Tyson Helton

Tyson Helton was announced as Western Kentucky University’s new head football coach Tuesday, November 27, 2018, during a press conference at the Jack and Jackie Harbaugh Stadium Club at Houchens-Smith Stadium. (Bac Totrong/photo@bgdailynews.com)

Tyson Helton has added two more assistant coaches to his Western Kentucky staff.

Helton hired Chris Chestnut to coach wide receivers and Montario Hardesty to coach running backs, the Daily News learned Tuesday.

Those two join Maurice Crum (linebackers) Bryan Ellis (offensive coordinator), Jimmy Lindsey (defensive ends), Kenny Martin (defensive tackles), Richard Owens (tight end), Jason Veltkamp (strength and conditioning), Clayton White (defensive coordinator) and TJ Woods (offensive line) on the new coach’s Hilltopper staff.

Chestnut comes to WKU from Tennessee State, where he spent the last three seasons. He coached the Tigers’ wide receivers the last two years.

The Durham, N.C., native began his college playing career at College of the Canyons before transferring to Western Michigan, where he was a team captain his senior year. He went on to play in the Arena Football League from 2004-06.

Chestnut coached in his hometown at North Durham High School from 2004-08 and again from 2013-14. He’s worked for college programs in various capacities at Ellsworth Community College (2009), Campbell (2010-11), South Florida (2012), Miami (Fla.) (2015) and TSU (2016-18).

WKU’s wide receivers were coached the last two seasons by Junior Adams, who also served as the Toppers’ offensive coordinator. He won’t be retained by Helton.

Returning wideouts for WKU include Lucky Jackson (50 catches, 552 yards, four touchdowns), Quin Jernighan (41 catches, 437 yards, one TD) and Jacquez Sloan (31 catches, 495 yards).

Hardesty worked last season as a quality control analyst at Tennessee, where Helton was offensive coordinator in 2018.

The former Volunteers running back rushed for 2,391 yards and 26 touchdowns during his career at Tennessee (2005-09). He was drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, who he played for from 2010-13.

Hardesty served coaching stints at Norfolk State (2014-16) and Florida Atlantic (2017) before going to Tennessee.

WKU’s running backs were coached the last two years by Mike Sanford Sr., father of former coach Mike Sanford. Sanford Sr. was dismissed Nov. 25, the same day his son was fired after his second season.

Joshua Samuel (121 carries, 639 yards, one touchdown) returns in 2019 as the Hilltoppers’ leading rusher.

Conference USA

honors 13 Toppers

Right tackle Miles Pate and tight end Mik’Quan Deane earned spots on the All-Conference USA Second Team, while 11 others from Western Kentucky were honored by the league Tuesday, as voted on by the 14 head football coaches.

A junior from Lawrenceville, Ga., Pate was the most experienced offensive lineman for a WKU unit that came into the season with zero returning starts at their respective positions. He started all 12 games for the Hilltoppers at right tackle, playing 893 snaps while being called for only two penalties. PFF College said his +21.7 cumulative rating and 79.1 overall rating rank second among C-USA offensive tackles.

Pate was the offensive line MVP in the Hilltoppers’ 28-20 victory at Ball State on Sept. 22 and was named a team captain for the season opener at No. 4 Wisconsin. From 2017 to 2018, WKU improved +76 yards rushing per game (from 61 to 137) and allowed one fewer sack per game (from 3.7 to 2.7).

A senior from Tulsa, Okla., Deane led C-USA tight ends with 44 receptions – 31 of which went for first downs – and six touchdowns while finishing second with 529 yards receiving. On the national scope, he ranked 10th with 44 receptions, sixth with 31 first downs, 12th with 529 yards receiving and tied for seventh with six scores.

Deane was named to the John Mackey Award Watch List prior to the season and earned honorable mention weekly honors twice during the 2018 campaign. He posted career highs of 10 receptions and 112 yards receiving at Florida Atlantic on Nov. 10, and caught a pair of touchdowns at Ball State on Sept. 22.

All-Conference USA Second Team

Mik’Quan Deane, TE, r-Sr.

Miles Pate, RT, r-Jr.

Conference USA All-Freshman Team

Rex Henderson, LB, r-Fr.

Juwuan Jones, DE, r-Fr.

Garland LaFrance, KR, Fr.

Joshua Samuel, RB, r-Fr.

All-CUSA Honorable Mention

Ta’Corian Darden, DB, r-Jr.

Drell Greene, S, Sr.

Ben Holt, LB, r-Jr.

Lucky Jackson, WR, r-Jr.

Juwuan Jones, DE, r-Fr.

Devon Key, S, r-So.

DeAngelo Malone, DE, So.

Masai Whyte, LB, r-Sr.

– Follow Daily News sports reporter Brad Stephens on Twitter @BradBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.


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