Charleston Southern head football coach Jamey Chadwell told his team in a Sunday night meeting that he intends to accept a position as offensive coordinator and associate head coach at Coastal Carolina, leaving the program after four seasons as head coach.
“It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make, but it’s something I felt God was calling me to do,” Chadwell said. “What we have here is special, and what they have at Coastal Carolina is special also. It is a great opportunity for me to become a part of a great program and to be a coordinator at the FCS level.
“One thing that was very important to me, if I ever left, was that someone here on staff would get the opportunity to take over, and that worked out as well.”
CSU quarterbacks coach Mark Tucker, 54, was introduced as the school’s next head coach to the team by athletic director Hank Small shortly after Chadwell announced he was leaving. Tucker coached Chadwell as a quarterback at East Tennessee State University and is a former offensive coordinator at The Citadel.
“I am extremely honored to replace a man that I have a tremendous amount of respect for,” Tucker said. “We, as a staff, have built this program based on all of the right things. We don’t just talk about family, but we live it out here. I’m really excited to lead these young men and we’re ready to get back to work.”
Chadwell clearly left the program in far better shape than when he became head coach. CSU went 0-11 just two seasons prior to Chadwell’s arrival. The coach compiled a 35-14 record and won back-to-back Big South Conference titles in 2015 and 2016. Chadwell also went 3-1 against Coastal Carolina, with his option offense averaging 480 yards in offense in the three victories.
Chadwell guided the CSU program to four victories over The Citadel and made two FCS playoff appearances – the first in school history. CSU’s win over The Citadel in the 2015 national playoffs was the only playoff win in school history.
CSU was 10-1 in the Big South over the last two seasons, and Chadwell is a three-time honoree as the Big South Conference coach of the year.
Coastal Carolina is making the move from FCS to FBS football and has joined the Sun Belt conference.
Chadwell was a finalist for the head coaching position at Georgia Southern last year and was a finalist for the opening at Chattanooga in December.
CSU finished 7-4 this season, losing to Wofford in the FCS playoffs, 15-14. The 2016 season was one of adversity as the school self-imposed NCAA sanctions for violations in regards to improper use of book money with a host of football players. A total of 32 players were suspended for one game.
In a separate level III violation, Chadwell was suspended for one game due to a social media violation committed by a CSU assistant coach.
Small says hiring Tucker was an easy and logical choice. The process began over the last week or so, and other members of the current coaching staff were interviewed as possible replacements.
“Coach Chadwell did a tremendous job with the football program, and one of the things he did so well was assembling a staff of very qualified, knowledgeable coaches,” Small said. “We knew this day would come when Jamey would leave, but we always imagined it would be as a head coach and that most or all of his staff would go with him. This situation works out great for CSU because it allowed us to look within for the next coach.
“Coach Tucker has great experience and as a coach and is a proven recruiter. It is clear that he has impacted the lives of those around him and we look forward to him leading our program.”
CSU President Dr. Jairy C. Hunter and other members of the school’s administration attended the announcement to the team. A formal press conference and introduction of Tucker as head coach is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m.