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Catamount Football Announces Additional Staff Additions



Amidst its annual spring drills, Western Carolina head football coach Kerwin Bell continues to adjust his coaching and support staff ahead of the 2024 season. Bell and WCU have added Corey Headley as the Director of Player Personnel and elevated Jeff Burger to the position of Football Quality Control Coach for the offense.

 

Burger joins a trio of offensive staff members to earn promotions this offseason with Rylan Wells elevated to the program’s offensive coordinator and Greg McGruder now the wide receivers coach. Jeremy King and Kyle Dickey both joined the staff as the offensive line and tight ends coach, respectively.

 

On defense, Jerry Odom takes over as the defensive coordinator with Malik Goodman joining as the safeties coach this offseason. Cody Edwards, WCU’s linebackers coach, was also named special teams coordinator, assisted by both returning coaches Larry Murphy and Rudi Small.

 

Corey Headley, Director of Player Personnel

Headley comes to Cullowhee after spending the past year on staff as the running backs coach at Tusculum under former head coach – and current WCU defensive coordinator, Jerry Odom. He helped the Pioneers to the 2023 SAC Mountain Division Championship.

 

Before Tusculum, Headley served as the offensive coordinator at Kenyon College, an NCAA Division III program in Gambier, Ohio. On staff, he helped guide the Owls to the third-best season in program history, transforming the offense into a Top 25 unit with an average of 445 yards per game while also breaking multiple school records.

 

In his first full-time position, Headley spent two seasons on staff at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., from 2015 through 2017 where he coached the wide receivers and served as the program’s recruiting coordinator in addition to handling football operations. Over his two seasons, he worked closely with one of the top offensive units in NCAA Division III football, helping lead the program to a 2016 conference championship and the school’s first trip to the NCAA playoffs.

 

In mid-July 2017, Headley took over as the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., where he helped the passing game excel. Six of his wide receivers collected all-conference honors in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and he also mentored conference Newcomer of the Year Cole Blais.

 

Prior to Kenyon College, Headley served as the tight ends coach and director of football operations at Gardner-Webb University under former head coach Tre Lamb. He spent two years, from February 2020 until 2022, in Boiling Springs. Headley handled all football operations for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

Originally from Erwin, Tenn., Headley is a 2013 graduate of Carson-Newman College with a degree in education. After earning his professional start as a graduate assistant at his alma mater for a season, Headley spent the 2014 season working with the Unicoi County (Tenn.) High School football program.

 

 

Jeff Burger, Football Quality Control Coach – Offense

Burger has spent the last three years on staff on the Catamount football offensive staff as a volunteer assistant coach working with the offensive line. Assisting with three different line coaches during his tenure, Burger has helped mentor three all-conference performers in Christian Coulter, Tyler Smith, and Blake Whitmore. He was also on the staff of the top offense in the NCAA FCS in 2023.


Before coming to Cullowhee with the current staff, Burger worked with former offensive coordinator Kade Bell as a volunteer assistant at Tusculum University in Greeneville, Tenn. The Pioneers led the South Atlantic Conference in total offense in 2021 with Burger on staff.


Originally from Melbourne, Fla., and a graduate of Eau Gallie High, Burger earned his start at Palm Bay Magnet Senior High in Palm Bay, Fla., as the offensive line coach for the Pirates football team. From there, he earned a spot as a student assistant coach for the offensive line at the Florida Institute of Technology.



Near the midpoint of the offseason training, Western Carolina’s spring practice pauses for the University’s Easter Break this week. The Catamounts are back on the turf beginning Tuesday, April 2, with a practice in full pads. The squad is slated for a Saturday morning scrimmage on April 6, with the annual Spring Game scheduled for Saturday, April 13, with a Noon start ahead of Catamount baseball at 3 p.m.

 

All WCU football practice dates and times are subject to change. Unless otherwise noted, each spring football practice is open to the public. It is respectfully requested, though, that spectators observe from the stadium seating area and avoid being either on the field or the sidelines.

 

Coming off last year's seven-win season – the most victories for WCU since 2017 – season tickets and season-long parking passes for Catamount Club members are on sale now both online, by phone at (828) 227-2401, and through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center. Ticket options include general admission, reserved bleacher bench, and chairback seats, with a Family Zone four-pack in Section FF. A $10 transaction fee will be charged for all season ticket orders including credit card, cash, and check. The renewal deadline for returning Catamount football season ticket holders is Saturday, June 1, 2024. Everyone is encouraged to join the Catamount Club and current Catamount Club members are also reminded to renew their memberships before the end of June. Since 2014, Western Carolina has ranked among the Top 30 in NCAA FCS football for home attendance nine times including five seasons among the Top 25. Last season, Catamount Nation led the SoCon and ranked 15th in the country with an average home attendance of 11,935 at Whitmire Stadium / Waters Field. Also, for a second-straight season, WCU is coming off a record year for football season ticket sales in both tickets sold and revenue generated as the program one-upped its all-time high numbers from the 2022 season last fall. WCU opens the 2024 season on a Thursday night (Aug. 29), visiting the state capital to face the NC State Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium. The five-game home schedule opens with the first-ever meeting with instate foe Campbell on Sat., Sept. 7. Keep track of everything related to Catamount football and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/CatamountSports), Twitter (@Catamounts, @CatamountsFB), and Instagram (wcu_catamounts).

 

 

Catamount Football – Remaining Spring Practice Schedule:Easter Break – March 27-29, 2024Practice 9: Tuesday, April 2 – 4:00 p.m. – (full pads)Practice 10: Thursday, April 4 – 4:00 p.m. – (uppers)Practice 11: Saturday, April 6 –  9:00 a.m. – (full pads / scrimmage)Practice 12: Tuesday, April 9 – 4:00 p.m. – (full pads)Practice 13: Thursday, April 11 – 4:00 p.m. – (uppers)Practice 14: Friday, April 12 – 4:00 p.m. – (helmets only) – Coaches ClinicPractice 15: Saturday, April 13 – SPRING GAME – Noon (full pads / scrimmage) * Dates and times are subject to change 2024 Western Carolina Catamount Football Schedule:Thurs., Aug. 29 – at North Carolina State – Raleigh, N.C.Sat., Sept. 7 – vs. Campbell (White Out Whitmire) – CullowheeSat., Sept. 14 – at Elon – Elon, N.C.Sat., Sept. 21 – at Montana – Missoula, Mont.Sat., Sept. 28 – Bye WeekSat., Oct. 5 – vs. Wofford (Family Weekend) – CullowheeSat., Oct. 12 – vs. The Citadel (Heroes Day) – CullowheeSat., Oct. 19 – at Furman – Greenville, S.C.Sat., Oct. 26 – at Mercer – Macon, Ga.Sat. Nov. 2 – vs. Chattanooga (Homecoming) – CullowheeSat., Nov. 9 – at ETSU – Johnson City, Tenn.Sat., Nov. 16 – vs. VMI (Senior Day/Hall of Fame Day) – CullowheeSat., Nov. 23 – at Samford – Birmingham, Ala.Sat. Nov. 30 – NCAA FCS Playoffs – TBA

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