MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois Football head coach Mark Hendrickson announced the hiring of Kevin Corless as the Leathernecks' defensive coordinator. He officially begins his new post Monday (Jan. 16).
Corless worked nine years as an assistant coach at Arkansas State (2002-10), the first seven as co-defensive coordinator and the final two with sole responsibility as coordinator also in charge of the linebackers and punt return units.
He was named the league's 2009 'Defensive Coordinator of the Year' by rivals.com. Coming off a Sun Belt title in 2005 and participation in the New Orleans Bowl, Corless' unit finished second twice (2006, 2008) and led the conference twice (2007, '09) in total defense.
"The Leatherneck football family is very fortunate to have Kevin joining us. Kevin is an outstanding person and coach. He most recently spent nine years at Arkansas State University as the Defensive Coordinator," said Hendrickson. "During that time Kevin coached the linebacker position in the 4-3 scheme he will be installing here. His wealth of experience and knowledge will greatly benefit our entire program."
During the 2010 season, the Red Wolves led the SBC in redzone defense (17th nationally), ranked second in turnovers gained (25th nationally), and third in sacks (40th). When ASU led the conference in total defense during the 2009 campaign, the unit also boasted the top-ranking in redzone defense and scoring defense while finishing second in rushing defense and third in passing defense.
In 2008, ASU led the Sun Belt in redzone defense and rushing defense while ranking second in scoring and pass defense. Corless and the defense stood 11th nationally in stopping opponents in the redzone and 20th in tackles for loss. That year the program knocked off Texas A&M 18-14.
A year prior the Red Wolves finished second in the league in four different categories: passing defense, scoring defense, redzone defense and rushing defense. The 2006 unit ranked ninth nationally in interceptions and 13th in pass defense. During the 2005 championship season, Corless and the defense led the conference in sacks and turnovers gained.
In all of Corless' years, the Red Wolves defense finished among the 'Top 40' FBS programs in at least one defensive category. During his tenure at ASU, Corless coached three Freshman All-Americans.
Six of his defensive players since 1998 would hear their name called in the NFL Draft, led by Arkansas State second round pick Tyrell Johnson - the 2007 SBC Defensive Player of the Year. In the following year, Corless coached Alex Carrington to the league's top Defensive Award and saw him get drafted in the third round by Buffalo. The ASU linebackers unit earned 10 All-SBC awards during Corless' Red Wolves tenure.
From 1995-2001 he was an assistant coach at Northwestern State, starting as the defensive line coach then was promoted to Defensive Co-Coordinator the final three seasons. Northwestern State captured two Southland Conference titles and made three NCAA FCS Playoff appearances.
Corless coached linebackers and was the special teams coordinator at Montana Tech from 1986-95. He also worked form 1984-86 as the graduate assistant coach with linebackers at Northwest Missouri State.
Corless earned his bachelor's and master's degree from NMSU. It was during his collegiate days that Corless first began working with Leatherneck Offensive Coordinator Doug Ruse, then later at Northwestern State and ASU.