Lewis, Kelly Named Coordinators; Harrell Assistant Head Coach; Thurman Director of Quality Control
Coach Prime Adds 10 To Football Staff
BOULDER—The University of Colorado has added 10 new coaches to its football staff, Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders announced Tuesday, nine position coaches and a director of quality control.
Joining Coach Prime from Jackson State are Brett Bartalone (wide receivers), Tim Brewster (tight ends), Gary “Flea” Harrell (assistant head coach/running backs), Andre’ Hart (linebackers), Kevin Mathis (cornerbacks), and Dennis Thurman (director of quality control – defense). Also joining the staff are Charles Kelly (defensive coordinator/safeties), Sean Lewis (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Bill O’Boyle (offensive line) and Nick Williams (defensive ends). Lewis and O’Boyle join the staff from Kent State, where Lewis was the head coach, with Kelly joining from Alabama, where he was the associate defensive coordinator, and Williams from Texas A&M.
These 10 coaches have combined to coach over 2,000 games as full-time head coaches for 41 different teams including 11 different Power 5 institutions for a combined 56 seasons and at six NFL teams for a combined 22 seasons. The group has 192 seasons of full-time coaching experience, including four coaches with a combined 19 seasons as a head coach and the group has another combined 49 seasons as an offensive or defensive coordinator. They have been a part of 40 10-win seasons, coached in 59 bowl games, won 27 conference championships, and made the playoffs at the NFL, FCS and FBS level 21 times. They have collectively coached more than 350 all-conference players and 85 All-Americans at every level of college football.
Bartalone was most recently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Jackson State last season and has quickly worked his way up the coaching ranks. He has seven years of experience, also having coached at Nevada, Carleton College, St. Lawrence and Whitter College. In the past three seasons, he has coached quarterbacks to conference player of the year honors, twice with Carson Strong at Nevada in the Mountain West and this past season with Shedeur Sanders at Jackson State in the SWAC.
He played at Washington State under Mike Leach as a member of his first recruiting class and led the Cougars in receiving his first season, earning Freshman All-America honors before injuries derailed his playing career. He took advantage of learning under the creator of the Air Raid offense and worked as a student coach while earning a degree from the school in 2016.
Brewster also joins Coach Prime from Jackson State, where he was the tight ends coach for the 2022 season. He has more than 30 years of coaching experience including four as a collegiate head coach and five years as an NFL assistant coach. Colorado is the seventh Power 5 program for which he’s coached.
Prior to Jackson State, he was at Florida from 2020-21 where he helped Kyle Pitts win the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end before becoming the highest drafted tight end in NFL history at No. 4 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was the head coach at Minnesota from 2007-10 and has also coached at Florida State, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Texas and Texas A&M. He has coached two Mackey Award winners, also tutoring Nick O’Leary, who won the award with the Seminoles in 2014.
Harrell, affectionally known as “The Flea,” joins Coach Prime from Jackson State where he coached the running backs the past three seasons. He has also coached at Alabama State, Bowie State, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, his alma mater Howard in two separate stints, Morgan State, and Texas Southern.
He played collegiately at Howard from 1990-93, was an assistant coach from 2002-03 and the head coach from 2011-16. He had a five year professional career, including two in the NFL with the New York Giants.
Hart also joins Coach Prime from Jackson State, where he was the linebackers coach the last three seasons. On3 Sports honored him as one of 30 assistant coaches nationally whose stock is on the rise in November 2022. He helped turn the JSU defense around and in 2022, Jackson State led the FCS in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks and third down defense. He coached Aubrey Miller to the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2022.
Prior to Jackson State, Hart was the head coach at Trinity Christian High School in Cedar Hills, Texas, where he started as the defensive coordinator for two years and then became the head coach, leading the team to three straight TAPPS state championships and a TCAL National Championship. He was 22-4 as the head coach and 47-5 overall in four years at TC Cedar Hills.
Kelly comes to Colorado from Alabama, where he was the associate defensive coordinator the past five seasons, during which time the Crimson Tide posted a 47-6 record and won the 2020 National Championship with a perfect 13-0 record. He has also coached at Florida State, Georgia Tech, Henderson State, Jacksonville State, Nicholls State, and Tennessee. Since 2013 when he has mostly worked for Jimbo Fisher at Florida State and Nick Saban at Alabama, he has helped those two programs to a 101-19 record with two undefeated seasons, three Rose Bowls along with an Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl appearance.
He graduated from Auburn and after three years coaching in high school, he returned to Auburn as a graduate assistant to begin his collegiate coaching career before earning his first fulltime job at Jacksonville State in 1994.
Lewis comes to Colorado from Kent State, where he was the head coach for five years from 2018-22, taking a program that struggled prior to his arrival and making them respectable. The youngest head coach in the FBS when he was hired, his “FlashFAST” offense produced 606.5 yards and 49.8 points per game in 2020, leading the nation in both categories, and in 2021 set Kent State records for plays, yards, first downs, rushing yards and passing yards while posting the fourth-best offense in the FBS and top-ranked non-service academy rushing marks.
He also had stops at Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Illinois, Nebraska Omaha, and Syracuse and he’s coached in four bowl games, two conference championship teams, had two 10-win seasons and two playoff appearances at the FCS level.
Mathis, a former NFL standout, was with Coach Prime at Jackson State all three seasons and, like Hart, helped turn the defense into one of the best nationally, leading the FCS in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks and third down defense in 2022. Coaching the secondary, Jackson State has led the nation in pass efficiency defense in each of the past two seasons.
Prior to Jackson State, Mathis was the defensive coordinator at Trinity Christian High School in Cedar Hills, Texas, helping that team win three straight TAPPS championships and a TCAL national championships. He played in the NFL for 10 seasons, first breaking into the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys alongside Coach Prime. He played 115 NFL games with 11 career interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns. He is a member of the Texas A&M Commerce City Hall of Fame after earning All-America honors three times.
O’Boyle joins Lewis in coming from Kent State, where he led the offensive line for the past five seasons, mentoring the group that was responsible for the offensive success the Golden Flashes put together. Prior to teaming up with Lewis, O’Boyle has been coaching college ball since 1987 with stops at Chadron State, Colorado Mesa, Southern Illinois, South Dakota and Western Illinois.
He had a 13-year run at Chadron State that started with him being an offensive assistant before being promoted to offensive coordinator and eventually head coach from 2005-11. He has been an offensive coordinator for three teams spanning seven years alongside his six years of experience as a head coach.
Thurman also joins Coach Prime from Jackson State, where he was the defensive coordinator the past three seasons. Like Hart and Mathis, he helped turn the defense there into one of the best nationally, leading the FCS in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks and third down defense in 2022.
Prior to Jackson State, Thurman was in the NFL for 17 seasons with the Phoenix Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, the New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills. He also coached at his alma mater, Southern California, for eight seasons from 1993-2000. A two-time consensus All-American at USC, he was drafted into the NFL and played nine seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Cardinals, seeing action in 137 games and finishing his career with 36 interceptions.
Williams joins Coach Prime’s staff from Texas A&M where he served as a defensive analyst the past two seasons while working with the defensive linemen. He was a student assistant and graduate assistant at Georgia for three years prior to that. One of the top recruiters in the nation, he had a hand in recruiting two top-ranked classes to the Bulldogs in 2018 and ’20, and then again for the Aggies in 2022.
He played collegiately at Georgia and North Alabama before stints in the Canadian Football League and Arena football.