|Limestone Introduces Bobby James as First Head Football Coach|
"Limestone is privileged to have Bobby James as its first head football coach," said Griffin. "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," said Cerino. "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 University, 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," said James. "It is truly an honor to be afforded the opportunity of being the first head football coach at Limestone College."
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 National Football League's 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 University 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 (Conn.) after serving as the defensive boss at Division I Drake (Iowa) in 2001. Prior to that he spent the 1999 and 2000 seasons at Wilkes University (Pa.). While there he helped lead the defense to a No. 4 national ranking in total defense and top rankings in all major defensive categories in conference.
James got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Bloomsburg University (Pa.), 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 College, where he was named an assistant coach in the secondary and strength & conditioning. While there he was also responsible for a recruiting area that included North and South Carolina. That would be an area with which he would gain great familiarity with during his six years as he found some of the Carolinas best football prospects for Wingate University.
Prior to embarking on his coaching career, James was a four-year starter at Bloomsburg University 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.
Following his playing career, James graduated from Bloomsburg in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. He is married to the former Laurie Bowen and the couple resides in Indian Trail, N.C.
What Others Are Saying
Frank Sheptock, College Football Hall of Fame Member and Wilkes Head Football Coach
"Bobby James will bring passion, enthusiasm and a great plan to the program at Limestone College. Coach James' vision will parallel the success that Limestone College Athletics has embodied. Bobby is an outstanding football coach, but he is a better person. I know he looks forward to becoming part of the Limestone family."
Joe Reich, Wingate Head Football Coach
"Bobby will do a great job at Limestone. He is very organized and will bring great energy and experience to begin the Saints program."
Steve Briggs, Susquehanna Associate Athletic Director and Head Football Coach
"Bobby was one of the most energetic hard working coaches that I have had in my time as a head coach. Very knowledgeable and passionate, he will have great success. Most importantly, the student-athletes will have a tremendous winning experience. You got a good one!"
Dave Patenaude, Coastal Carolina Offensive Coordinator
"I think that the football program will be in great hands. Bobby brings a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm. I think his passion for football and player development will be contagious on campus and in the community. He's a tireless worker and a great motivator. Best of all I believe that the student-athletes who end up in his care are going to be well taken care of and be better in all facets of the game, and in life, than they were before. Bobby understands the true meaning of developing young men and he's someone that can be trusted to put the student-athlete first."