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Healy’s energy caught Charlotte’s attention


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Will Healy, an Eddie Robinson Award winner as the National FCS Coach of the Year, has been selected as the head football coach for the Charlotte 49ers.

Healy, who has coached at Austin Peay State University for the last three years, is known for infusing energy and enthusiasm in his program, engineering one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history. A gifted recruiter, he has helped attract top five FCS recruiting classes in four of the last five years.

“I am very pleased to welcome Will and Emily Healy to the UNC Charlotte community,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phil Dubois. “Will’s energy, coaching success, and passion for this job make him an excellent choice to lead the Charlotte 49er football program.”

“We are thrilled that Will and his family will be joining Niner Nation,” said 49ers Director of Athletics Mike Hill. “When we set out to hire a coach, our goal was to find someone who will energize and transform the 49ers into a championship program. Will is that man. Across the country he is recognized as one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the nation. His name came up time and again throughout our search as someone who is a relentless, proven recruiter who has seen remarkable success. On top of that, he places a high value on culture and developing student-athletes.”

“In my first conversation with Mike Hill, I told him that I would walk to Charlotte to talk to him about this job,” said Healy. “This is a special place – a young football program with tremendous University leadership located in a first-class city. We can recruit and develop excellent student-athletes here and we can compete at a very high level. We’re thrilled to be part of this University and community. I can’t wait to get started.”

Healy joined Austin Peay in 2016, and, according to Yahoo Sports, signed the FCS’s number one recruiting class in 2017. He parlayed that talent into an 8-4 season that included a 7-1 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Governors, who had gone 1-45 over the previous four seasons, snapped a 29-game losing streak, which was the longest in the nation. Three of the Governors’ four losses came to FBS schools and the team tied the school record for most wins.

Austin Peay broke a slew of records during the 2017 season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Govs finished sixth in the nation and set a school record with 3,105 yards rushing. They also set records for rushing touchdowns (32), total touchdowns (45), yards per rush (5.35), yards per game (387.2), total offense (4,646), and total points (327).

Healy received the 2017 STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award as the National FCS Coach of the Year and was named the OVC’s Roy Kidd Coach of the Year.

This past year, the Governors went 5-6 overall, to post a five-win season in back-to-back years for the first time since 1984-85. In the 25 years prior to 2017, APSU won at least five games just twice.  Over his last two years, the Governors have posted a 13-6 record against FCS opponents.

Healy spent seven years as an assistant coach at Chattanooga before taking over as head coach at Austin Peay. Again, Healy was part of a big turnaround, helping the Mocs jump from 1-11 prior to his arrival to a 6-5 mark in his first season.

The Mocs won or shared Southern Conference Championships in each of Healy’s last three seasons and made the FCS playoffs in 2014 and 2015. In his final season with the team, Chattanooga went 9-4 and defeated Fordham, 50-20, to advance to the FCS Quarterfinals.

A native of Chattanooga, Healy served as quarterbacks coach, wide receivers coach, passing-game coordinator and recruiting coordinator for the Mocs.

In addition to his recruiting skills, Healy has shown a penchant for developing quarterback talent. As passing game coordinator, he helped develop Jacob Huesman into a three-time Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a STATS FCS Second-Team All-America. As QB coach in 2009, he worked with BJ Coleman, who went on to pass for more than 2,300 yards and 17 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Coleman was a seventh-round selection of the Green Bay Packers in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Healy was a two-time all-state quarterback at Chattanooga’s Boyd-Buchanan High School. He was named all-state honorable mention twice and was a four-time all-region selection. A Tennessee “Mr. Football” finalist as a senior, Healy holds the Chattanooga area career passing record with more than 7,700 yards.

A 2008 graduate of the University of Richmond, he was a team captain on the Spiders’ 2008 FCS National Title team.

Healy’s father, Rob, was a star at Georgia Tech and his uncle, Chip, was an All-America linebacker at Vanderbilt.

Healy received his bachelor’s degree from Richmond in Rhetoric and Communication Studies in December 2008. Healy married the former Emily Broyles in 2012. They have one son, Eli, and are expecting their second child.

The Charlotte 49ers will host a press conference to introduce Healy, Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 2:30 p.m. at Jerry Richardson Stadium.  The press conference, which will take place outdoors on the stadium concourse, will be open to the public. Parking is available in the CRI Deck adjacent to the stadium.  Attendees should enter the stadium through Gate 3.

The press conference will be streamed live at and can also be seen on Facebook Live.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson head football coach:
“What a home run hire. This guy is as sharp as they come. He’s about all the right things. He’s going to be awesome. Those players will love him, and I really believe that he will build something special there in Charlotte. He’s one of the bright young coaches in the business, but more importantly, he’s a great person with a great family. Charlotte knocked it out of the park.”

David Cutcliffe, Duke head football coach:
Will Healy is a great fit for Charlotte! First of all he’s a young man of integrity and character so the players will benefit from his influence in their lives. Will is a great teacher of quarterbacks and an innovative offensive coach that will bring an exciting brand of football to Charlotte. Great hire!”

Kirby Smart, Georgia head football coach:
“I have a lot of respect for coach Healy and the job he’s done. He’s done a tremendous job everywhere he’s been, especially offensively. He’s got a lot of energy and has shown impressive leadership at a young age to go out and do what he’s done. Will has also done a really good job recruiting, coming into the state of Georgia, too.”

Scott Frost, Nebraska head football coach:
“I am so excited for Will Healy and for Charlotte. I have coached against one of Will’s teams and have gotten to know him over the last couple of years. I believe he is one of the brightest young coaches in the game today. I have no doubt that he will have a tremendous career in this business. I expect great things to happen at Charlotte.”

Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN College Football Analyst: 
Will Healy is a winner. Whether it’s as a player on Richmond’s 2008 National Championship team or as a coach where a year after going 0-11 in his first season, Healy’s Govs made historical improvement finishing 8-4 including a 7-1 mark in OVC play. His familiarity with the region, energy, talent evaluation and getting the best out of players will make Charlotte a player in Conference USA sooner than later.”

Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports (12/4/18 article): 
“Healy is considered an elite recruiter, communicator and program promoter, cut from the energetic CEO mold of Dabo Swinney and P.J. Fleck. Healy’s style is one of relentless positivity. Healy will bring a fresh energy to the program and city.”

Peter Burns, ESPN/SEC Network (from twitter)
“Healy is a rising star and going to do big things in Charlotte. Kudos to @rmikehill and @Charlotte49ers for thinking outside of the box on this.”

Zach Barnett, Football Scoop (article updated 12/4/18):
“Healy has drawn comparison to Dabo Swinney in making energy and encouragement the hallmarks of Austin Peay’s turnaround.”

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