SFA has promoted J.C. Harper from defensive coordinator to their new head football coach.
NACOGDOCHES Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack defensive coordinator J.C. Harper has been named SFA¹s new head football coach, Director of Athletics Robert Hill announced at a press conference on campus Thursday morning. Harper takes over for Robert McFarland, who resigned earlier this month to become an assistant coach at Iowa State.
³I¹m extremely excited to announce J.C. as our new head coach,² said Hill.
³After a thorough search, Harper stood out as the best choice for this position. He has earned this opportunity through his hard work and dedication to SFA. I¹m excited about the future of Stephen F. Austin football.²
Harper joined the Lumberjack coaching staff as the defensive coordinator prior to the 2005 season. He was given the responsibility of turning a young Lumberjack defensive unit into a dominant force. Harper¹s influence is evident in just two short seasons on campus. Harper turned a defense that finished near the bottom in every statistical category in 2005, into the most effective defense in the league. The ŒJacks led the Southland Conference in scoring defense, rush defense and total defense during league games in 2006.
Harper¹s athletes have also been recognized at the conference, regional and national level. The Lumberjack defense has produced nine all-conference athletes, including two first-team and two-second team selections, under Harper. SFA has also produced three All-American selections and two all-region honors during the past two seasons.
The 2006 season marked the second consecutive year that SFA has produced the league¹s top tackler. Former Lumberjack Ryan Luedecke made the switch to linebacker as a senior and recorded a career year in 2005. Luedecke led the SLC in tackles on his way to honorable mention All-America honors. This past season Harper found success with another player making the switch to linebacker in Damian Perkins. Perkins became an impact player during his first season on defense leading the league with 92 tackles, including 11.5 for losses.
An 18-year veteran of collegiate coaching, Harper served as defensive coordinator at Western Michigan in 2004. Harper spent two seasons at Western Michigan, and has also made coaching stops at Northwestern State and McNeese State. During that time he helped coach the Cowboys and Demons to three playoff appearances in four years.