Everett Withers begins his second season as the head coach at Texas State with a 27-23 career record after being named Texas State’s 15th head football coach on January 7, 2016.
During his first season at Texas State, Withers began implementing a total transformation of the Bobcat football program. There was some immediate success in the classroom when 20 football players were named to the school’s Dean’s List, the Bobcats posted their highest grade point average as a team and 52 percent of the team having a GPA over 3.0. During the 2016-17 academic year, Texas State had a combined 71 players maintain a 3.0 GPA and 25 players being named on the Dean’s List during the fall and spring semesters.
Texas State’s football team also was heavily involved in community service. The Bobcats performed nearly 1,000 combined hours of different community service projects in 2016-17. These included restoration projects along the San Marcos River, helping with local food banks, preparing an orchard for a community garden, assisting with Keep San Marcos Beautiful and downtown beautification projects, reading at local elementary schools and helping with area youth groups.
Withers won his coaching debut at Texas State with a triple overtime victory at Ohio when Tyler Jones set a school record for most completions in a game with 40, tied another record with 418 yards passing and accounted for five touchdowns (four passing, one receiving). Freshman kicker Marcus Ripley also tied the game with his first collegiate field goal at the end of regulation. Later in the season, Jones broke Texas State’s record for most yards passing and touchdown passes in a game when he threw for 475 yards and five TDs against Incarnate Word.
Withers and his staff also produced four first-year starters who earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors (redshirt freshmen Bryan London II and Jordan Mittie, true freshman Aaron Brewer and junior college transfer Gabe Loyd). London II also was selected to the SBC All-Newcomer team.
In addition, Texas State’s special teams led the nation with eight blocked kicks and Anthony D. Taylor led the nation with three blocked punts. Ishmael Davis blocked two kicks to rank fourth nationally.
Withers came to Texas State after leading James Madison to a pair of NCAA Division I FCS playoff berths, a combined 18-7 overall record that included two nine-win seasons. The Dukes also had a combined 12-4 record against Colonial Athletic Association teams and won a share of the CAA championship in 2015, the school’s first conference title since 2008.
|2001||North Carolina||7-6||3-5 (ACC)||Independence Bowl|
|2014||James Madison||9-4||6-2 (CAA)||FCS First Round|
|2015||James Madison||9-3||6-2 (CAA)||CAA Co-Champions, FCS Second Round|
|2016||Texas State||2-10||0-8 (SBC)|
|Total||Four Seasons||27-23||15-17||Two FCS Playoffs, One Conference Championship|
James Madison also set a school record with a 14-game, regular-season winning streak after the Dukes won the final seven games of the 2014 season and began the 2015 campaign with a 7-0 record. The Dukes also tied a school record by winning 10 straight CAA games.
Withers became head coach at JMU after coaching stints at Ohio State, North Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, Louisville, Southern Miss, Tulane and Austin Peay. He also spent seven years in the NFL. He coached six seasons with the Tennessee Titans and spent one year as a quality control coach with the New Orleans Saints.
In his two seasons at James Madison, Withers tutored quarterback Vad Lee, who tied a school record with 51 touchdown passes in just 21 career games. Lee also ranks second in total offense with 7,292 yards, and third with 5,662 passing yards, 446 completions and 705 attempts.
Lee also became the only player in NCAA Division I history (FCS and FBS) to pass and run for 275 yards in the same game when he threw for 289 yards and rushed for 275 yards in James Madison's 48-45 victory over SMU on Sept. 26. He also is the first player to win back-to-back "Bill Dudley Awards" in 2014 and 2015, which honors the top player in Virginia.
Withers led James Madison to a 9-3 record and had a 6-2 league mark to earn a No. 5 seed in the 2015 FCS Playoffs. JMU hosted the school's first home playoff game in December for the first time in seven years against Colgate after receiving a first-round bye.
The Dukes had one of the top offenses in the nation in 2015 and ranked second in scoring and total offense with 44.3 points and 528.8 yards per game. The team led the FCS in third-down conversions with 54 percent, while ranking fourth in pass completion percentage with 66.9 percent, seventh in rushing with 273.8 yards per game and ninth in red-zone scoring with 89.4 percent. JMU also set a school record with 6,345 yards of total offense after rushing for 3,285 yards and passing for 3,060 yards.
James Madison also excelled on its special teams after ranking seventh in kickoff returns (24.3 yards per return), 15th in net punting (37.7 yards per punt) and 11th with two blocked punts.
Withers coached 10 All-Conference players last season, including Lee, who was named the CAA Offensive Player of the Year after he led the nation in total offense with 375.5 yards per game and completion percentage with 68.3 percent.
In his inaugural season, the Dukes had a 9-4 overall record and finished third in the league standings with a 6-2 mark after being picked eighth in the preseason polls in 2014. James Madison also played in the FCS Playoffs for the first time since 2011. That year, James Madison set school records in total offense, passing offense, completions and touchdown passes and ranked 10th nationally in total offense with 484.6 yards per game. The Dukes also were the 17th-best scoring team and ranked 21st in both passing offense and rushing offense.
Defensively, the Dukes ranked second in the country in turnover margin (+1.08), 12th in total fumble recoveries (14) and 13th in sacks per game (2.85). They also had one of their best seasons on record in terms of blocks, ranking sixth in total blocks (7), including a No. 3 ranking in blocked punts (4).
James Madison had seven players earn All-CAA honors and senior safety Dean Marlowe was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game. Four players from his inaugural team signed free-agent contracts with National Football League teams: Marlowe (Carolina Panthers), Daniel Brown (Baltimore Ravens), Sage Harold (Kansas City Chiefs) and Brandon Lee (Seattle Seahawks).
Beginning his 29th year in the coaching ranks, Withers went to James Madison in January 2014 from The Ohio State University, where he served as assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach in 2012 and 2013. The Buckeyes had a 24-game winning streak and a 24-2 record during his tenure. Ohio State had a 12-0 record and finished No. 3 in the national rankings in 2012. It was the sixth unbeaten and untied season in school history.
The Buckeyes also ranked second in the Big Ten with 14 interceptions, and all four starting defensive backs earned All-Big Ten Conference recognition.
During his coaching career, Withers has served 11 years as a defensive coordinator and 17 seasons as a defensive secondary coach.
Prior to accepting his position with Ohio State, Withers spent four years at North Carolina. He was promoted to interim head coach in July 2011 and led the Tar Heels to a 7-6 overall record and a berth in the Independence Bowl against Missouri. His first defensive unit (in 2008) ranked eighth nationally with 20 interceptions, which was just one shy of setting a UNC single season record in 2008. His 2009 defense ranked sixth in total defense, 10th in rushing, 13th in scoring and 14th in passing defense. His 2010 unit was fourth in the ACC and 30th nationally. Five players off that team were taken in the NFL draft, including first-round pick Robert Quinn. In his final season, the Tar Heels ranked 14th nationally against the run in 2011. Additionally, his defenses picked off 71 passes in four seasons.
Withers spent one year as defensive coordinator at Minnesota and was a defensive backs coach at Texas from 1998-2000 after serving as a defensive coordinator, assistant head coach and defensive backs coach at Louisville from 1995-97. He was also a defensive backs and assistant special teams coach at Southern Mississippi in 1992-93, outside linebackers coach at Tulane in 1991 and defensive coordinator/defensive backs/tight ends and special teams coach at Austin Peay.
While he was with Tennessee in the NFL, Withers served as a defensive backs coach under Jeff Fisher. Tennessee won an AFC South championship in 2002 and earned playoff berths in 2002 and 2003. He coached All-AFC players in Lance Schulters in 2002 and Adam "Pacman" Jones in 2005. The Titans also ranked among the NFL's top five teams in rushing defense three times, and his defensive backs ranked among the top 10 defenses overall in 2002. Tennessee also had 57 interceptions from 2002-04, the best three-year total for the franchise, fourth-best in the AFC and eighth-best in the NFL.
A native of Charlotte, N.C., Withers was a four-year letterman as a defensive back at Appalachian State. He served as team captain in 1984. He and his wife, Kara, have a daughter, Tia, and a son, Pierce.