Gary Smallen is in his sixth year as tight ends coach and third as recruiting coordinator for Coastal Carolina University's football program.
Over the past two years (2009-10), Smallen has coached two-time first team All-Big South tight end David Duran, who added All-American to his list of honors in 2010. He has twice led all Big South tight ends in both receptions and receiving yards. Also in 2010, his group was bolstered by quarterback Jamie Childers moving to tight end and catching 19 passes for 218 yards.
Smallen came in as co-offensive coordinator and helped immediately with the Coastal Carolina offense in 2006. The Chanticleer offense broke Big South records in 11 different categories, including total offense, offensive touchdowns, passing yards and passing yards per completion, while helping the program to its first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championships.
Also in 2006, Smallen produced first team All-Big South pick Rodney Burgess, who caught 18 passes for 300 yards with two touchdowns.
Smallen comes from a 30-year distinguished high school coaching career in South Carolina, serving in numerous capacities.
Most recently, he was the athletic director and offensive coordinator at Strom Thurmond High School for the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. He took over both positions in 2004 when Lee Sawyer became the head coach and helped convert the Rebels' offense from a run-oriented game to a spread offense. That conversion led to 10 wins and a region title in 2004. The Rebels then surpassed that last season, posting a 14-1 mark and winning the regional title and the South Carolina Class AAA State Championship.
Prior to his two years at Strom Thurmond, Smallen was the head coach at Lower Richland High School, where he was an assistant coach for the South Carolina team at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. He was also the first head coach and athletic director in South Aiken's history and has also served as a head coach at three other programs in the state, Batesburg-Leesville, Langley-Bath-Clearwater and Ridge Spring-Monetta, as well as working on the staffs at Airport, Broome, Strom Thurmond and Fairfield Central High Schools.
Smallen is very familiar with Coastal Carolina Head Coach David Bennett, as the two worked together on the football coaching staff at Newberry in the late 1980s, but in reversed roles with Smallen as the head coach from 1988-90.
A 1972 graduate of Furman University, Smallen was a two-sport letterman for the Paladins. He earned three letters in football as a defensive back and kick returner and four letters in track as a sprinter during his collegiate career. He also earned his master's in teaching from South Carolina in 1975. Both of these followed his graduation in 1968 from Dentsville High School in Columbia, S.C.
Smallen and his wife of 34 years, Lynda, have one son Jason, 31, and reside in Myrtle Beach.