Texas Offensive Coaches Prepare for Spring Practice
It hasn't been long since Charlie Strong was named the new Texas head football coach. Both his offensive and defensive staffs have been tirelessly preparing for the five weeks of spring practice coming up, culminating in the annual Orange-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 19. Here's a quick primer on the offensive coaches.
Koenning and Bedford Back Together: Les Koenning and Vance Bedford were teammates as Texas Longhorns more than 30 years ago and are now reunited as assistant coaches. Koenning (pronounced KENN-ing) graduated in 1981 and Bedford two years later. Both have spent most of their time as assistants at the college level, but this is their first experience coaching together. "It has been really nice," Koenning said. "Number one issue there is we are both from the golden triangle area [Southeast Texas] where both of our dads were high school coaches. So it has given us an opportunity to get back together not only as friends but also as teammates and as coaches." Koenning and Bedford will match up against each other quite a bit at practice. Koenning is serving as the wide receivers coach and Bedford, the defensive coordinator who will also coach the secondary.
Big 12 Flavor on Offense: Joe Wickline, the team's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, and Shawn Watson, the assistant coach for offense and wide receivers coach, both have extensive experience in the Big 12 Conference. Wickline spent the last nine years as the offensive line coach at Oklahoma State and Watson from 1999 to 2010. Watson was the quarterbacks coach at Colorado in 1999 before being elevated to offensive coordinator/QB coach the following year and staying in that role for six years. He went to spend five years (2006-10) at Nebraska. In addition, Les Koenning, the current wide receivers coach, was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M from 2003-07.
Chambers One of Longest Tenured Coaches: Bruce Chambers is entering his 17th season as an assistant coach, including first under head coach Charlie Strong. Chambers was a long-time high school coach in the state of Texas before joining the Texas staff in 1997. "It's been a smooth transition," Chambers said. "I think it's because I already knew a lot of these guys, so it hasn't been that difficult." Chambers is one of the longest tenured coaches in UT history, as well as in the Big 12 Conference. Only four individuals have served as a Texas assistant longer than Chambers and just two for more consecutive years. Mike Campbell was an assistant coach (1957-76) during Darrell Royal's entire tenure as head coach. Bully Gilstrap also spent 20 years (1937-56) as a UT assistant coach. In the Big 12 Conference, only Mo Latimore of Kansas State has spent a longer consecutive stint as an assistant coach with one school. Latimore is entering his 21st season at K-State.
|Rk.||Yrs.||Assistant Coach (Tenure)|
|1.||20||Mike Campbell (1957-76)|
|Bully Gilstrap (1937-56)|
|3.||18||Leon Manley (1966-74, '77-85)|
|Clyde Littlefield (1920-26, '36-42, '45-48)|
|5.||17||Bruce Chambers# (1998-)|
|6.||16||David McWilliams (1970-85)|
|7.||15||Bill Ellington (1959-73)|
# includes 2014 season
|Rk.||Yrs.||Assistant Coach, School (Tenure)|
|1.||21||Mo Latimore, Kansas State (1994-)|
|2.||17||Bruce Chambers, Texas (1998-)|
|3.||16||Bobby Jack Wright, Oklahoma (1999-)|
|16||Cale Gundy, Oklahoma (1999-)|
Note: includes the 2014 season
UT Coaching Ties:
• Joe Wickline and Charlie Strong first met in 1983 when they were both graduate assistants at Florida. Wickline started there in 1982 and Strong came the following season.
• During Strong's time as Florida's defensive coordinator (2003-09), Wickline worked on the same staff as the offensive line coach (2002-04)
• Wickline and defensive coordinator/secondary coach Vance Bedford worked together at Oklahoma State during the 2005-06 seasons.
Portions of the content in this article may contain materials provided courtesy of the Texas athletic department.