NORMAL — With four coaching staff vacancies, Illinois State head coach Brock Spack is making progress toward putting more bodies in currently empty Kaufman Football Building offices.
Five Redbird assistant coaches have left or been fired from the program since the completion of the season in November. Kurt Beathard was hired for the dual role as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
That leaves coaching openings at offensive line, receivers and running backs. Departed ISU defensive coordinator Spence Nowinsky, who is now at Miami of Ohio, also led the defensive line.
Spack is seeking a defensive coordinator to “freshen us up a little bit. Our philosophy won’t go too far from where it’s been, but I want to hear other people’s take. I’m curious to see what other ideas are out there.”
The ISU coach believes he has narrowed the search to a leading candidate.
“We’ll see if we can get him in here and see how we mesh,” Spack said. “We should get that done over (Christmas) break.”
Spack previously served as his own defensive coordinator before Nowinsky took the reins.
“I’m not ruling that out, but my preference would be not to go in that direction,” said Spack. “The perfect world would be a guy who has defensive coordinator experience.”
The new hire also would likely be in charge of the defensive line.
Spack has agreed to terms with his next offensive line coach.
“We have the guy we want, but we’re going to wait to announce him,” Spack said. “I think we’re close on a running backs coach. It seems like we are.”
The receivers opening may be the last filled.
“There are some very good candidates who I know very well,” said Spack. “But they are going to play the market for a while. Instead of settling for somebody, I want to get an all star. If I can get an all star, I’ll wait.”
Kickers?: ISU lost both its place-kicker (Sean Slattery) and punter (Zach Breen) from this past season.
JT Bohlken could fill one of those jobs, but the Redbirds did not sign any kickers this week.
“Not yet,” Spack said. “That is in the process of being addressed.”
Spack said he expects to sign a high school kicker on the traditional signing day in early February.
Transfers?: The ISU coaching staff continues to evaluate potential transfers from junior colleges or FBS programs.
“There is a guy or two we’re looking at, absolutely,” Spack said of jucos. “We’re always in the (FBS transfer) market, a receiver or two maybe.”
ISU has already added offensive lineman Gabe Megginson, a transfer from the University of Illinois.