VMI football announces eight assistant coaches to staff

vmi footballVMI head football coach Scott Wachenheim announced this week the addition of eight assistant football coaches to the staff.

Coaching the offensive side of the ball will be Dustin Ward (Offensive Coordinator/ Quarterbacks), Gordon Sammis, (Offensive Line), and Brad Robbins (Wide Receivers and Tight Ends/Internal Recruiting Coordinator).

Defensive coaches for the 2015 season will be Tom Clark (Defensive Coordinator/Secondary), Mike Saint Germain (Defensive Line/External Recruiting Coordinator), Justin Wood (Inside Linebackers), Justin Hamilton (Outside Linebackers/Special Teams Co-Coordinator), and Josh Zidenberg  (Assistant Secondary Coach/Special Teams Co-Coordinator).

“The football staff at VMI is made up of self-motivated men with uncommon initiative. They are excellent teachers who love what they do and look forward to going to work every day,” said Wachenheim. “Multiple members of our coaching staff have worked as coordinators, giving us experienced play callers on offense, defense, and special teams. Additionally, many our coaches have experience  at the highest of levels of football having played and coached in NCAA Power Five conferences as well as the NFL. Finally, our staff has extensive experience recruiting the state of Virginia which is vital for success at VMI.”

Wachenheim added that the running backs position coach will be announced soon to complete the staff.

In other VMI football news, Wachenheim announced that 2015 spring drills will begin April 8 and run through May 1. Scrimmages are planned for April 18, 25, and May 1.

The new assistant coaches with bio capsules are listed alphabetically below:

Tom Clark – Assistant Football Coach Football – Defensive Coordinator/Secondary

Tom Clark will handle VMI defensive backs and serve as defensive coordinator…comes to VMI from William & Mary where he coached Tribe defensive backs for three years (2012-14) and also promoted to special teams coordinator in 2014…coached two All-American defensive backs at William & Mary who made it to the NFL ranks…was also William & Mary defensive coordinator from 2001-2003 and Liberty defensive coordinator for six seasons where the Flames posted a 47-20 mark and claimed four Big South titles and his defenses were ranked in the Top 25 in scoring defense four times…served as Catholic University head coach during two stints (1994-2000) and (2004-05) and was 56-14-1 in his first stint as Catholic head coach and had three consecutive playoff appearances (1997, 98, 99)… a native of Washington, D.C. and earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Maryland in 1986.

Mike Saint Germain – Assistant  Football Coach – Defensive Line/External Recruiting Coordinator

Mike Saint Germain will serve as Keydets defensive line coach and external recruiting coordinator…comes to VMI after serving at his alma mater of Lafayette College as a defensive assistant…served two years on the Virginia football staff (2012-13) as an offensive assistant with Coach Wachenheim…in 2013, Saint Germain coached the UVa fullbacks and assisted with special teams and offensive line…worked with the Cavalier offensive line and tight ends in 2012…coached three years at Franklin & Marshall on the defensive line and helped the Diplomats achieve winning seasons in 2009 and 2010….two-time All-Patriot League offensive line at Lafayette and named AP and Football Gazette third team All-American…graduated from Lafayette College in 2007 with a degree in history…played for Austin Wranglers in the Arena 2 Football League.

Justin Hamilton – Assistant Football Coach – Outside Linebackers/Special Teams Co-Coordinator

Justin Hamilton will again coach VMI outside linebackers after coming to Lexington  in spring, 2014…came to the Institute from UVa-Wise where he spent last three years as defensive coordinator… …Hamilton also worked with the UVa-Wise football program as the school’s strength and conditioning coordinator…played collegiately at Virginia Tech where he received playing time at running back, wide receiver, defensive back and on the Hokie special teams…saw most of his collegiate playing time on the defensive side of the ball…after graduating from Virginia Tech, Hamilton became a member of the Cleveland Browns for two seasons before finishing his career with the Washington Redskins in 2008.

Brad Robbins – Assistant Football Coach – Wide Receivers and Tight Ends/Internal Recruiting Coordinator

Brad Robbins begins his third year on the VMI staff and first under Coach Wachenheim… will work with the Keydet wide receivers again as well as tight ends…came to VMI in 2013 and mentored the Keydet cornerbacks… spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons at Virginia where he handled various coaching responsibilities… worked closely with the Cavalier linebackers and safeties in 2012 and assisted with the defensive line in 2011. Robbins was also instrumental with organizing the scout team and coached various special teams drills…also served as assistant recruiting coordinator for Virginia following the 2010 season before assuming his on-field responsibilities… was a four-year letterwinner in football and baseball at UVA-Wise where he graduated in 2010. He was named first team All-Mid South Conference his senior year after throwing for over 3,000 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Gordon Sammis – Assistant Football Coach – Offensive Line Coach

Gordon Sammis will serve as offensive line coach for the Keydets…comes to VMI after coaching the past three years at Columbia University…coached the Lions tight ends before becoming offensive line coach in 2013…coached two years at Virginia working the 2010 season as an on-field graduate assistant coached tight ends in 2011…a two-year letterman at Virginia and appeared in 27 games from 2003-07 as an offensive guard…earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and master’s degree in Education from Virginia…a prep All-American at Immaculata High School in Flemington, New Jersey and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Dustin Ward – Assistant Football Coach – Offensive Coordinator/ Quarterbacks

Dustin Ward serve as VMI offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach…comes to VMI from Concord University where he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the past four seasons…during his stint, Concord was 25-12 with two conference championships, a regional championship, two NCAA playoff appearances including a semifinal appearance…at Concord, Ward coached 32 all-conference selections, six all-region honorees and five All-Americans…Concord averaged 42.4 points per game in 2014 which ranked 10th nationally…also served as offensive coordinator at DePauw from 2007-10 and helped them to a 32-9 record, two Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference titles and two appearances in the NCAA playoffs…also had an assistant coaching stint at Saint Joseph’s College in 2006 and was a Indiana’s recruiting assistant in 2005…began coaching career at DePauw in 2003 as running backs coach…was a  four-year letterwinner at Illinois and played in 22 games at quarterback completing 165 passes for 1,946 yards and 13 touchdowns and graduated from Illinois in 2003.

Justin Wood – Assistant Football Coach – Inside Linebackers

Justin Wood will coach VMI inside linebackers…comes to the Institute after serving in various capacities as an assistant coach for eight seasons at his alma mater of Christopher Newport University…was CNU defensive coordinator and specialized in the linebacking corps…started his coaching career at Christopher Newport as a student assistant in 2006 and coached linebackers in 2007 before spending several years teaching locally…returned to the CNU staff in 2011 and was named defensive coordinator in 2012…was one of the top defensive players in CNU history and became the school’s second ever player named All-American in 2005 and still holds many CNU records in tackles after finishing with 370 for his career…earned First team All-USA South linebacker for  three seasons after being named Second team his freshman season.

Josh Zidenberg – Assistant Football Coach – Assistant Secondary Coach/Special Teams Co-Coordinator

Josh Zidenburg will assist Tom Clark with the secondary and will also work the VMI special teams…Zidenburg comes to VMI from UConn where he was a defensive graduate assistant in 2014…served three years as a graduate assistant coach at Virginia from the 2009-11 seasons…was a player personnel assistant for the Miami Dolphins in 2008 and 2009…Zidenburg is a 2008 graduate of Virginia with a degree in anthropology and earned a master’s degree from UVA in administration and supervision in 2011…joined the Virginia football program as a walk-on but was later awarded a football scholarship and won the George Welsh Award following his junior year of 2006 as most outstanding special teams player and awarded the John Polzer Award for ability, sportsmanship, and character…worked two years in private business as Business Development Manager for Movement Mortgage, Inc. in Virginia Beach, Virginia.


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