BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan's Del Smith has announced the hiring of his coaching staff for his inaugural season with the Bobcats. Smith, who was hired in December, brings on board a total of six coaches, all with diverse coaching backgrounds.
"With the hours that our staff keeps together, it is important to surround yourself with people that you know, or somebody you know has worked with," remarked Smith. "I believe we have put together a great staff of coaches who know what it takes to be successful on the Division II level of college football. All of our coaches have experienced a tremendous amount of success throughout their careers. We have a great blend of coaches with deep Wesleyan ties and or ties to myself in this profession."
The coaching staff includes Harrison Bernstein (Associate Head Coach), Michael Engle (Offensive Coordinator), Dwayne Martin (Defensive Coordinator), Tony Testa (Director of Operations), Mark Philmore (Wide Receivers) and Justin King (Defensive Line).
Bernstein has been named as the team's associate head coach, as well as the secondary coach and director of strength and conditioning.
Smith said of Bernstein, "Coach Bernstein and I have worked together in the past. We share a lot of the same values and have a common vision for the direction of this program. Not only is Coach Bernstein a phenomenal secondary coach, I feel confident in saying that we have the best strength and conditioning coach in the conference. As a New Jersey native, Coach Bernstein will help re-engage our recruiting ties in the Garden State."
Bernstein is no stranger to Del Smith. In 2014, Smith hired Bernstein to coach the secondary at Bishop O'Connell High School in Washington D.C., and then followed him in 2015 to coach the safeties at Bridgewater College.
Harrison, who graduated from John Hopkins University in 2000, was also a standout defensive back for the football team. He earned All-American and MVP honors three times and won the award for Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1997.
He was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame in March 2014. After college, Harrison coached the defense for Fair Lawn, his high school alma mater, where he helped the team reach the playoffs in his first year.
While coaching football in New Jersey, he became certified as a certified strength and conditioning specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He also holds a certification in sports nutrition from the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
In 2007, Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins hired Harrison the assistant strength and conditioning coach. For the Redskins, Bernstein achieved the following: designed and implemented speed and strength programs for all positions, studied defensive strategy under Gregg Williams, Jerry Gray, Steve Jackson, Greg Blache, and Kirk Olivadotti, assisted with linebacker individual periods of practice and developed a corrective exercise and injury prevention program that steadily reduced injuries over three years culminating in zero non-contact soft tissue injuries in the 2009 season.
"I am thrilled to have the honor and opportunity to help coach the Bobcat football team to years of success," Bernstein remarked. "Within my short time here at Wesleyan, I have quickly become attached to our players. We have hard working players with strong character. I thoroughly enjoy spending the majority of my time with them. I look forward to witnessing all of the success they achieve. It is amazing how helpful all of the faculty and staff have been in integrating me into this wonderful community."
Engle will serve as the offensive coordinator for the Bobcats. Prior to Wesleyan, Engle was the wide receivers coach at Bryant University since 2012.
"Coach Engle has a dynamic offensive mind and has worked closely with some of the best coaches in the country throughout his career," Smith stated. "He has coached multiple position on the offensive side of the football and has a potent plan for the Wesleyan offense moving forward."
Engle played quarterback at DePauw University from 2007-2010, where he was a three-year letter winner, as well as serving as the team's captain during his senior season. While at DePauw, he was selected as First Team All-Conference, while breaking the university's record for completions, attempts, passing yards, total offense yards, passing touchdowns, and single game record for passing touchdowns. Engle graduated from DePauw with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.
Martin will return to his alma mater to serve as the defensive coordinator for the Bobcats, as well as coaching the linebackers, and serving as the program's recruiting coordinator.
"Coach Martin and I have a long history together," remarked Smith. "He is a 1996 alum of Wesleyan and has two decades of Division II coaching experience. Coach Martin is a dynamic leader and understands what it takes to be successful at Wesleyan. He was a member of the 1995 conference championship team. Coach Martin's extensive ties in Pennsylvania and Ohio have already started to produce great profiles for WVWC."
Martin was at Clarion University for 10 seasons where he served as the defensive coordinator from 2006 through 2012, as well as the 2015 season. His 2009 team had an outstanding season as Clarion ranked fourth in the PSAC yielding only 302.9 yards per game, while ranking third in rushing defense yielding only 118.5 yards per game.
Prior to Clarion, Martin was on the coaching staff at Slippery Rock University from 2002 to 2006, where he coached the linebackers. Martin also ran Slippery Rock's Minority Mentoring program, along with a numerous of other responsibilities. Before Slippery Rock, Martin was the defensive backs coach at Wesley College in Dover, Del. from 2000 to 2001, and running backs coach for one season in 1999.
Martin also served as an assistant coach at West Virginia Tech in 1996, before being promoted to defensive coordinator from 1997 to 1998. Martin was a member of the Bobcat football team from 1993 to 1996, where he played cornerback.
Testa will return to the football program after spending the previous three season's serving as the offensive line coach, as well as the director of strength and conditioning for the Bobcats.
His new responsibilities will again include coaching the offensive line, as well as serving as the director of football operations, assistant strength coordinator, and community service liaison.
"Coach Testa and I played together at Wesleyan," stated Smith. "He was a member of 2002-03 championship teams under Coach Bill Struble and has experience on many levels of college football. He is a 2007 graduate of Wesleyan and knows what it takes to be successful here. We could not have accomplished what we have to date without coach Testa's body of work. As a native of West Virginia, Coach Testa has done a tremendous job maintaining and cultivating in state recruiting ties."
Prior to returning to Buckhannon, Testa worked as an offensive consultant and running backs coach at Baldwin-Wallace College. While there, he was a member of the staff that turned the program around from a 3-7 record to a 7-3 and 8-2 records the following two seasons.
Testa, who was teammates with Smith at Wesleyan, is thrilled to see him named as the new head coach. "I couldn't be more appreciative for the opportunity to be working with Coach Smith," Testa remarked. "The level of organization, attention to detail and vision he has for the program is truly inspiring. His tenacity and ability to get the job done is just as evident now as when we were on the field together. Having a fellow Bobcat, that knows what it takes to win championships here, is going to be invaluable when it comes to "Restoring the Roar" at Wesleyan."
Philmore has been named as the team's wide receivers coach.
"Coach Philmore has a great pedigree in his football background," Smith remarked. "He competed on the highest level of college and professional football as a player and has proven to be an excellent teacher of the game overseas. As an Ohio native, his recruiting ties will prove critical as we move forward."
The Columbus, Ohio native was a four-year letter winner at Northwestern University, earning both All-Big-Ten honors as a junior and senior. He completed his career at Northwestern as the team's fourth all-time leader in receptions (163) and fifth on the school's all-time receiving yardage list (1,768 yards.)
After college, Philmore had the privilege of pursuing a lifelong dream when he signed as a free agent in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears.
Prior to Buckhannon, he spent the past six years overseas developing and expanding the game of football in Poland and India. During those six years, he played or coached in six consecutive national championships in two countries, winning three. From 2014 to 2015, Philmore worked as an offensive and special team coordinator, both coaching quarterbacks and wide receivers for the Panthers Wroclaw.
While there, he was a member of the staff that led the league in total offensive yards, passing, rushing, and total points as national runner-ups in back to back seasons. From 2010 to 2013, Philmore served as the offensive coordinator, as well as the quarterback and wide receiver coach for the Giants Wroclaw.
"I am tremendously excited to be back in the U.S. coaching the game and I am anxious about the challenge that awaits us here at Wesleyan,"Philmore said. "The moment I had a chance to meet Coach Smith and the staff I knew this was the beginning of something special. Now having a chance to meet some of the faculty and players it further solidified my decision and I'm ready to do whatever I can to help "Restore The Roar", Go Bobcats."
The final coach to be added to the staff was King, who will coach the defensive line. Prior to joining the staff at Wesleyan, King was a Graduate Assistant coach at Virginia Tech for the past three years working with one of the most esteemed coordinators in college football, Bud Foster.
During his time at Virginia Tech, King developed into a versatile coach by working extensively on both sides of the football. Over the last three seasons he has worked with several different positions including the offensive line, quarterbacks, defensive line and defensive backs.
Before joining the Virginia Tech staff in 2013, King was a preferred walk-on offensive lineman for the Hokies in 2007. King was a part of a program that won three ACC Championships, including back-to-back titles in 2007 & 2008.
King, a Roanoke, Va. native, graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Human Development in 2010, and he is currently finishing up his Master's in Education.
Smith is excited to have added a coach of the caliber of King to his staff, "Justin has proven to be a great fit within our staff in a short amount of time. His knowledge on the defensive side of the ball will benefit out program. He comes to us after working for one of the best defensive coordinators in the country at Virginia Tech.
Wesleyan will hold their annual spring Orange and Black game Saturday, April 16 at noon.
Photo ID -- Left to Right: Mark Philmore, Tony Testa, Michael Engle, Del Smith, Dwayne Martin, Harrison Bernstein and Justin King.