Coleman hires former AAMU coach as ‘extra help’

Monte Coleman has not hired an offensive coordinator for his Arkansas-Pine Bluff football team yet, but he has an offensive mind and former SWAC rival helping him in that capacity as National Signing Day approaches.

Coleman said Thursday that former Alabama A&M head coach Anthony Jones is working with him as “extra help” during recruiting and is a candidate for the full-time offensive coordinator position, vacated last month when Eric Dooley left for the same job at Grambling State. Jones and Coleman were teammates on the 1987 Washington Redskins team that won Super Bowl XXII over the Denver Broncos with another former SWAC head coach, Doug Williams, at quarterback.

Coleman said Jones has been working with the UAPB staff since Wednesday.

“He’s helping me identify offensive players we can recruit,” Coleman said. “If I decide to hire him full-time, he’ll lead our offense.”

National Signing Day is Feb. 5.

Coleman said the temporary hire is similar to that of offensive line coach Damon Nivens, who joined the Golden Lions during 2012 preseason camp and was eventually promoted to full-time status.

Jones is not currently working with any players. Spring drills at UAPB will not begin until April.

Jones’ contract at Alabama A&M was not renewed after going 4-8 and 4-5 in the SWAC this past season, his 12th at the Huntsville school. His 2006 Bulldogs team defeated the Lions in the SWAC championship game, and his program also won the SWAC Eastern Division championship in 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2011.

Jones went 83-57 at A&M and 101-70 overall as a head coach, including three seasons at Atlanta-based Morehouse, a Division II program.

Coleman said he’s received several resumes and inquiries about the offensive coordinator position, identifying former Alabama State coach L.C. Cole and former Grambling and Alcorn State coach Melvin Spears as candidates, but added he hasn’t yet gone through the resumes because he’s been focused on recruiting efforts.

“It’s a stellar group of applicants,” Coleman said.

Coleman, who is also the Lions’ defensive coordinator, has not hired anyone in the interim for his open linebackers coach position. Earl Buckingham was fired from that role last month after three seasons, although he tutored All-American and SWAC Defensive Player of the Year Jer-ryan Harris.