By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – New Widener head football coach Mike Kelly has been busy the last several weeks putting together his coaching staff, and he has tabbed a name that may be familiar to area football fans as his defensive coordinator.
Bill Shuey spent a decade on staff with the Eagles under Andy Reid, including four seasons as linebackers coach. For the last two seasons Shuey was a member of Bill Zwaan’s staff at Division II West Chester University, serving as linebackers coach.
“Widener is the right choice at this time because of the new hire at head coach and the relationship that I have with Mike Kelly and the opportunity that existed when he got hired,” Shuey tells KYW Newsradio. “I’m looking forward to getting back in football as a full-time coach, as a defensive coordinator and using some of the experience and skills and scheme that I’ve learned over the past couple years to help the program here.”
Shuey has been a part of coaching staffs that have gone to the Super Bowl and the Division II National Semifinals, but this is his first opportunity to be the man in charge of moving all the chess pieces around the defensive board and he is ready for it.
“It’s very exciting,” Shuey says. “And I’m looking forward to it. Obviously, that presents some challenges, some new challenges for me, and I’m looking forward to those with the staff here that is put in place. So I’m excited to work with the guys here that are on staff and the players that are here and really try to utilize a lot of what I learned over the course of my time with (the late, legendary Eagles defensive coordinator) Jim Johnson on defense with the Eagles. And with (former Eagles and current Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator) Sean McDermott, as well as a lot of the other assistant coaches that I worked with there. But also some of the things I picked up at West Chester working with (Golden Rams assistants) Coach (Mike) Furlong and Coach (Gerald) Toney there on the defensive side of the ball and incorporating a couple of different things. We want to try and be multiple here, try to keep it as simplistic for the kids and let them play, but also be multiple at the same time and present some challenges for the offenses that we’ll be playing.”
Spring practice opened this week for Division III Widener, so Shuey has just started working with his unit. But he knows what he wants the Pride defense to be about.
“The first thing you want to be is solid from a fundamental standpoint,” Shuey says. “As a teacher, as a coach, that’s one of the areas I think we’re going to spend a lot on time here early on. Really get the fundamentals of the defense down. Make sure players understand what they have to execute in order to be successful. That’s where I think we’re going to start as a building block. But as you know, coming from the Jim Johnson tree of coaching, we will be aggressive. We will attack from a blitz package as well. I’m looking forward to putting that in place.”
Shuey’s defense will get its first test in game action on September 5th when the Pride visit Rowan University.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.