Mike Bloomgren has finalized the 2019 Rice football coaching staff, naming offensive assistant Mike Kershaw as his 10th assistant.
Rice football will promote from within. Mike Kershaw has been tabbed to complete the Owls’ 2019 coaching staff after serving as the team’s NFL liaison and offensive assistant during 2018. Prior to that, he worked as an assistant with Bloomgren at Delta State. He filled in briefly on the recruiting trail this winter, going as far as California as the team worked to finish their 2019 class.
His addition finalizes the Owls’ coaching staff, which had been one man short following Pete Lembo’s departure. Rather than fill his role directly, Kershaw will coach the wide receivers. That move will shift assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Jerry Mack from wide receivers to running backs. Drew Svoboda, who coached running backs in 2018, will shift full time to special teams.
The candidate pool for the final assistant spot was far-reaching, but the final list thinned out fairly quickly. Among the external candidates, former Rice tight end James Casey was in consideration before taking a job with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Continuity was something Bloomgren stressed throughout the entire process. If the best fit was an external candidate he was willing to go that route, but the ability to maintain the same message on special teams was a driving factor in the decision. Rice skyrocketed from 114th to 17th in special team’s efficiency last season. Coach Svoboda, who already knows the vision and terminology which paved the way for the sizable improvement, should help make the transition as seamless as possible.
Kershaw won’t have to wait long to get his feet wet. Rice begins spring practices on March 4. The Owls will cap off the spring with the annual Blue-Grey Spring Game will be played at 11 a.m. CT on April 13.
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