GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Rod Wilson has been named Furman's new linebackers coach, Paladin head coach Clay Hendrix announced today.
Wilson comes to Furman following four years at Charleston Southern, where he was a member of a Buccaneers' coaching staff that included defensive coordinator Chad Staggs and defensive line coach Skylor Magee — both of whom recently joined Furman's new coaching staff in the same capacities.
"It is great to have Rod join our staff," said Hendrix in making the announcement. "He brings a great resume with his extensive playing career and track record as a coach. He is also another outstanding addition with strong South Carolina roots."
"I'm truly honored and blessed to have this great opportunity to join coach Hendrix and the Paladin Family," said Wilson on Wednesday morning. "Growing up in the Low Country of South Carolina and being a true sports fan of the state, I always kept my eye on Furman. From its academics to the great tradition on the field, Furman is an outstanding place, and I'm looking forward to a new challenge and the opportunity to work with a great group of young men."
Most recently the Buccaneers' inside linebackers coach, Wilson was part of CSU defensive units that helped win 35 games from 2013-16, claim two Big South Conference Championships, and earn Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff berths the last two seasons.
This past year he coached linebackers who helped CSU lead the Big South and rank seventh nationally in total defense (294.1 ypg), while finishing among the nation's best in passing defense (158.8 ypg/3rd) and sacks (2.6/18th).
The Bucs' defense closed the 2016 campaign with impressive performances in victories over ranked foes Liberty and Kennesaw State, helping Charleston Southern successfully defend its league title. The defense was also superb in the Bucs' 15-14, FCS first round playoff loss at Wofford, yielding only 185 yards, including just 141 on the ground after the Terriers entered the game ranked fifth nationally in rushing offense (295.8 ypg).
CSU finished the 2016 season ranked 14th in the FCS poll, extending its streak of Top 25 rankings to a school record 22 weeks.
Charleston Southern's defense was central to CSU going 4-0 against cross-town rival The Citadel from 2013-15, highlighted by a pair of victories over the Bulldogs in 2015, including a 14-6 triumph in second round playoff action. In both victories that season, part of a 10-3 campaign, the Bucs' "Blue Swarm" defense put the clamps on The Citadel's vaunted rushing attack, limiting the Bulldogs to 181 and 162 rushing yards, respectively.
In 2015 Wilson's linebacking corps featured two-time All-Big South Conference performer Aaron Brown, who paced CSU with 88 tackles in keying the Bucs to a 10-3 record, outright league title, and the program's first playoff berth.
In his first season at CSU in 2013, he coached the Bucs' defensive back and all-conference performer Demaris Freeman.
Wilson made the transition to coaching following a six-year NFL career with the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars. Selected by the Bears in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft, he competed in two NFC Championship games and Super Bowl XLI before retiring.
Wilson enjoyed a versatile career at the Univesity of South Carolina, playing quarterback, wide receiver, spur, safety, and linebacker for the Gamecocks. As a senior he served as a team captain and led the squad in tackles while earning All-SEC and SEC Academic Honor Roll accolades.
A native of Cross, S.C., he was a four-sport athlete at Cross High School and was named Class 1A state offensive player of the year. He was also a finalist for Mr. Football in South Carolina and served as a team captain in the 1999 Shrine Bowl.
He has a son, Jaylen, 11.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information