Courtney Coard earned a promotion to co-defensive coordinator thanks to the retirement of head coach Rod Broadway in 2018 and the promotion of defensive coordinator Sam Washington to head coach.
Coard spent four seasons (2011-14) as North Carolina A&T’s defensive line coach. He departed N.C. A&T for one season in 2015 to become a defensive graduate assistant at the University of Georgia. He returned to Aggieland in 2016 to resume his duties as the Aggies defensive line coach.
Coard’s contributions to the coaching staff have helped the Aggies win four MEAC titles, three Celebrations Bowls and three HBCU national championships since 2011. Coard excelled in his new position in 2018.
N.C. A&T’s defense remained one of the best in the nation in 2018. The Aggies had the third-best defense in the nation along with the fourth-best run defense, the fifth-best scoring defense and the 12th best passing defense. The Aggies had their best ranking nationally in pass defense since the 2012 season when they ranked sixth. In 2018, the Aggies led the MEAC in third-down defense, red zone defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, team passing efficiency defense and total defense.
Coard has helped the Aggies construct one of the best run defenses on the Football Championship Subdivision level that includes an excellent pass rush. The Aggies have finished in the top-25 nationally in sacks four out of the last six years. The run defense has finished outside the top-10 nationally once and led the nation in 2013. In addition, N.C. A&T has had the No. 1 MEAC run defense six times since Coard joined the staff. Thanks to N.C. A&T’s defensive line play, the Aggies total defense has finished outside the top-20 only once in eight seasons.
Under Coard’s leadership, Darryl Johnson, Jr. went from a walk-on to the 2018 MEAC defensive player of the year and a two-time All-American. Johnson went on to be the Buffalo Bills seventh-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. Johnson was the Aggies first conference defensive player of the year in 21 years. Defensive tackle Marquis Ragland was a three-time first-team All-MEAC selection. Julian McKnight earned two first-team All-MEAC honors under Coard and earned a tryout with the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
Former defensive end Tony Mashburn also benefited from Coard’s teachings in 2011 and ‘12. In two years with Coard, Mashburn collected an impressive 22 ½ tackles for loss, 82 tackles and 11 sacks. Defensive tackle Chris Neal also had a career year during his senior season in 2012 with career highs in tackles (33), tackles for loss (9) and sacks (3).
Before coming to A&T, Coard coached defensive ends and assisted in coaching defensive tackles at Grambling under Broadway. Coard assisted defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Cliff Yoshida in 2009 and ‘10. Coard helped the defensive line produce 7.8 tackles for loss per game to rank 15th nationally. Defensive lineman Christian Anthony ranked 31st in the nation in sacks per game and finished 19thin tackles for loss. The following season, defensive lineman Antonio Leonard registered 1.2 tackles for loss per game.
Prior to his arrival at Grambling, Coard served as the defensive line coach at his high school alma mater, Charlotte Independence. As a player at Independence, Coard helped the Patriots win four straight state championships. Coard was a four-year starter at defensive tackle for N.C. Central from 2004-07 under Broadway.
His presence helped the Eagles win consecutive CIAA titles in 2005 and ‘06. In 2004, he was named to the CIAA’s All-Rookie Team. Academically, Coard earned a B.A., degree in business management in 2008. Two years later, he received an M.S., degree in sports administration from Grambling.