New Warhawks Coach Bullish on Staff
When Kevin Bullis took over the reigns of the UW-W Whitewater football program on January 30th, his first order of business was to seek out guys he was going to go to battle with this fall. While that included athletes (the recruiting process was in the latter stages), first and foremost he needed coaches. Four assistant coaches from last year’s staff left with Lance Leipold to continue their coaching careers with the University at Buffalo. While Bullis and the coaches who stayed behind kept the program moving forward in the interim, they needed help. Bullis’ new job greeted him with four coaching vacancies on his staff, including both coordinator positions.
So how did he go about filling the staff? First, he wanted some of the hires to have a history with UW-W. “I’m a history guy. I originally went to school to be a history teacher. So to me, it’s very important to identify with your history because it gives you a foundation. Brent Allen (Offensive Line Coach) was part of those years with Bob Berezowitz. He was part of those first two teams who played in the national championship game. He was a huge part of that ‘getting to the Stagg Bowl.’ Brent typlifies that. The work ethic, the commitment. He wasn’t the biggest offensive lineman. But the type of work ethic he has, to have that piece is so important. Jace Rindahl (Run Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach) continues that. Jace was a junior in ’07, our first championship year. He was a senior in ’08, my first year here. And then to bring Nelson Edmonds in, Nelson has been a part of the program for an extremely long time."
But Bullis wasn’t content to keep things completely in-house. He also values the idea of bringing in people from the outside to keep the program growing and progressing. “I think you need a nice mix of that. That’s what (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach) Rob Erickson and Craig Smith (Offensive Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach) brought. And the great thing is that Brent and Jace have both been out in different situations and have brought back to us what they have learned." As Bullis prepared his list, he would have been happy to get the top candidate for two of the four coaching positions. He got the top candidate for all four.
“I will give Amy Edmonds great credit here,” Bullis said. “The Head Coach position was posted in December. At that time, we had three positions open including both coordinator positions. So Amy posted all those positions before we even hired a head coach because we have to go through that month period when the jobs are posted. Because of that, when I was hired, I was really able to proceed forward and get staff in. The reason that was so important is because we had spring football in April. It was really important that we had an opportunity for the staff to get together, learn about each other, develop a game plan going into spring football so we were organized.”
Bullis who emphasizes relationships in coaching his athletes said spring was invaluable because it gave the coaches and players a chance to become familiar with each other. “A football team is like a family. So now you adopt four people into your family, people in leadership roles. Having them together for spring ball was huge. It established a foundation for what we are doing this fall.”
By all accounts, the coaching staff this year has great energy and great chemistry. They are keenly aware they haven’t won a game yet, but they believe in one another and they believe in the players. “Having this type of talent really helps.” Erickson said with a smile. The season begins on September 12th against Belhaven University in Jackson, MS. The Warhawks’ first home game is September 19th against Finlandia University.