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Austin Peay names new football coach

January 22, 2003

Carroll McCray, a longtime Division I-A and Division I-AA football assistant who served as centers and offensive guards coach at Mississippi State the past two seasons, has been named the new head football coach at APSU.

McCray becomes Austin Peays 16th head coach and second in the non-scholarship era. He replaces Bill Schmitz, whose contract was not renewed after the 2002 season.
January 22, 2003

Carroll McCray, a longtime Division I-A and Division I-AA football assistant who served as centers and offensive guards coach at Mississippi State the past two seasons, has been named the new head football coach at APSU.

McCray becomes Austin Peay's 16th head coach and second in the non-scholarship era. He replaces Bill Schmitz, whose contract was not renewed after the 2002 season.

“Carroll McCray is a very knowledgeable football coach who we think will continue the success achieved this year in our football program,” APSU athletics director Dave Loos said. “He is a man of great integrity who will have the best interests of our student-athletes at heart.

“Carroll is someone who will have a strong presence in the community and quickly build additional interest in this program.”

McCray brings 19 seasons of coaching experience to the University. He was brought to Starkville by then offensive coordinator Sparky Woods. McCray had served five seasons (1988-93) under Woods when the latter was head coach at South Carolina. He coached the offensive line, tight ends, h-backs and special teams as he helped the Gamecocks in their transition to the Southeastern Conference.

He coached offensive tackle Ernest Dye, the school's first all-SEC performer. He also helped tutor three players who earned spots in the Senior Bowl and two in the Blue-Gray and East/West Shrine games.

Between the two stints with Woods, McCray worked seven seasons (1994-00) as the offensive line coach under Pete Hurt at Samford University.

While he was with the Bulldogs, McCray's offensive lines ranked among I-AA's best. In 2000, his unit paved the way to a school-record 3,439 yards rushing and 41 touchdowns. In 1999, Samford averaged more than 300 yards rushing per game, the fourth highest total in Division I-AA.

During a seven-year stint in Birmingham, McCray's offensive lines helped 11 Samford running backs to gain more than 500 single-season rushing yards.

McCray began his coaching career with at Appalachian State, where he served two years as a graduate assistantworking with the tight ends and tacklesand three years in charge of the inside linebackers. While he was with Appalachian State, the Mountaineers compiled a 38-19-2 record. The team advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs in 1986 and again in 1987 and moved on to the semifinals the latter year, after eliminating defending national champion Georgia Southern.

McCray earned three letters as an offensive lineman with Gardner-Webb College, an NAIA powerhouse. (Coincidentally, Gardner-Webb also produced Morehead State football coach Matt Ballard, a soon-to-be Pioneer Football League coaching opponent.) Before beginning his career at Gardner-Webb, McCray was a standout lineman for Parkwood High School in Monroe, N.C.

Loos says the search was a difficult one. APSU screened some 80 applicants, and Loos and APSU Assistant Athletics Director Chuck Kimmel narrowed the interview list to six.

“I want to thank the constituencies that were represented in this process, especially our search committee,” Loos said. “People gave up a lot of their time, and all of us at Austin Peay are appreciative. I especially want to thank Chuck Kimmel, who was very helpful throughout the process.

“We had a strong pool of candidates, which we narrowed down to six being brought on campus. They all made impressive presentations, making the decision that much more difficult.

“But in the end, we found the man we strongly believe is the right fit for our football program and this University.”