College Sports

49ers’ coach looks to familiar faces to fill staff

dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

New Charlotte 49ers head football coach Will Healy has looked to familiar faces for the first six hires on his coaching staff.

The 49ers have announced that Brandon Cooper, who was defensive coordinator under Healy at Austin Peay, will be co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach with Charlotte.

Also hired were Max Thurmond, as special teams coordinator and linebackers coach; Mark Carney, as quarterbacks coach; and Eddie Hicks, to coach cornerbacks. Thurmond and Hicks were on Healy’s staff at Austin Peay, and Carney coached Healy in college.

And two other members of Healy’s staff at Austin Peay, Carter Crutchfield and Chris Laskowski, also were named to the Charlotte staff. Crutchfield will be recruiting coordinator and Laskowski will be strength and conditioning coach.

Thurmond, who has coached for nearly two decades, was linebackers coach and special teams coordinator under Healy during the 2016 and ’17 seasons at Austin Peay. Carney, offensive coordinator at Virginia State the past four years, was Healy’s quarterbacks coach when the new 49ers’ head coach was a player at Richmond.

And Hicks, most recently the cornerbacks coach at Southern Mississippi, was an assistant under Healy in 2016 and ’17 at Austin Peay.

Healy, hired to head the 49ers’ program earlier this month, said last week that he will not be able to announce the full staff for a few more weeks.

“Some of the guys are involved with bowl games,” he said.

Healy said Cooper was a key part of the turnaround at Austin Peay, which had gone 1-45 from 2013-16 but improved to 13-10 the past two seasons – including 13-6 against fellow FCS members.

Thurmond spent the past year as defensive coordinator at Central Arkansas and previously coached at his alma mater, Jacksonville State, and then at West Alabama.

Carney helped guide a Virginia State team that went 19-3 over the 2016 and ’17 seasons.

Healy was hired to replace Brad Lambert, who launched the 49ers’ program in 2013 and compiled a 22-48 record before being let go when the season ended in late November.

Steve Lyttle on Twitter: @slyttle

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