Joplin, Mo. — Missouri Southern head football coach Denver Johnson has announced the hiring of Kenny Evans as the team’s Defensive Coordinator.
Evans is in his second stint as the defensive coordinator for the Lions, having served on the late John Lantz’s staff from 1989-97.
“I’m very excited to be here,” Evans said. “I’m thrilled to be working with coach Johnson and I look forward to helping to bring this program back to the level of play the fans expected the first time I was here. The facility improvements the school is putting in place make this job a very intriguing one and I’m excited to get back to college football.”
Evans spent the 2014 season as the Head Football Coach and a physical education teacher at East Central High School in the Tulsa Public School System.
Prior to his stint at ECHS, Evans was the Head Coach at Northeastern State University for six seasons. With over 30 years of coaching experience at seven different colleges, Evans brings a wealth of experience with him.
Johnson talked about the experience that made Evans his “first major recruit” at MSSU.
“I’m thrilled and exited to have a man of Kenny’s experience on my staff,” Johnson said. “I’ve known him a long time professionally. He has a lot of respect and his reputation is impeccable within the coaching profession. He brings a lot of familiarity with this program, having coached here before, and he knows what we need to do to bring that success back to the program.
“Anytime you can bring someone with head coaching experience to be part of your staff, that is extremely beneficial. I can lean on him and you really can’t have too many head coaches around.”
While at NSU, Evans saw four-straight wins over in-state rival Central Oklahoma resulting in the President’s Cup residing in Tahlequah the majority of his tenure. He helped return NSU to the glory years of its past, exemplified by back-to-back winning seasons in 2010 and 2011, the 2010 Lone Star Conference North Division Title and the 2011 record-breaking season which included only the school’s fifth bowl game appearance and over 30 new school records being set. Prior to his arrival at NSU, the school had posted ten years of non-winning seasons that coincided with its move to NCAA Division II.
Evans has coached 15 All-Americans, 11 Conference Players of the Year, and more than two dozen that have made it into the National Football League, including current Cleveland Brown offensive lineman, Michael Bowie.
Evans spent ten years coaching on the staffs at Louisiana Tech and the University of North Texas prior to his days at NSU. Prior to that, he spent nine seasons on the late John Lantz’s staff at Missouri Southern from 1989-97 where he helped guide the program into the ranks of NCAA Division II and help MSSU go 51-35 during that stretch. He served as the Defensive Coordinator and Recruiting Coordinator, while mentoring the linebackers. He also helped the Lions to their only MIAA Conference Championship, going 9-1-1 in 1993.
He also has assistant coaching stops at Southeastern Oklahoma, Oklahoma, and Florida.
A native of Warner, Okla., Evans has a 16-year old son, Elliott, who plays football, basketball, the violin and is an honor student.