FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino has completed his Razorback football staff after naming six assistant coaches, three administrators and two graduate assistants on Friday. Ellis Johnson was announced as the Razorbacks’ new defensive coordinator while the other five appointments were assigned position responsibilities. The newly named coaches join Paul Petrino (offensive coordinator), Tim Horton (running backs, tight ends and recruiting coordinator) and Bobby Allen (defensive line – tackles) on the Arkansas coaching staff.
“I’m excited about the staff we have assembled for the University of Arkansas,” Petrino said. “These coaches and administrators have a wealth of experience at the highest levels of collegiate athletics and in the professional ranks. I’m confident that they will work tirelessly as we mold our program and that they will represent the Razorbacks in a first-class fashion.”
Johnson joins the Razorbacks after spending the past four seasons as the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. In Johnson’s final game with the Bulldogs, the Mississippi State defense yielded only 231 yards of total offense against Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl, including holding the nation’s leading rusher, Kevin Smith, to nearly 70 yards below his season average.
Johnson has 27 years of collegiate coaching experience, including the last four years as the defensive coordinator for Sylvester Croom at MSU. His resume also boasts head coaching experience with three years at the helm of The Citadel program from 2001-03 and at Gardner Webb College in 1983. He has had stints as the defensive coordinator at Appalachian State (1984), Southern Mississippi (1988-89), Clemson (1995-96), Alabama (1997-2000) and Mississippi State (2004-07).
Johnson has a diversified background with coaching stints at almost every level of football, including high school, small college, I-AA and major college levels. He helped lead Alabama to the 1992 national championship as the outside linebackers coach and then tutored the Crimson Tide to the 1999 SEC championship as the defensive coordinator.
Former Razorback tight end Kirk Botkin returns to Fayetteville as the defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator. Botkin was a four-year letterman for the Razorbacks from 1990-93, and finished his career with 87 receptions for 819 yards and five touchdowns. He earned All-SEC honors as both a junior and a senior and served as a team captain in 1993. Botkin is also a member of the Razorbacks 1990-99 All-Decade Team.
Botkin joins Petrino’s staff after two seasons (2006-07) coaching the linebackers and special teams at Louisiana-Monroe. Prior to his coaching stint at ULM, Botkin spent five years (2001-05) as an assistant at Jacksonville [Ala.] State University under former Razorback coach Jack Crowe. His final two years at Jacksonville State were spent as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach. Botkin coached tight ends and offensive tackles during his first three years at JSU.
Reggie Johnson joins the Razorback staff after five years on the Louisville sidelines with four of those seasons coaching under Petrino. After tutoring the Cardinals’ linebackers for the past four seasons, Johnson will handle the same responsibilities for the Razorbacks.
Johnson’s linebackers excelled for the Cardinals with Lamar Myles leading the team with 128 tackles in 2007 after finishing second on the team in tackles in 2006. UL’s 2006 leading tackler, Nate Harris, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs following his career. Johnson’s tutelage also helped Robert McCune get drafted in the fifth round in 2005 by the Washington Redskins. Johnson coached the Louisville defensive line in 2003.
Johnson’s coaching career began as a defensive graduate assistant at Louisville for the 1997 season. He moved on to Alabama A&M where he coached the defensive line (1998-99) before coaching the linebackers and coordinating the special teams (2000). Johnson then moved on to UTEP, coaching defensive ends (2001) and linebackers (2002) on Coach Gary Nord’s staff.
Lorenzo Ward spent seven years on Frank Beamer’s staff at Virginia Tech and one year as an NFL assistant with the Oakland Raiders before coming to Arkansas to coach the Hogs’ secondary.
Ward coached the defensive backfield at Virginia Tech from 1999-2005 where he coached five All-Big East players and one All-ACC performer. His 1999 defense at Tech finished third nationally in total defense and seventh in pass efficiency defense. The 2000 defense was No. 3 nationally in interceptions while the 2001 defense ranked No. 2 in total defense. In 2002, the Hokies led the country in interceptions with 24 and then ranked fourth in the nation in pass defense and interceptions in 2004. In his final season in Blacksburg, Tech led the nation in total defense while ranking third in pass defense and second in pass efficiency defense.
Ward joined Art Shells’ staff with the Oakland Raiders in 2006 and served as a defensive assistant in the Silver and Blacks’ secondary.
Former Northwestern University offensive coordinator Garrick McGee has joined the Razorback staff as quarterbacks coach. McGee spent four seasons (2004-07) on Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcat staff, including the last two as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of Northwestern’s spread attack.
McGee’s 2007 Wildcat offense ranked 11th nationally and led the Big 10 in passing with 307.9 yards per game and 31st nationally and first in the Big Ten in total offense with 427.7 yards per game. He spent his first two years at Northwestern as the wide receivers coach. His 2005 wide receivers corps had three wideouts with 100 or more career receptions – a first in NU history.
After quarterbacking the Oklahoma Sooners in 1994-95, McGee had coaching stints at Langston [Okla.] University (1996-98), Northern Iowa (1999), the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL (2000-01), Toledo (2002) and UNLV (2003) before joining the Northwestern staff.
Mike Summers is a veteran offensive line coach that spent 28 years in the collegiate ranks before coaching the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive front in 2007. Summers went to Atlanta with Petrino from Louisville where he guided the Cardinals offensive line from 2003-06.
Summers developed six All-Big East offensive linemen during his four years at Louisville. The Cardinals led the nation in total offense (539.0 yards per game) and in scoring offense (49.75 points per game) in 2004. In 2006, the offensive line provided balanced protection for an offense that ranked second in the nation with an average of 476.8 yards of total offense per game.
Summers joined Petrino in 2003 after coaching two years at Ohio where his Bobcat line cleared the way for 239.8 yards per game in 2002 (8th nationally) and 240.1 yards per game in 2001 (6th nationally). His resume also includes stints at Oklahoma State (1999-2000), the University of the South (1997-99), Oregon State (1991-96) where he was the offensive coordinator for five years, Northern Illinois (1985-90), Texas A&M (1982-84) and Kentucky (1979-81).
Mark Robinson is joining the staff as the director of football operations after working as a football operations and coaching assistant at Texas A&M from 2004-07. At A&M, he assisted with the day to day operations of the program, including team travel, practice, game day operations, recruiting and coaching. He assisted the staff with film breakdown, recruiting letters and videos, worked with the compliance office, handled player guest tickets, coordinated various activities and functions related to bowl games, assisted with recruiting weekends and official visits, put together a player policy manual and supervised team building activities.
Robinson, who was a volunteer assistant at A&M during the 2003-04 academic year, earned his bachelor’s in communications in 2003 from Appalachian State, where he was a member of the football team for five years.
Dean Campbell has joined the Razorback staff as the director of high school relations. Campbell, who earned his bachelor’s in management from Texas in 1992, spent the last seven years as an assistant coach at Air Force. He has also coached at Texas A&M (1973-77, 1979-81), New Mexico (1978), Texas (1982-86), North Carolina (1987), Rice (1989-91) and Texas Tech (1992-99).
He has spent most of his career coaching defensive backs, but has also coached linebackers, receivers and running backs, and was the passing game coordinator for two years at Rice.
He has been a part of the coaching staffs with teams ranking in the top 20 in total defense six times, including three times at Texas A&M (2, 1974; 1, 1975; 4, 1976), twice at Texas (1, 1983; 20, 1984) and once at Texas Tech (8, 1998). His teams have also ranked among the nation’s best in pass defense six times, including once at Texas A&M (2, 1974), once at Texas (2, 1983) and four times at Texas Tech (3, 1994; 3, 1995; 18, 1996; 25, 1999).
In addition, Petrino announced that Jason Veltkamp has been named head strength and conditioning coach. He spent the last four years (2004-07) as the head strength and conditioning coach for football at Louisville. In his four seasons, 14 Cardinals were selected in the NFL Draft. Before going to Louisville, he was the director of strength and conditioning at the University of Utah from 2001-03 after working as an assistant in 1999 and 2000.
Veltkamp, who was a two-time all-conference selection in football at Carroll College for head coach Bob Petrino, Sr., began his career as a student assistant and volunteer coach working with the offensive line at Carroll. He moved into strength and conditioning as the coach for the Helena Ice Pirates Junior “A” hockey team in 1996 and 1997, and worked as a graduate assistant strength coach at Utah State from 1997-98. At USU, he worked with 14 sports, including football, basketball, volleyball and track.
Courtney Sanders will remain as a graduate assistant working with the Razorback defense. Sanders recently completed his first season as a graduate assistant at Arkansas after spending the previous three seasons as a volunteer assistant.
Chip Long will serve as a graduate assistant coach working with the Razorback offense. Long spent the past two seasons in the same position at the University of Louisville.
2008 Arkansas Football Coaching Staff
Paul Petrino – Offensive Coordinator
Tim Horton – Running Backs, Tight Ends and Recruiting Coordinator
Garrick McGee – Quarterbacks
Mike Summers – Offensive Line
Chip Long – Graduate Assistant
Ellis Johnson – Defensive Coordinator
Bobby Allen – Defensive Line (Tackles)
Reggie Johnson – Linebackers
Lorenzo Ward – Secondary
Kirk Botkin – Defensive Line (Ends) and Special Teams Coordinator
Courtney Sanders – Graduate Assistant
Dean Campbell – Director of High School Relations
Mark Robinson – Director of Football Operations
Jason Veltkamp – Head Strength and Conditioning Coach