Marshall Roberts is the senior veteran on Liberty's coaching staff, having started his coaching career on Liberty Mountain in 2004. He brings an array of knowledge, having previously worked with football programs from the NFL, NFL Europe, Canadian Football League, Arena Football League, collegiate, and high school ranks.
During his decade-plus years of coaching at Liberty, Roberts helped the Flames win eight Big South titles (2007-10, 2012-14, 2016) and secure their first-ever NCAA FCS Playoffs win in 2014.
Roberts has seen several adjustments in his responsibilities during his time at Liberty, but his current on-field coaching task is working with Liberty's cornerbacks.
During a three-year span (2009-11), Roberts served as Liberty's special teams coordinator, coaching some of the most talented special teams players in program history. In 2011, two-time All-America kicker Matt Bevins left the program as Liberty's all-time leading scorer with 309 points, in addition to his career records for most field goals (58) and most field goal attempts (77). In 2011, Roberts instructed another All-America special teams player, Kevin Fogg, who led the country with three kickoff returns for touchdowns and averaged 33.5 yards per kickoff return.
Roberts has also coached Liberty's defensive backfield, playing a significant role in helping Liberty set eight defensive team records in 2006, including fewest points allowed (172), fewest total touchdowns allowed (21), most shutouts (3), and fewest total average offensive yards per game (306).
During Roberts' time with the Flames, Liberty's defense has ranked in the top 20 in the country multiple times, including No. 12 in scoring defense in 2006 and No. 5 in 2013. Roberts' defenders played a vital role in Liberty's record-setting 10-2 campaign in 2008, helping the Flames finish the season ranked No. 14 nationally in the final polls. Three of the top six Flames defenders were from the secondary — an impressive accomplishment with Liberty's linebacker-heavy 3-4 defensive scheme.
Individually, Roberts has had an impact on several of his players, with 17 defensive backs taking home Big South all-conference honors under his tutelage.
Roberts also helped train a rising star in the professional ranks — three-time All-Big South honoree Walt Aikens. The former standout cornerback for the Flames finished his career at Liberty with 162 tackles (120 solo, 42 assisted), 13 pass breakups, seven interceptions, and six forced fumbles. Aikens was selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins (No. 125 overall pick), becoming the seventh player in Liberty's history selected in the NFL Draft and the third highest overall.
Roberts helped Liberty kicked off its two-year FBS transition process in grand style when the Flames posted a 48-45 win at Baylor on Sept. 2, 2017. The stunning victory was ranked as the seventh biggest upset in college football over the last 25 years in an article on ESPN.com (Sept. 6, 2017).
CAREER BEFORE LIBERTY
Roberts is a graduate of Rutgers, where he was a four-year letter-winner under former Flames Defensive Coordinator Steve Carson. The four-year starter at cornerback and punt returner finished as Rutgers' all-time leader in career punt returns with 1,018 yards and 91 returns (averaging 11.1 yards per return).
He was an All-ECAC, East, and AP corner and return specialist in 1991 and was named to the 1992 BIG EAST preseason all-conference team while finishing the season ranked 12th in the country in punt returns.
Roberts played professionally in the Arena Football League (AFL) for four years and another year with the Canadian Football League (CFL). He played for the CFL's Sacramento Gold Miners as a defensive back and punt returner in 1993. He then played with the AFL's Orlando Predators in 1994 and 1995 as a defensive/return specialist. Additionally, Roberts spent the 1996 season with the Albany Firebirds as a defensive specialist. He then coached the receivers and defensive backs with the Anaheim Piranhas in 1997.
Roberts served as a graduate assistant for the East Stroudsburg Warriors and was responsible for the secondary in 1998. In 1999, Roberts served as the head football coach at Abington High School in Abington, Pa., while overseeing the defense, special teams, and the passing game.
Roberts served as a coaching intern for the Pittsburgh Steelers for two months during the summer of 2002 and the secondary coach with NFL Europe's Frankfurt Galaxy during the 2002 season.
Roberts came to Liberty from East Stroudsburg University, where he served as the secondary coach/special teams coordinator from 2000-03. He helped guide the Warriors to back-to-back Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East Division titles in 2002 and 2003.
Roberts at a Glance Coaching Experience: 2004-present - Liberty (DB, ST, CB, Rec. Coord.) 2000-03 – East Stroudsburg (DB, ST) 2002 (Spring) – Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) (Intern) 2002 – Frankfurt Galaxy (NFL Europe) (DB) 1999 – Abington HS (HC) 1998 – East Stroudsburg (DB) 1997 – Anaheim Piranhas (AFL) (WR/DB) 1996 – LaSalle HS (DB) 1994-95 – Abington HS (Asst. Coach) Recruiting Area: Virginia (Lynchburg/29 North), Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina (Eastern), Ohio, Pennsylvania (Eastern/Philadelphia), South Carolina (Northwest) and West Virginia Education: B.S., Administration of Justice (Rutgers, '93); M.A., Education (East Stroudsburg, '03) Hometown: Abington, Pa. Wife: Alicia Children: Tripp, McKenzie and Micah