|Previous College:||Tulsa '81|
Denver Johnson was named the 13th head coach in Missouri Southern history on April 1, 2015. He comes to Southern after serving four seasons at the University of Tulsa as the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator.
Johnson has spent a total of 30 years coaching college football. In the summer of 2012, Johnson was awarded the Merv Johnson Integrity in College Coaching Award by the Jim Thorpe Association.
In his four seasons at Tulsa, four of his offensive linemen earned first-team all-league accolades, including Stetson Burnett (2013), Brian DeShane and Jared Grigg (2012) and Clint Anderson (2011). Tyler Holmes was an honorable mention performer in 2011 and spent the 2012 season with the Minnesota Vikings.
Johnson coached an offensive line that helped pave the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in two of his final three seasons at Tulsa. In 2012, Tulsa's offense ranked fourth nationally for fewest sacks allowed, ninth for rushing offense, 21st for fewest tackles for lost yardage allowed and 28th for total offense.
Before joining the Tulsa staff, Johnson spent two seasons as the offensive line coach at the University of Colorado (2009-10). The Buffs' offensive unit jumped 66 spots in NCAA stats for fewest sacks allowed in 2010, while coaching offensive lineman Nate Solder who was the New England Patriots first round draft choice in 2011.
Prior to Colorado, Johnson spent a total of 12 years as a head coach at two Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools, including nine years at Illinois State (2000-08) and the three seasons before that at Murray State (1997-99). He compiled an overall 69-66 career head coaching mark. Johnson recorded a 21-12 record at Murray State and won 48 games at Illinois State. His 2006 ISU team registered a 9-4 mark, the second most wins in school history, advanced to the FCS quarterfinals and finished the season with a No. 8 national ranking.
At Illinois State, his teams produced some of the most prolific offensive campaigns in school history by establishing 28 offensive records, including most points and the most rushing, passing and total yards in a single season.
His ISU teams produced 34 players who received All-America honors and 62 first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selections.
Before his first head coaching stop, Johnson spent 11 years as an assistant coach, beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1985 at Oklahoma State. He coached three years at Tennessee-Martin (1986-88), four years at Oklahoma State (1989-92), three seasons at Mississippi State (1993-95) and one year at Oklahoma (1996), coaching the offensive line at all four schools.
An All-Missouri Valley Conference offensive lineman as a senior for Tulsa, Johnson was an eighth round draft choice by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1981. He spent two years (1981-82) with the Bucs and three seasons in the USFL, playing two years (1983-84) with the Los Angeles Express and the 1985 season with the Houston Gamblers. Johnson's USFL tenure included playing stints with NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Steve Young.
Johnson earned his bachelor's degree in business management from Tulsa in 1981. He and his wife, Danita Kay, have two daughters: Taylor and Kelsey.
THE JOHNSON FILE
Alma Mater: Tulsa `81
Birthdate: October 17, 1958
Hometown: Seminole, Oklahoma
College Coaching Experience: 30 years (1985-14). First year at MSSU.
Playing Experience: Was a four-year letterwinner (1976-80). Earned all-conference honors in 1980.
Collegiate Head Coaching Record: 69-66
Bowl Games as a Player 1976 Independence Bowl (Tulsa) Bowl Games as a Coach 1985 Gator Bowl (Oklahoma State) 1993 Peach Bowl (Mississippi State) 1995 Peach Bowl (Mississippi State) 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Tulsa) 2012 AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Tulsa)
Kenny Evans was named the Defensive Coordinator at Missouri Southern on April 9, 2015. It is the second time he has held that title at MSSU after serving as the programs DC from 1989-1997.
Evans comes to Missouri Southern after serving as the Head Football Coach and physical education teacher at East Central High School in the Tulsa Public School system.
Prior to his stint at ECHS, Evans was the Head Coach at Northeastern State University for six seasons. With over 30 years of coaching experience at seven different colleges, Evans brings a wealth of experience with him.
While at NSU, Evans saw four-straight wins over in-state rival Central Oklahoma resulting in the President's Cup residing in Tahlequah the majority of his tenure. He helped return NSU to the glory years of its past, exemplified by back-to-back winning seasons in 2010 and 2011, the 2010 Lone Star Conference North Division Title and the 2011 record-breaking season which included only the school's fifth bowl game appearance and over 30 new school records being set. Prior to his arrival at NSU, the school had posted ten years of non-winning seasons that coincided with its move to NCAA Division II.
Evans has coached in seven bowl games, three national playoff games, and was part of a coaching staff that has won nine conference championships. His ninth championship in 2010 was followed by his seventh bowl invitation in 2011. Evans led NSU to its second-consecutive winning campaign in 2011 as the team finished 7-5 as an NCAA Independent. The team had a six-game winning streak and finished with a trip to the Mineral Water Bowl against Minnesota State.
Evans has coached 15 All-Americans, 11 Conference Players of the Year, and more than two dozen that have made it into the National Football League, including current Cleveland Brown offensive lineman, Michael Bowie.
Prior to NSU, Evans spent the 2007 season at Louisiana Tech as the linebackers coach for Derek Dooley. Prior to La Tech, Evans spent nine seasons on the staff at the University of North Texas where he helped coach Darrell Dickey and the Mean Green to the most successful stretch in program history. During that stretch, the school won 38 conference games in a row, four-straight conference titles and had four trips to a bowl game. He started as a tight end coach, but during his tenure, also spent time as the Defensive Coordinator and the Assistant Head Coach.
Evans spent nine seasons on the late John Lantz's staff at Missouri Southern from 1989-97 where he helped guide the program into the ranks of NCAA Division II and help MSSU go 51-35 during that stretch. He served as the Defensive Coordinator and Recruiting Coordinator, while mentoring the linebackers. He also helped the Lions to their only MIAA Conference Championship, going 9-1-1 in 1993.
Evans served on Lantz's staff at Southeastern Oklahoma from 1986-1988, while also coaching at Florida from 85-86 and serving as a graduate assistant on Barry Switzer's Oklahoma staff from 1982-84. He got his coaching start in 1981 coaching the secondary and running backs at Miami (Okla.) High School.
Evans is a 1982 graduate of Northeastern State with a B.S. in physical education and biology. He earned his M.S. in physical education/sports administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1985.
A native of Warner, Okla., Evans has a 16-year old son, Elliott, who plays football, basketball, the violin and is an honor student.
Corey Fipps begins his first season as the Offensive Coordinator at Missouri Southern State University.
Fipps comes to Southern after a season as the Co-Offensive Coordinator at Bellhaven University in Mississippi. In 2014 at Bellhaven, Fipps' offense racked up 4,855 yards of total offense, including over 3,700 in the air. The Blazers averaged 10.4 yards per catch and recorded 28 touchdowns passing, while averaging 337 yards in the air per game.
Prior to Bellhaven, Fhipps was the Offensive Coordinator at Montana Tech. In his one season at Tech, the Orediggers ranked 15th in the NAIA in passing offense per game (261.4) and 22nd in total passing (2614). Tech averaged 21.4 first downs per game and 403.1 yards of total offense.
Fipps joined the Orediggers from Sacramento City College, a member of the California Community College Athletic Association, where he served as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. In his only season with the Panthers, he increased the offensive production by 150 yards and 11 points per game.
Prior to his time at SCC, Fipps spent three seasons with Faulkner University as the offensive coordinator and lead recruiter. He increased the team’s offensive production in each of his seasons. In 2011, the Eagles ranked first in the nation in total offense (520 yards), first downs (30.2) and passing offense (397) per game. They were also the NAIA’s third highest scoring team per game (43.5 points).
While at Faulkner, Fipps coached 2011 AFCA All-American Josh Hollingsworth. The standout quarterback passed for 3,937 yards and 43 touchdowns for the Eagles in Fipps’ offensive scheme.
Fipps also spent time at NCAA Division II Harding University, his alma mater, and also First Baptist Academy and the Frisco Thunder of the Indoor Football League.
As a player, Fipps played offensive tackle at Harding. While playing for the Bison, he obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in education and kinesiology, respectively.
Corey and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters, Kensley and Caroline.
Rashad Watson is in his fourth season as an assistant coach at Missouri Southern, having served the past season as the defensive coordinator. Watson was responsible for running the defense at Southern and has also been involved in all facets of recruiting, previously serving as the recruiting coordinator, as well.
In 2014, Watson directed a defense that saw three Lions named All-MIAA on the defensive side of the ball. Johnquavious McBride was a third-team pick. McBride finished second in the MIAA in fumble recoveries, while also finishing fifth in the league in interceptions and sixth in passes defended. Also joining McBride on the All-MIAA team from the defense was Gaige Washington and Dalvin Taylor.
Prior to the season even starting, Watson was selected to a prestigious position as he was selected for the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Fellowship Coaching position. Watson spent training camp with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, helping to coach the linebackers and secondary, while also assisting with special teams.
In 2015, Watson followed up that experience by being selected to participate in the NFL and NCAA Coaching Academy. At this camp, Watson was involved in sessions that included athletic operation and budget management, college recruiting and NFL scouting, media training, offensive and defensive strategies, as well as contract negotiations.
The 2013 MSSU defense ranked second in the MIAA in total defense, allowing just 326 yards per game and the team ranked fifth in scoring defense, allowing just 23.3 points per game. The 233 total points allowed was third-lowest in the league. Elijah Swen ranked second in the MIAA in passes defended with 1.2 per game.
He came to Southern after serving two seasons coaching the defense at Benedict College. While at Benedict, the secondary at Benedict led all of Division II in interceptions at the end of the regular season. Free safety Marquez Gibson led the team with six while being selected first-team All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Previously, Watson came to Benedict by way of Nicholls State University. He coached the defensive backs at Nicholls having two players selected to the All-Conference Teams. He also held the positions of NFL liaison, making way for Antonio Robinson's free agent selection and Robinson later earned a Super Bowl ring while be a part of the Green Bay Packers.
Watson spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons with Morehouse College, specializing with the secondary and assisting with special teams. During his time there, his unit produced the SIAC's 2008 Defensive Player of the Year, Jeffrey Cargile, and three All-Conference selections.
Prior to his stint with Morehouse College, Watson spent five years coaching on the prep level in Alabama. He spent 2004-05 with Anniston High, coaching both the offensive and defensive backfields, and then moved on to Midfield High where he served as the school's defensive coordinator. Watson held that post until 2007.
Watson played on the collegiate level at Alabama A&M from 1997-2001, and was a four-year letter winner, earning a starting role as a redshirt freshman. The Bulldogs' 2000 defensive unit put together one of the best season's in school history, finishing eighth nationally in total defense. The 2000 unit still holds the NCAA record for least amount of rushing yards allowed in a season (39.7 yards/game).
Watson is married to the former Katrina Woods of Greensboro, Ala. The couple have two sons, Amari and Aiden.
Charles Alexander comes to Missouri Southern after two seasons at Division II East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. He will be responsible for coaching the defensive backs, as well as being the recruiting coordinator at Missouri Southern.
Alexander spent two seasons at ESU where he coached the defensive line. In 2013, the Warriors' defensive line recorded 75 tackles for a loss of 300 yards. They had 32 sacks for 190 yards lost and the team had 12 fumble recoveries for a loss of 43 yards with 14 quarterback hurries.
In his first season at ESU, the Warriors led the PSAC and were tied for ninth in NCAA Division II with 3.0 sacks per game (30 in 10 games). Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Bryan Thomson was named PSAC East Defensive Player of the Year, was a consensus first team All-Region selection and named to the Football Gazette All-America third team.
Prior to ESU, Alexander coached for seven years. He helped Lehigh to the Patriot League championship, NCAA Division I FCS Playoffs and Lambert Cup in 2011. He coached the team’s safeties, including an All-Conference safety, as well as the defensive backfield and served as the video coordinator.
Alexander worked at Gettysburg College for three years, from 2008-10, as the defensive backs coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach. He spent 2007 as an assistant defensive line and film coach at Division I FCS Villanova.
Prior to that, Alexander was the offensive graduate assistant at Clarion in 2005 and 2006, working with the running backs and tight ends while recruiting western Pennsylvania and Ohio. He helped an All-Conference and All-Region tight end in his tenure at the school.
A native of Newark, Ohio, Alexander was an All-Region tight end before playing two years at Butler University in Indianapolis. He transferred to Ohio State University, where he earned a bachelor’s in Education while majoring in Sport and Leisure Studies in 2002. He earned his Master’s degree in Education from Clarion in 2006.
Alexander served as an assistant coach at Newark High School in 2004 and was the volunteer defensive coordinator at Wilson Middle School in Newark in 2002 before embarking on college coaching.
Alexander was married to the former Milinda Meade on July 18, 2014 and the couple reside in Webb City. They had their first child, Carson Reis on June 1, 2015.
With over 30 years of coach experience in both two- and four-year institutions Nichols begins his first season at Missouri Southern under Denver Johnson.
Prior to joining the Lions staff Nichols completed his fourth year at Blinn as the offensive line and strength coach. Previously coaching at Trinity High School (2009), he was also a head coach at two Texas community colleges, Cisco Jr. College (2000-2005) and Ranger College (1994-95). Nichols was also the head football coach at East Central University (2006-08) in Ada, Okla. Nichols also had coaching stints at Tarleton State University (99), Arkansas State (98), Navarro College (96-97), Northwest Mississippi Community College (92-93), Southwest Baptist University (90-91), East Mississippi Community College (89), Ranger Jr. College (87-88) and Jacksonville State University (84-86).
Nichols’ 2005 Cisco team was co-champion of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference and champions of the Heart of Texas Bowl, where it defeated Dodge City Community College 47-27. In 2005, his Cisco team had the league’s MVP on offense and defense and produced the NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year. Nichols was also on the staff at Northwest Mississippi Community College in 1992 when they were NJCAA national champions and went 13-0.
Nichols is a native of Tyler. He played his high school ball at John Tyler High School and his college football at the University of Tulsa from 1978-1982, where he was team captain his senior year and played alongside Johnson. Nichols was two time all-conference his junior and senior year, and a third-team All-American his senior year. Nichols spent part of two seasons in the USFL in 1983 and 1984.
Nichols has a Master’s in Education from Southwest Baptist University and a B.A. in graphic design from Jacksonville State University. He has one son, Ross, and one daughter, Ali.
John Johnson begins his first season with the Missouri Southern football program. Johnson will be responsible for coaching the running backs at MSSU.
Johnson comes to Southern after a season at the University of Tulsa where he worked closely with Lions' head coach Denver Johnson on the offensive side of the ball.
Prior to Tulsa, Johnson spent one season as the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator at Oklahoma Baptist University. Before that, Johnson worked four seasons at Ouachita Baptist University. He was the running backs coach and strength & conditioning coordinator for OBU for two seasons before becoming receivers coach.
Johnson played three seasons at Oklahoma State (2004-07) before transferring to complete his career at Ouachita Baptist University (2008) as a fullback.
Johnson earned his bachelor's degree in Education from Oklahoma State University in 2008.
Story begins his first season with the Lions under new head coach Denver Johnson. He comes to Southern after two seasons at Angelo State as assistant running backs coach where he had recruiting, equipment room, and hudl responsibilities.
Prior to ASU, Story was at Great American Conference's Northwestern Oklahoma where he coached quarterbacks. In 2012, Story helped bring quarterback Kyle Jech’s career to a record-smashing finish. Jech, a senior and four-year starter, smashed Northwestern’s single-season records for most completions (251) and passing yards (2,650), while throwing only four interceptions. In week two matchup with nationally-ranked CSU-Pueblo, Jech shredded the secondary for a school-record 43 completions.
Prior to Northwestern Story spent a year coaching the defensive line at the Apprentice School in Virginia.
Story started his coaching career at Newberry College (S.C.) in 2010, working with the tight ends and special teams.
The South Carolina native originally found himself on a path toward baseball. He was starting catcher at South Carolina Upstate from 2005-07, then was signed by the Texas Rangers as an undrafted free agent. Story played professionally in the Rangers’ organization for one season before shifting his sights back to the gridiron.
With football eligibility still remaining, Story returned to the college ranks as a tight end and long snapper at Newberry. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education with a concentration in Leisure Studies.
Story is a 2003 graduate of Broome High School, where he was a three-sport athlete. He was an All-Region choice at quarterback as a senior.