Jon Anderson named West Virginia State football coach
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia State announced the hiring of Jon Anderson as its new football coach Tuesday afternoon.
Anderson, 36, has served the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota, which has been one of the nation's most successful NAIA and NCAA Division II programs.
"It's an opportunity I've been preparing for my whole coaching career,'' said Anderson. "Now that it's here, it's finally sinking in. I couldn't be more excited. The opportunity to take what I've learned to do it myself with my group of coaches at a place where we can build a solid foundation, it was too much that we couldn't turn it down.
"After meeting with the current team I know how hungry they are. I know that we've got a long ways to go, but we're going to start with a great foundation. I can't wait to get my family down here and put down some roots. It happened very quickly, but I'm very prepared to be here.''
Anderson becomes the 13th head football coach in Yellow Jackets history. State fired Earl Monroe last month after seven seasons, which included a 4-28 mark the last four seasons in the West Virginia Conference.
"We got this right,'' said State athletic director Sean Loyd of Anderson's hiring. "I'm really, really excited about the fact we were able to bring someone of his caliber to West Virginia State.
"This guy is used to winning. I anticipate that's going to permeate through this program. This is the type of guy that makes everybody better. I think he's going to be able to build us a program that will be able to sustain itself. We're thrilled to have him here.''
Sioux Falls, which competed this past season in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference as a Division II program, posted a 9-2 record. In prior years, Sioux Falls competed at the NAIA level and won the national championship in 2006, 2008 and 2009 and was the national runner-up in 2007 and 2010. Sioux Falls posted a 15-0 record in claiming its second straight NAIA national title in 2009.
The Cougars have posted a 134-26 record and a 21-5 playoff mark with Anderson part of the coaching staff. During Anderson's three years as defensive coordinator, Sioux Falls has compiled a 27-7 record and surrendered just 16.6 points per game.
Anderson's defensive unit was among the conference leaders in 2012 in scoring defense, surrendering only 20.2 points per game. The Cougars' defense was also among league leaders in forcing turnovers, taking the ball away from opponents 29 times, including 23 interceptions. In 2011, they forced 21 turnovers and allowed 21.6 points.
Prior to taking over the defense at Sioux Falls, Anderson served eight years as the Cougars' linebackers and special teams coordinator. In that role, he coached five All-Americans and eight all-conference players.
Anderson played college football and Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, and coached the secondary at his alma mater during 1999 and 2000 seasons. He moved to Madison, S.D., to join the Dakota State coaching staff for the 2001 season as linebackers and special teams coach.
Anderson what drew him to State was new President Brian Hemphill's commitment to improving the athletic facilities. A new athletic complex, which includes a state-of-the-art weight room for athletes only, was announced in October.
"The things that they're doing as far as fundraising and the plan that Dr. Hemphill has for athletics, football in particular, sold me right there,'' Anderson said.
Anderson said his vision for the football program begins in the classroom.
"We're going to graduate our student-athletes,'' he said. "That's first and foremost. The second thing is we're going to be socially responsible for our actions on the football field, in the classroom and in the community. We're going to work for daily improvement is the third major thing.
"No shortcuts. No instant gratification. Look for small daily improvements. If we do that enough days in a row we'll get to where we're going. We're going to have competition. I want guys that are hungry to compete. I want guys that aren't scared of competition or back down from competition.''
Anderson said he had never been to the Mountain State until Monday night.
"It's beautiful country,'' he said. "They've made my wife and I feel so welcome. We feel very comfortable. We fell like this is home for the next period of our life.''
Anderson and his wife, Amanda, have two sons, 8-year-old Trevor and 5-year-old Tyce.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.