By Bill Wagner
Jan 02, 2023 at 8:14 pm
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Kennesaw State offensive coordinator Grant Chesnut will be hired as Navy football’s new offensive coordinator, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation told The Capital on Monday.
Newly-hired head coach Brian Newberry could not be reached for comment, while senior associate athletic director for sports information Scott Strasemeier said Navy was not prepared to make any announcements regarding assistant coaches at this time.
Chesnut just completed his eighth season at Kennesaw State under head coach Brian Bohannon. The Owls ranked 10th in rushing offense in the Football Championship Subdivision this season, averaging 232.2 yards per game.
Chesnut coached alongside Newberry for four seasons at Kennesaw State, while Newberry served as defensive coordinator. The two matched wits in practice on a daily basis. Both men worked under Bohannon, a disciple of former Navy and Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson.
Bohannon was one of four offensive assistants who went with Johnson when he was hired by Georgia Tech in 2008. He was hired as head coach at Kennesaw State in March 2013, charged with building a varsity program from scratch.
Chesnut, who had been working as head football coach and athletic director at Central High School in Carrollton, Georgia, was the first assistant Bohannon hired at Kennesaw State. He has also coached the offensive line for the Owls in addition to serving as offensive coordinator.
Kennesaw State led the FCS in rushing average in 2017 and 2019, while ranking third or second in four other seasons between 2016 and 2021.
The Capital has also learned that Newberry will retain three offensive assistants from the staff of former head coach Ken Niumatalolo, who was fired the day after the Army-Navy game. Running game coordinator Ashley Ingram, quarterbacks coach Ivin Jasper and wide receivers coach Mick Yokitis will all remain in Annapolis.
Fullbacks coach Jason MacDonald reportedly will be reassigned from an on-field coaching role into a position with the Navy football support staff.
Two offensive assistants — offensive line coach Danny O’Rourke and slotbacks coach Joe DuPaix — will not remain with the program. O’Rourke, who also came to Navy from Georgia Southern along with Johnson, just completed his 21st season.
Chesnut played at Brookwood High in Snellville, Georgia, before going on to Georgia Southern. He played on the 1998 Georgia Southern squad that went 14-1 and captured the Division I-AA national championship. He received a bachelor’s degree in social science from Georgia Southern in 1999, then earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2004.
Chesnut got into coaching at Pickens High in 1999 then spent two seasons at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. He served as co-defensive coordinator at Thomasville High (2002-2004) before becoming defensive line coach at Camden County High (2005-2006).
Chesnut made his debut as an offensive coordinator at Mary Persons High in Forsyth, Georgia, from 2007 to 2010.