May 1, 2014
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Mark Criner and Arlington Nunn have been hired as assistants announced Lamar head football coach Ray Woodard Thursday afternoon. Criner will work with the Cardinals' linebackers while Nunn will take over the LU running backs following James Brown who left to become the head coach at Kipp Preparatory School.
"We are very excited to add both Mark and Arlington to our staff," said Woodard. "These are both coaches that I have known for a long time. They both come to Beaumont with significant credentials, and highly recommended."
A coaching veteran with 12 years experience, Criner comes to Beaumont from Eastern Michigan where he spent the previous season as the linebackers coach. Prior to the 2013 season, Criner spent six seasons in Moscow, Idaho serving as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. During that time, he helped build one of the top defenses in the Western Athletic Conference.
In 2010 season, the Vandals were one of the most improved defenses in the nation in terms of scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. Idaho improved by more than 40 spots in the national rankings in both categories. The following season the Vandals made a similar jump in the national rankings in rush defense. All of this coming on the heels of a 2009 season that saw Idaho post an 8-5 overall record and a victory in the Humanitarian Bowl.
Prior to his move to Moscow, Idaho, Criner spent one season in Minneapolis, Minn., working with the Gophers. Criner coached the Minnesota linebackers during an 11-2 campaign that saw them finish 7-1 in Big Ten play and advance to the Insight.com Bowl.
Criner has also served as defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State and co-defensive coordinator at Cincinnati. Criner worked with the Bearcat linebackers, but moved to the secondary during his time at MTSU.
"I coached with Mark's father in the NFL Europe and have a great deal of respect for him," added Woodard. "He is going to bring a lot of intensity to our program. I look forward to having him on our staff."
Nunn brings a coaching résumé to Lamar that extends over the past two decades, and with it a wealth of experience within the Southland Conference. Nunn spent the previous nine seasons in Nacogdoches, where he helped guide the Lumberjacks through one of their most successful run in school history. SFA won back-to-back SLC titles in 2009 and 2010, earning the league's automatic berth in the FCS playoffs. Those teams became the first in program history to win back-to-back league titles in program history.
Nunn made a name for himself in Nacogdoches by transforming athletes into some of the best in the Southland. In only three seasons working with the Lumberjack wide outs, he produced three all-conference selections, including All-American and Tennessee Titans draft choice Dominique Edison. Nunn made the switch to the Lumberjack secondary for the 2009 campaign he where produced an All-American, three all-conference selections and the league newcomer of the year in his first season. During his time in Nacogdoches, Nunn produced 12 All-Southland selections, including three first-team honorees, and four All-Americans.
Nunn has made coaching stops at Baylor, Navarro Junior College and Sam Houston State before making his first stop at SFA in 1996, where he would coach eventual NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. Following his first stint at SFA, Nunn spent three seasons as the receivers coach at Troy State, before coaching running backs at Mississippi.
"I really like Arlington's approach to the game," said Woodard. "He recruited Navarro when I was there, and really works hard when he is out recruiting. Arlington is also known for establishing a great relationships with his kids. After spending the past few seasons coaching against him, I'm looking forward to coaching with him.
"Arlington replaces James Brown who left to take a head coaching position. I want to thank James for his work at Lamar and we look forward to watching him grow as a head coach," added Woodard.