With the opening of spring practice today, Liberty Head Football Coach Turner Gill has announced two new additions to his staff and a promotion to one of his staff members who came to Liberty last January.
Gill has promoted Dennis Wagner to the position of assistant head coach to go along with his offensive line coaching duties. He will no longer have co-offensive coordinator duties, which will now be completely handled by Aaron Stamn.
"Dennis has a great understanding of the ‘big picture,' especially with his past experiences as a head coach," said Gill. Wagner came to Liberty from Western Carolina, where he was the Catamounts' head coach for four seasons. He also was a head coach at Wayne State for eight seasons (1989-96).
The additions to Gill's staff include new defensive tackles coach Bryant Lewellyn and Heath Kimmel, the program's new director of football recruiting.
Kimmel will be taking over for Adam Godwin, who recently left his administrative role within the football program to return to his coaching roots as Liberty's new assistant women's soccer coach.
Lewellyn finished up his playing days with the Flames last fall, helping Liberty capture its fifth Big South title in the last six seasons. The former starting tackle will work alongside Flames defensive line coach Vantz Singletary. Bryant Lewellyn Defensive Tackles Coach
Bryant Lewellyn has been a part of Liberty's football program since the 2009 season and capped off his four-year career with the Flames by earning All-Big South second team honors, last fall.
After only playing in nine games and recording five total tackles before his senior year, Lewellyn impressed Liberty's new coaching staff last year and finished off his career in a Flames uniform by having a banner season.
Following spring practice, Lewellyn was named one of four team captains, and he went on to start all 11 games during Liberty's 2012 Big South Conference championship season.
Lewellyn finished the year ranked second on the team and recorded a career-high 20 tackles during the 2012 campaign (10 solo, 10 assisted). He led the Flames and ranked No. 2 in the Big South with 5.0 sacks.
The Danbury, N.C., native saved his best performances of the season for Liberty's top ranked opponents. He recorded season-high tackle totals in Liberty's games against No. 14/12 Montana, No. 16/13 Lehigh and No. 6/8 Stony Brook. Against Stony Brook, Lewellyn finished the game with three tackles, including two sacks, to help the Flames knock off their first Top 10 ranked team in program history.
Lewellyn was part of a defensive unit that helped the Flames finish the year ranked No. 15 nationally in total defense (314.73 yards allowed per game) and No. 24 in rushing defense (126.09).
Coach Gill on Lewellyn: "In just one year of watching this young man, Bryant showed our staff a tremendous amount of leadership, knowledge and maturity. We are blessed to have someone coach our defensive tackles with his experience and knowledge, especially someone that has already played under Coach Singletary and Coach [Robert] Wimberly. He is the best fit for this job."
Heath Kimmel Director of Football Recruiting
Heath Kimmel has been a part of the Liberty University community since 2001. In his position as Director of Football Recruiting, Kimmel works closely with the coaching staff across all areas of recruiting, while assisting Paul Rutigliano, Assistant AD for Football Operations, in the day-to-day operations of the program.
Kimmel graduated from Liberty in 2005, earning a bachelor's degree in sport management. While completing his undergraduate degree, Kimmel worked for seven years with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a guest services representative.
After graduation, Kimmel moved to Atlanta, Ga., to work with the Atlanta Braves as a guest service trainee. During his role with the Major League Baseball organization, Kimmel supervised and trained over 60 game day staff workers.
Kimmel returned to Lynchburg in 2007 to start a master's degree. He completed his MBA in 2010, while he was employed in the university's campus recreation department.
Shortly after finishing up his master's degree program, Kimmel spent 18 months working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car where he helped run the local Lynchburg branch, as well as, oversee the rental car company's satellite location in Bedford, Va.
Most recently, Kimmel has worked with Liberty's Visitors Center as a guest service coordinator. Part of his duties in this role allowed Kimmel to coordinate group visits for five of Liberty's College for a Weekend (CFAW) events.
Coach Gill on Kimmel: "Heath is very well organized and passionate about serving other people. He brings with him a lot of experience about our university and its athletics programs with the many years he has been associated with Liberty."
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