July 15, 2009

Former Ball State assistant coach Sidney Powell joins football staff

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech football coach Watson Brown has completed his staff for 2009, adding Sidney Powell as an assistant coach to work with the team’s cornerbacks.

A 12-year collegiate coaching veteran, Powell comes to Tech after three years in a similar position at Ball State University. He has also coached at Massachusetts, Sacred Heart and Northeastern, helping win championships at every stop including the 1998 I-AA national championship while at UMass.

“We’re excited to get Sidney Powell on our staff,” Brown said. “His experience and coaching knowledge will help our team. He is a proven winner every place he has coached, and he brings a lot of expertise to our staff.”

In addition to Powell joining his staff, Brown also announced a couple of other changes among his assistant coaches.Justin Shannon will coach receivers, Thomas Cox will take over the offensive line, Steve Brown has been added as an assistant coach to work with quarterbacks, and Will Holthouser will coach safeties and outside linebackers while continuing as special teams coordinator.
   
In addition to those coaching assignments, former quarterback Josh Lowery will serve as the team’s administrative assistant in a graduate assistant position.
   
Powell is happy to join Brown’s staff and coach nearer his hometown of Newnan, Ga.
   
“I’m excited about this opportunity,” Powell said. “It gives me a chance to coach football in the South, and I know the caliber of players in Tennessee and Georgia. I know they play good football in the Ohio Valley Conference, and I want to try to help improve a Tennessee Tech program looking to turn the corner.
   
“Another thing that interested me was the opportunity to work with Watson Brown,” Powell said. “I had some familiarity with Tech, since I was coached in high school by Clint Wade (son of former Tech head coach Don Wade). He was the first guy I called about the position.”
   
Powell graduated from Newnan High School in 1993, then was a four-time letterwinner and three-year starter as a safety at Morehouse College, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1997 in Health and Physical Education
   
His first coaching position was at UMass, working as a graduate assistant with the Minutemen in 1998 and 1999. He helped take the team from a 2-9 record before his arrival to the national championship and a 12-3 record in 1998.
   
His first full-time post was at Sacred Heart in 2000 and 2001. While there, Sacred Heart won 21 games in his two seasons after winning just four games in the previous two years.    

In the summer of 2001, Powell participated in the National Football League’s Summer Internship Program as a defensive backfield assistant with the Seattle Seahawks.
   
In 2002, he accepted a post at Northeastern University, helping to win the first league championship in school history.
   
He returned to Massachusetts in 2004 and 2005, and helped lead the team to a winning record both seasons. With Powell directing the secondary, UMass ranked first in the nation in scoring defense in 2005 and led the Atlantic 10 Conference in total defense, pass defense and pass defense efficiency. 
   
Powell tutored Shannon James, a first-team all-conference selection and the 2004 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year.
   
That success earned him a position as assistant coach at Ball State for the past three years. During the past three years, his secondary intercepted 32 passes and led the Mid-America conference. Among his standout players were all-conference defensive backs B.J.Hill and Trey Lewis, both ranked among national interception leaders, and All-MAC safety and team MVP Erik Keys, a 2007 free agent signee with the Tennessee Titans.
   
Last year, Powell helped Ball State to a 12-0 regular season record and the GMAC Bowl, finishing the year ranked 23rd nationally. He coached safety Sean Baker who led the MAC in interceptions and was named Freshman All-America as well as the MAC Freshman of the Year.
   
Married to the former Charmer Chadan, the couple has one son, Brandon. Powell will work with the team as a volunteer assistant coach in July and August, and his position officially begins Sept. 1.