The University of Arkansas at Monticello Athletics Department announces coaching changes for football, volleyball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball in 2019-20.
“People are the lifeblood of any staff and I am so excited for all of our programs who have added new staff to their programs. Each program has been vigilant in finding the right fit for not only their program but for UAM and the Department of Athletics,” said Athletics Director, Padraic McMeel. “Each of these individuals bring a new, fresh perspective to their role with their program and our department as a whole. I am excited to get the 2019-20 year started!”
• Ryan Lusby came to UAM this spring from Coffeyville Community College. Lusby enters his first full year as the offensive coordinator for the Boll Weevils.
At Coffeyville, he served as the team’s offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for one season. There, he mentored eight All-Conference selections and one Junior College All-American.
• Jordan Frost-Dixon joins the 2019 UAM coaching staff as the linebackers coach and the assistant special teams coordinator.
Before coming to Monticello, Frost-Dixon was the graduate assistant for two years at his alma mater, Middle Tennessee State University. He was also an intern for the Blue Raiders.
• Matt Goggans joined the staff in March 2019 and will be completing his first full year as the wide receivers coach.
Goggans comes to UAM from the University of Colorado. At Colorado, Goggans was a quality control coach working with the wide receivers. In 2018 at CU, Goggans helped in the development of First-Team All-Pac 12 and Second-Team All-American Laviska Shenault, Jr., along with sixth-round NFL Draft pick of the Denver Broncos, Juwann Winfree. Collectively, the CU wide receiver core went for 2,754-yards receiving and 16 catches for touchdowns in 2018.
• Steve Wright comes to the Boll Weevils in 2019 after spending the past two seasons at Missouri Western State University as a graduate assistant coaching the cornerbacks.
While coaching for the Griffons, he helped develop two-time All-Conference cornerback, Brandin Dandridge. Dandridge led the MIAA in interceptions over the past two seasons with nine interceptions and led the conference in passes defended in 2018.
• Josh Qualls worked with the roster a year ago, but is added to the staff this season as the tight end and half-backs coach.
“I’m really excited to have our new staff members. They all bring so much to our program,” said Football Head Coach, Hud Jackson. “This staff has shown that they can develop our players so that we can compete at a high level.”
• Tessa Ululau Lea’ea joins the UAM volleyball team in 2019 as a graduate assistant/assistant coach. The Stockton, California native comes to the staff after wearing many hats as not only a coach, but a player as well.
“I am extremely excited to announce Tessa Lea’ea as our graduate assistant Coach,” said Volleyball Head Coach Jocelyn Garcia. “Tessa possesses an impressive background as a student-athlete at the Division I level and I believe that she will make an immediate impact on the success of our team and culture.”
Before coming to Monticello, Lea’ea worked outside of sports with South West Traders Inc., played professionally and coached.
Lea’ea’s had a pair of coaching gigs in the past. In 2017, she was the junior varsity head women’s volleyball coach at Cesar Chavez High School in Stockton. In 2016, she was the junior varsity women’s head volleyball coach at Western Ranch High School in Stockton where she mentored student-athletes, prepping the team for varsity games in the future.
Lea’ea is a fall addition after head coach Garcia was named the full-time head coach of the volleyball program in March of 2019.
• Cooper Battisti, a native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will join UAM men’s basketball coaches Kyle Tolin and Kris Johnson as their new graduate assistant, after playing four years at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
“We are excited about adding Cooper to the staff. Cooper has a very bright future in the coaching business,” said UAM head coach Kyle Tolin. “He is a hard worker and is going to fit in nice with our staff. His dad is a hall of fame coach, so he understands all the ins and outs of coaching.”
In summer of 2018, Battisti coached the AAU Solid Rock Basketball team. He also specializes in knowing the game at other positions having been an AAU/MAYB referee in Oklahoma City since 2011.
Battisti received his Bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from SWOSU earlier this year and will be studying Coaching and Physical Education at UAM.
• Jashae Lee joins newly appointed women’s head coach, Greg Long, as the assistant women’s basketball coach and recruiting coordinator. Lee comes from Paris Junior College, where she was the assistant coach for two years.
During her time at PJC, she took on different roles as the assistant, including stepping in for the head coach during the 2017-18 season. In that season, Lee helped lead the team to one of its most historic victories in school history, gathering its first win against JUCO power-house, Trinity Valley. The following year, Lee aided the Lady Dragons to a regional tournament berth.
Prior to her time at PJC, Lee was the graduate assistant for Division I Murray State University, her alma mater. At Murray State, Lee specialized in operations and player development while coaching.
“I met Coach Lee on the road a couple of years ago and was very impressed by her. She came highly recommended to me from a number of coaches. She is an extremely hard worker that has a lot of experience at both the NJCAA and the NCAA levels,” said Women’s Basketball Head Coach Long. “She will be spear heading our recruiting efforts and assisting me with the overall day-to-day operations. She is a rising star in our game and is going to be great. I am excited to have her here with me in Monticello to start this journey.”
• Allie Banks, joins Lee as assistant coach. Banks comes to the University of Arkansas at Monticello after graduating summa cum laude from Central Baptist College in three years. She is currently enrolled in the Sports Management Graduate Program at the University of Central Arkansas. She brings a ton of youth and knowledge of the game from being a student assistant for both the men’s and women’s side of CBC.
Banks played basketball for Crowley Ridge College after leaving high school, but due to a back injury, she had to stop playing the sport she loves the most. If she could not play, she knew that what she wanted more than anything was to become a coach, giving back her knowledge, and showing other young athletes her love of the game of basketball. So, she decided to come back to the Central Arkansas area.
“It’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to meet someone like Coach Banks. She is one of the hardest workers that I have been around and is going to be a great coach one day,” said Coach Long. “I have known of Coach Banks for four years and her knowledge of the state of Arkansas is going to be vital to our success.
“When looking for assistants you want individuals that are going to compliment you and embrace your vision,” Long said. “I know Coach Lee and Coach Banks will do that well. They both have different experiences that will help me turn this program around and I am excited to see what we are going to be able to accomplish here.”