UPDATE (Dec. 5, 3:55 p.m.): Just hours after news broke of offensive and defensive coordinators Donnie Kirkpatrick and Bob Trott and their impending departure to East Carolina, WITN-TV sports anchor Billy Weaver broke that former JMU offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler would also be joining the Pirates.
This will be Shankweiler's fourth stint with East Carolina, his first starting in 1987 when he served five seasons as offensive coordinator. He returned from 1998-2002 as the offensive line coach, and became the offensive coordinator again from 2005-09.
Filling out his staff at East Carolina, former JMU head coach Mike Houston is taking his two coordinators — offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick and defensive coordinator Bob Trott — with him, according to the Daily News-Record.
Kirkpatrick, 59, returns to the Pirates after leaving them in 2015 to join Houston’s staff at James Madison. His previous stint included 10 years with roles ranging from assistant head coach to wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Trott, 64, has never coached at East Carolina but has an extensive resume that dates back to 1977, when he began his career as a graduate assistant at UNC. He has experience with three teams in the NFL and was a key figure in making JMU a hard-nosed defense since joining in 2016.
“I can promise you we are going to be a hard-nosed, physical, fundamentally sound, disciplined football team,” Houston said in his introductory press conference at ECU. “We’re going to play with immense intensity. We’re going to play with passion. We’re going to play with fire.”
Houston also said in his press conference that he wouldn’t be changing the schematics of how his team operates. Kirkpatrick will bring and implement his spread offense with multiple zone looks in the run game, while Trott brings his 4-2-5 defense that was so effective over the last three years with the Dukes.
In three years, JMU’s offense averaged 38.5 points per game while allowing just 15.69 per contest. The numbers did decrease in recent years, as JMU scored 441 points in 2018 after putting up 700 in 2016, while the defense game up 190 points in 13 games this year after holding opponents to 167 in 15 games.
Together, the trio of Houston, Kirkpatrick and Trott have elevated the talents of several record-shattering performers at JMU. Former quarterback Bryan Schor was the recipient of CAA’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2016, while former defensive lineman Andrew Ankrah and redshirt senior cornerback Jimmy Moreland won CAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
It should be expected that like Houston, Kirkpatrick and Trott will receive formidable pay raises. It was reported that in Houston’s first season he’ll be making $1.3 million, which can rise all the way to $1.7 by the fifth year of his deal. In 2018, Trott made $165,000 and Kirkpatrick earned $155,000.
Contact Blake Pace at email@example.com. For more football coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.