March 24, 2010

FSU Football Adds Two Staff Members

Click Here For Chris Boden Bio
Click Here For Gary McGraw Bio

Big Rapids, Mich. – Ferris State University head football coach Jeff Pierce has filled two staff openings, including the program’s vacant offensive coordinator position, with the start of spring practice drills for the 2010 campaign slated to begin next week.

Pierce today announced the appointments of Chris Boden as offensive coordinator and Gary McGraw, who will fill the defensive backs coaching position.  

“I’m excited about having both of these guys join our staff,” Pierce said.  “Both have valuable experience and are high-energy coaches whom I’m sure our players will respond to and learn from as we move forward.”

Boden takes over as FSU’s offensive coordinator after spending five seasons as the head coach at NCAA Division II Northern State (S.D.) located in Aberdeen, S.D.  He directed the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) member to an 18-37 record in five years at the helm, including a 6-5 overall mark and a third-place 5-2 league record in his initial season.  Boden ranks as the Wolves’ sixth-winningest coach in history.

In his five seasons at Northern State, Boden worked to produce 35 All-NSIC players with seven first-team selections and a pair of All-Northwest Region honorees.  Under his tutelage, the program also made significant improvements in the classroom with 29 Academic All-NSIC players and was active in the community.

“Chris is an established coach who’s invested his time and has head coaching experience at the Division II level,” said Pierce.  “We’re excited about what he brings to the table in terms of his offensive philosophy and along with his past experience, he’ll be a valuable asset to our staff.”

Boden arrived at NSU after one year as the offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Division II member Texas A&M-Commerce following eight seasons as an assistant at Division II powerhouse Valdosta State (Ga.).  At TAMU-Commerce, Boden helped improve the Lions from one win in 2003 to four wins in 2004 with help from an offense that ranked 11th in the nation in passing.  

While at Valdosta State, Boden helped the Blazers to four Gulf South Conference (GSC) Championships and four NCAA-II Playoff appearances along with the 2002 NCAA-II National Championship Game. The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) member coached a pair of GSC Offensive Players of the Year while serving in several roles over his eight seasons on Valdosta State’s staff, including director of football operations, recruiting coordinator, offensive backfield coach and quarterbacks/recruiting coach.

During his time at Valdosta State, Boden worked on staff under longtime and well-known collegiate coach Hal Mumme, who has since served as the head coach at NCAA Division I programs such as Kentucky, Southeastern Louisiana, New Mexico State and currently at Division III McMurry (Texas).  Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach was also a member of Mumme’s staff as the offensive coordinator in the 1990’s during Boden's tenure on staff at Valdosta State.

“With Chris’ knowledge and system, we’ll continue to utilize a spread-type offense, but with less option than we’ve had in the past,” said Pierce.  “It will be similar to what Mike Leach used at Texas Tech although we’ll be able to adapt the offensive schemes to the talent and personnel within our program.”

Prior to serving at Valdosta State, Boden was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Urbana (Ohio) in 1994 and 1995.  The 1990 Saginaw Valley State graduate began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant working with the defensive secondary and serving as video coordinator at Central Michigan, where he earned a Masters Degree in 1994. He and his wife Jennifer, have three children, Lynn, Ty and Brett, who will join him in Big Rapids this summer.

"I'm excited about this opportunity at Ferris State and it is a coming home for me as I was born and raised in Michigan," Boden said.  "I'm looking forward to working with our offensive unit and helping the Bulldogs win games this fall."

Meanwhile, McGraw joins the FSU program after spending the last six years at Quincy (Ill.) where he was the defensive backs coach, special teams coordinator and co-linebackers coach prior to holding the role of defensive coordinator the last two years. QU is currently in the process of transitioning back into Division II football as a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).

In his first season at the helm of the Hawks' defense in 2008, McGraw led Quincy to its most sacks (21) as a team in three seasons. His defense also forced 26 turnovers, their most since the 2004 season.  While at Quincy, McGraw coached three NAIA All-Americans and 23 all-league performers.

“Gary’s had significant coaching experience on the defensive side of the ball and will be a nice addition to our staff,” said Pierce.  “He's had an excellent playing and coaching career and is well-prepared to lead our secondary.”

McGraw joined the Quincy staff in 2004 after beginning his coaching career on the prep level in Oregon where he was the co-defensive coordinator and special teams coach at Marist (Ore.) High School in 2002 and 2003. While there, Marist compiled a 23-1 record and captured a state championship in 2003 with a 13-0 record.

McGraw played collegiate football at the NCAA Division I level as a safety at the University of Oregon from 2000-01, helping the team win back-to-back Pac-10 Championships.  The Fremont, Calif., native was a member of the Ducks’ 2001 squad that won the Fiesta Bowl and finished the year ranked second in the Associated Press poll.  

He also attended Chabot Junior College for two seasons prior to arriving at Oregon.  As a sophomore, he led the nation in interceptions at the JUCO level while setting a school record with 13 picks. He was named the conference defensive player of the year and also earned all-state and All-America honors.  Recently, McGraw was inducted into the Chabot Football Hall of Fame.

McGraw graduated from Oregon in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and is nearing completion on his master's degree in Educational Leadership from Quincy.

"This is an exciting opportunity for me to coach in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) against many of the traditional powerhouses at the Divison II level," said McGraw.

The FSU football team officially opens spring practice drills on Tuesday, March 30.  

The Bulldogs begin the 2010 campaign by visiting Hillsdale on Friday, Sept. 3, for a 7 p.m. (EDT) non-league tilt at Frank "Muddy" Waters stadium in Hillsdale, Mich.  Ferris will then open GLIAC play the following week (Sept. 11) against Saginaw Valley State in its home opener with kickoff also set for 7 p.m. (EDT) under the lights at Top Taggart Field.

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