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Former local prep star returns as APSU football assistant

Marcus Gildersleeve, a former local prep football star who went on to play at national power Virginia Tech, has joined APSUs defensive coaching staff.

The former Northeast High School running back will coach cornerbacks and special teams. He comes to APSU after serving the last two years as wide receivers and special teams coach at University of Nebraska-Omaha, a Division II stalwart.

The lure of returning to the Clarksville area proved important to Gildersleeve, whose wife, Letisha also is from Clarksville.
Marcus Gildersleeve, a former local prep football star who went on to play at national power Virginia Tech, has joined APSU's defensive coaching staff.

The former Northeast High School running back will coach cornerbacks and special teams. He comes to APSU after serving the last two years as wide receivers and special teams coach at University of Nebraska-Omaha, a Division II stalwart.

The lure of returning to the Clarksville area proved important to Gildersleeve, whose wife, Letisha also is from Clarksville.

Gildersleeve says, “I went to high school here. My family is here. The direction Austin Peay is going as far as bringing scholarships back—they had a position for me, and I thought it was great opportunity to coach in my hometown.

“As a young coach, I think it is an opportune time for me to come here and work ... and work for Coach McCray.”

Gildersleeve became a household name in the Clarksville area during the mid-90s, when NHS bolted into the prep spotlight, catching the proverbial lightning in a bottle to become a Tennessee powerhouse. And Gildersleeve provided that lightning quickness.

As a senior at Northeast, he rushed for 1,063 yards and 21 TDs, including one game where he rushed seven times for 256 yards and five TDs to earn region co-Offensive MVP honors and Co-MVP on The Leaf-Chronicle's All-Area Team.

As a result, he earned a scholarship at Virginia Tech, where he played mostly as a wide receiver. During his five seasons at the school, the Hokies played in five bowl games, including the 1999 championship game.

He received his bachelor's degree in family child development in Spring 2000 and started his coaching career in 2002 at Sewanee, where his former prep coach, Rick Butler, was an assistant. He coached wide receivers and special teams. In fact, his special teams set an NCAA Division III record for single-game punt blocks returned for touchdowns (three).

At Nebraska-Omaha, he again coached receivers, including a trio that earned all-league honors, and special teams.
—Brad Kirtley