked at WGST on the AM talker for nearly nine years and saw the stress and pressure to inform and entertain while keeping sponsors happy. It is no easy task and it takes very talented people to do it for the long haul. With that said, I have also seen hosts make grave errors and be suspended and fired. Most of us have jobs where a pattern of behavior is necessary to cause dismissal by management, but, in radio, or the entertainment industry overall, it is very different. In a single failure, your job, your income, your stability can be devastated. It is a risky business when told to be edgy, but don’t cross the imaginary line. There is no doubt that the guys from Mayhem crossed the line. Not only was their skit ill-advised, but it was painfully stupid. Should they have been fired? No, not for the skit. Radio and television are a businesses. Money must be flowing in for it to grow and be successful. If the result of the skit was sponsors pulling advertising and revenue dropping, then the reason for firing isn’t a shotgun reaction. It would take at least a three months to see the result of the revenue.  This would also allow the hosts time to apologize, possibly bringing much-needed attention to Gleason and his illness. It was a missed opportunity by The Zone to use this ugly incident to raise funds and awareness for Gleason and the ALS Foundation.  By pulling the trigger, this was a done deal in a matter of days, the hosts were replaced, and sports fans tuned to the FM sports talker 92.9 The Game.

I do not know Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini, or Chris Dimino personally, however, I have met them and all three were gracious and friendly. After this incident Shapiro and Dimino posted very thoughtful and sincere apologies for the offensive skit. Cellini did post apologies, but I believe they were the minimum required for this incident. He even spoke with Atlanta radio guru Rodney Ho about the situation and basically said his contract was up soon, so his firing was irrelevant. He also said 790 The Zone was a “sinking ship.” Maybe he doesn’t get it, maybe he doesn’t care, but that was about as classless and poorly handled as the skit that started the scrutiny in the first place. Cellini could learn a thing or two about how Dimino and Shapiro handled themselves.

The heartbreaking reality of this story is that terrible illnesses, like ALS, affect thousands of people each year. Fighting these illnesses is futile, as they are terminal and end in death. It takes very strong individuals with a very strong support system to be out in front of the public attempting to raise funds for research that will never help them. How do I know these things? My son, Austin Bailey McCreary, passed away at three years old on April 17, 1999 after a two-year battle with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy MLS. I thank Gleason for his strength to be a public figure for these illnesses. Please take time to learn about these and other devastating illnesses by visiting and

Kennesaw State Football Conference