By BEN JOHNSON
There were way too many selling points for Casey Carlo not to accept the job on Northeastern State’s coaching staff.
With that said, Carlo was named the RiverHawks’ co-defensive coordinator on Tuesday.
“I’ve worked with some good people, and I’m looking forward to working with (Steve) Patterson and Coach (Kenny) Evans,” Carlo said in a phone interview with the Tahlequah Daily Press. “There are also players on defense that look the part. And they’re young. My job is to hopefully get them to play at an optimal level.”
The players Carlo was referencing were cornerback Vernon Jones and linebacker Langston Jones. Both will return for the RiverHawks in 2013.
Carlo, though, will center his focus on the defensive line, where he’ll take the place of former defensive line coach Greg Richmond. As the co-defensive coordinator, Carlo is replacing the recently-retired Mike Knoll, who Carlo worked with while at Upper Iowa University from 2005-2008.
“I don’t know if you can replace somebody like Coach Knoll, but I’m going to do the best job I can to try and fill his shoes,” Carlo said in a release from NSU. “He gave me my first chance to be a college position coach at Upper Iowa, and I have a great deal of respect for Mike.”
Carlo, 41, joins NSU after coaching the defensive line at Texas A&M-Commerce during the 2012 season. Carlo also served as the Lions’ recruiting coordinator.
Carlo said he opted to leave north Texas because of the success he envisions NSU having.
“It’s what draws any coach to any job,” Carlo said. “I believe you can have a great deal of success here. Winning four games at the end of the year is a good sign of things to come.”
NSU, after losing its first six games of the 2012 season, closed out the campaign with four straight victories over Central Missouri, Southwest Baptist, Lincoln and Central Oklahoma.
Evans said Carlo was a solid fit for the RiverHawks’ defensive coaching staff.
“I initially found out about Casey through Coach Knoll, and I felt like I’ve known him for quite some time. When I interviewed him, there was no doubt he was a guy we’d be interested in,” Evans said. “He has experience at both the Division I and Division II levels, and I know he is going to help our defensive line reach their full potential. He is a great recruiter, and he has a great understanding of what it takes to win at this level.”
The RiverHawks also announced other changes to their coaching staff. John Murray was promoted to assistant coach while maintaining his role as the strength and conditioning coach. Assistant coach and offensive line coach Mike Barela was named NSU’s recruiting coordinator, and Chris Davis will take over Murray’s role as running backs coach.
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