Chants travel to Furman Sept. 8 for a 5 pm kickoff
Diaz will serve as the Chanticleer wide receivers coach
Olivo Played five years in Detroit and Has Been Coaching in Italy
Covington made an immediate impact in his first year. While inheriting a veteran group, that same group had allowed 25 sacks in each of the previous two seasons. In Covington’s first year, the unit only allowed seven sacks and did not allow more than once sack in any contest. The Chants led the Big South and ranked third in the NCAA with its average of 0.58 sacks allowed per game. The unit also helped Eric O’Neal lead the Big South and set a CCU record with 179 rushing attempts and Zach MacDowall rank among the NCAA top 40 in seven statistical categories. For their efforts, Seth Smalls and Cheatwood were singled out as second team All-Big South selections.
In 2011, Coastal Carolina once again led the Big South, while ranking 13th nationally, allowing 13 total sacks (1.0 per contest). His offensive line helped Aramis Hillary lead the Big South, rank 10th in the NCAA and set a CCU single-season record in pass completion percentage (65.5). Hillary was also 19th nationally in pass efficiency (146.51) while the Chants finished 22nd in the stat as a team (144.11). At season’s end, Cheatwood would make his second straight All-Big South second team, while Tim Franklin was also tabbed second all-conference.
The 2012 season was one of Coastal’s most productive on the offensive side of the ball in the program’s 10-year history. The Chants led the Big South in total offense and passing offense, while ranking 25th nationally in rushing (199.34 ypg), 34th in passing (238.54 ypg), 18th in total offense (437.77 ypg) and 13th in scoring offense (34.31 ppg). In fact, Coastal set CCU single-season records for total offense (5,691 yards) and scoring 446 points. Also, Coastal set a CCU single-season record by rushing for at least 200 yards in seven straight games. At season’s end, center Pat Williams was named first team All-Big South and left tackle Hamilton earned second team honors.
Then, in 2013, the Covington’s front five helped the Chanticleers set 25 school and 17 Big South offensive records while paving the way for All-American and Walter Payton Award candidate Lorenzo Taliaferro. While Coastal set numerous records, the group’s largest point of pride was leading the FCS in fewest tackles for loss per game (3.33) while continuing its tradition of protecting the quarterback by ranking 26th in the nation in fewest sacks allowed per game (1.33). Overall, Coastal ranked among the NCAA FCS top 10 in six categories while leading the Big South in third down conversions, completion percentage, first downs, red zone offense, scoring offense and total offense. For their efforts, Cheatwood was named All-American and was joined on the All-Big South first team by Hamilton and Drew Herring.
The 2014 season was just as successful as Coastal returned to the NCAA FCS quarterfinals, started the season 11-0 and was ranked #1 in the nation the final two weeks of the regular season. Hamilton was named first team All-American while Kevin Hart (first team) and Mo Ashley (second team) were added to the All-Big South squad. The unit, whistled for just 10 penalties for the season, helped Coastal lead the nation in fourth down conversions, while ranking fourth in first downs, ninth in third down conversions, 13th in scoring offense and 18th in total offense. Also, Coastal once again led the Big South in fewest sacks allowed (1.14 per game to 15th nationally).
The unit helped quarterback Alex Ross earn Big South Player of the Year honors and finish seventh in the Walter Payton Award voting while running back De’Angelo Henderson was tabbed first team All-Big South while leading the league in rushing an scoring.
Covington spent the previous three years at the Air Force Academy, working with the Falcon offense. Most recently, he helped the Falcons to an 8-5 record and a victory over Houston in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Covington worked closely with the offensive line for three years, which was one of the best in the league and finishing second nationally in rushing with an average of 299.5 yards per game in 2007. Air Force’s rushing average was its best since winning its only national rushing title in 2002 with a 307.8 per-game average. The Falcons won their 26th conference rushing title last year and third straight with Covington’s assistance.
Covington is familiar with Coastal Carolina, as he was an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the 2006 season. At Coastal Carolina, Covington was part of a coaching staff that led the Chanticleers to the Big South Conference championship with a 9-3 record.
Covington is a 2006 graduate of Furman University. He was a three-year starter and four-year letter winner for the Paladins from 2002-05. A two-time All-Southern Conference selection, he was rated as the No. 6 guard in NCAA I-AA football by The Sports Network. He was a Sports Network first team All-American and an Associated Press second team All-America in 2005. That same season, the Furman offense averaged a school-record 469.9 yards of total offense per game. The Paladins ranked third in the nation in rushing and reached the semifinals of the 2005 NCAA I-AA Playoffs. Covington was also a team captain his senior year and was a 2006 National Strength and Conditioning All-American. A native of Charlotte, N.C., Covington attended Myers Park High School in Charlotte where he was a three-year starter and served as a team captain.
Covington is married to the former Ann Louise Duncan. The couple has a son, Gus, and a daughter, Annie.