February 20, 2003
Valdosta State head coach Chris Hatcher has promoted linebackers coach Ashley Anders to defensive coordinator, replacing Kevin Shirley who resigned to take the secondary coach job at Alabama-Birmingham.
Hatcher said "Ashley has done a great job with our linebackers since joining the staff a year ago, and he has coordinator experience from the high school ranks, I'm confident he'll keep our defense a strong part of our program."
Anders, who takes charge of a defense which ranked second in the nation in rushing defense and 12th in scoring defense in 2002, will continue to coach the Blazer linebackers.
Defensive line coach Maurea Crain returns, and Anders and Hatcher are searching for a secondary coach to replace Shirley.
The Blazers begin spring practice March 4, and Anders would like to have the new coach on board by then
. "I'm certainly excited to get this opportunity and I appreciate coach Hatcher's confidence," Anders said. "I'm fortunate to have a great bunch of kids who work hard, and that's all you can ask as a coach. We're going to get back to work with the goal of keeping this defense at its current level."
VSU returns 17 defensive lettermen, including seven players who started games last season.
Graduation took its toll on the defensive line, an area that was restocked during the recruiting season.
A native of Hampton, Arkansas, where he was a three-sport letterman in high school, Anders came to VSU from Holmes (MS) Community College. He began his coaching career at Star City (Arkansas) High School where he was defensive coordinator in 1998 before becoming a graduate assistant at Auburn.
He received his master's degree in sports administration from Auburn in 2000. Anders, 30, is married and he and his wife Sheri have a daughter, Mary Alex, 3, and a son, William Cade, born January 21.