The amazing story of Wofford's staff continuity
- by Zach Barnett 1 year ago
Yesterday we posted an article on Mark Helfrich's first week as the head coach at Oregon and the continuity he inherits on the coaching staff. Helfrich is now the leader of a staff that boasts six coaches with more than a decade deposited in Eugene.
That has to be a high across Division I, right? Actually, Wofford's staff continuity makes even Oregon look like a brand new staff.
Start with head coach Mike Ayers, who recently completed his 25th season at Wofford. Then Wade Lang, who Ayers brought with him in 1988 to be the Terriers' running backs coach. Lang was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1990 and has occupied that position ever since.
Nate Woody recently completed 22 years on staff, the last dozen as defensive coordinator, before departing for Appalachian State. His replacement, Jack Teachey, is in his 20th season on the staff. Offensive line coach Eric Nash has spent 10 years at Wofford.
Those coaches' tenures pail in comparison to that of Joe Lesesne, who has spent 48 years on campus, the last eight of which as director of football operations. Lesesne started at Wofford as an assistant history professor in 1964, then in various administrative roles before being promoted to the President of Wofford College, a post he held from 1972-2000. Lesesne served as an assistant coach from 1965-68, and then again after retiring as Wofford president from 2001-04. He became the Terriers' director of football operations after the 2004 season.
Of course, this type of contunity is only possible because Wofford wins. After all, the Terriers have experienced 18 winning seasons in Ayers' 25 years as head coach.
Or, perhaps, Wofford wins because of its staff continuity. Of the seven non-winning seasons during Ayers' tenure, only one has occurred in the past decade. After winning nine or more games two times from 1988-2001, Wofford has posted six such seasons from 2002-2012. Along the way, the Terriers have been able to establish a definitive identity, ranking first or second in FCS rushing rankings every year since 2007 (since the NCAA began putting FCS statistical rankings online).
Either way, Wofford has accomplished something that most other staffs, even Oregon, can only dream of.