GAFFNEY, S.C. – Bobby James, a veteran defensive coach with 18 seasons of collegiate football experience, has been named as the first head coach in the history of Limestone, as announced by President Dr. Walt Griffin and Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Cerino on Friday.
“Limestone is privileged to have Bobby James as its first head football coach,” Griffin said. “He combines outstanding success on the gridiron with a commitment to building character among young men who play on his teams.”
“We are very excited about the hiring of Bobby James,” Cerino said. “We are looking forward to building a program with not only a winning tradition, but one that represents both Limestone and the community very well. We think we have just the right person to do that”.
James, who has been a defensive coordinator for 13 of his 18 years in coaching, joins the Saints after six years at Wingate, the last five of which were as the head of the defense. During that time he has become one of the top defensive coaches in the Southeast, leading the Bulldogs defense to impressive marks in each of the last five years.
“Limestone is a college with a rich tradition of success which has been built through a talented and dedicated administrative and coaching staff,” James said. “It is truly an honor to be afforded the opportunity of being the first head football coach at Limestone.
Our mission will be to develop a championship football program along with building men of character.”
In his first season as defensive coordinator in 2008, Wingate’s pass defense led the South Atlantic Conference and was ranked No. 9 nationally, while the 2009 squad led the nation in turnover margin per game and the SAC in total sacks.
In 2010, the defense helped key a series of firsts for the Bulldogs that included a SAC Championship, NCAA tournament appearance and NCAA tournament victory. That season the defense led the conference in forced turnovers and had the top ranking in conference games for turnover ratio.
A pair of All-South Atlantic Conference selection’s highlighted the defense in 2011 as defensive end Jack Taylor and linebacker Jared Seate each earned those honors under James. This past season, the Bulldogs finished first in the SAC and 37th in the nation in total defense at 345.09 yards allowed and were also third in the conference in sacks with 22.
In addition to his duties on the defensive side of the ball, James also served as Wingate’s head of strength and conditioning and was the football program’s pro liaison.
In the latter role, he has assisted four former players in joining the pro ranks. David Jones is a five-year professional and signed a contract with the Washington Redskins while John Bowman was a member of the Montreal Alouettes in 2009 and 2010. During those years, they won the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup (the CFL’s equivalent of the Superbowl). In 2011 Kenwin Cummings was signed by the Dallas Cowboys and Perry Floyd joined the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Prior to his time at Wingate, James served as the defensive coordinator and strength & conditioning coach at Division III Susquehanna in Selinsgrove, Pa. from 2004-06. During his time there he helped the Crusaders post the top passing defense in the Middle Atlantic Conference in 2006 and was fourth in the league in total yards yielded with a mark of 297.4. That mark represented a 150-yard improvement from year prior to James arrival.
From 2002 through 2003 he was the defensive coordinator and head strength coach at Division II New Haven after serving as the defensive coordinator at Division I Drake in 2001. Prior to that he spent the 1999 and 2000 seasons at Wilkes. While there they were ranked No. 4 in total defense and top rankings in all major defensive categories in conference.
James got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Bloomsburg as an assistant coach in 1995 and 1996 where he worked as an assistant coach in the secondary, strength & conditioning and served as the video coordinator. During his time there he helped the Huskies to an overall 19-3-1 record, back-to-back Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championships and a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs. The latter came in 1996 as BU posted a 10-2 overall record.
That success then led him to Lenoir-Rhyne, where he was named a secondary assistant coach in strength & conditioning. While there he was also responsible for a recruiting area that included North and South Carolina.
Prior to embarking on his coaching career, James was a four-year starter at Bloomsburg from 1990-94 where he was a two-time All-Conference Selection. He also served as a team captain for two years, was chosen as Team Defensive Most Valuable Player and was named All-ECAC.
During his time in uniform for the Huskies he also set a pair of school records for most punt returns and most kick returns in a single game. His mark of five punt returns still ranks as the second most in program history. As a senior, James helped lead Bloomsburg to an 8-3 overall record and a PSAC East Championship, which was only the second in program history.
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