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4 SHSU assistants, UAB assistant join GSU football staff
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Georgia Southern head football coach Willie Fritz, center, shakes hands and chats with president Brooks Keel at the Bishop Field House after being introduced Jan. 10. Fritz added five new coaches to his staff at Georgia Southern Wednesday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Georgia Southern announced on Wednesday the addition of five new members to the football coaching staff and the retention of two assistant coaches for the 2014 season.

Joining head coach Willie Fritz are four assistant coaches from Sam Houston State -- offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Doug Ruse, wide receivers coach Matt Barrett, defensive ends coach Johnny Jernigan, and linebackers coach Michael Mutz. Kevin Peoples, who coached at UAB last season, will coach the defensive line. Defensive coordinator Jack Curtis and assistant coach Chad Lunsford have been retained. Curtis will continue to work with the Eagles secondary while Lunsford moves to the role of tight ends coach after his first season with the wide receivers in 2013.

Ruse joins Georgia Southern in the same role as offensive coordinator. He was a finalist for the FCS Coordinator of the Year award in 2012 at SHSU.

Peoples became the defensive line coach for UAB in 2013 after three seasons at Arkansas, serving as the Razorbacks’ defensive tackles coach in 2012.

Barrett begins his 15th year of college coaching and first at Georgia Southern. The wide receivers coach in 2012 and 2013 for Fritz at Sam Houston State, he will assume that same role for the Eagles.

Jernigan’s arrived at SHSU in early 2010 and helped Sam Houston State’s defensive rankings in several categories rise more than 50 spots from the year prior. The Bearkats’ rushing defense vaulted from 86th to eighth nationally, allowing 100 only rushing yards per game, an average of 69.82 yards less than the previous year.

Mutz spent three years as a defensive coordinator, two at Missouri Southern State and one at Blinn College, before returning to the Sam Houston State program under Fritz last season.