HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Three new members of the Southern Miss staff were announced on Wednesday including two assistant football coaches and a new assistant athletic director for football operations.
Coach Todd Monken finalized his coaching staff with the addition of former Golden Eagle great and assistant coach Lytrel Pollard as the team's cornerbacks coach and Derrick LeBlanc to lead the defensive line for the "Nasty Bunch."
Nolan Jones joins the staff with the title of Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations. Jones comes to Hattiesburg from Lexington, Ky., where he served in the same capacity for the University of Kentucky for the previous two seasons.
Derrick LeBlanc - Defensive Line
Derrick LeBlanc joins the Southern Miss staff after spending one year coaching the defensive line at the University of Wyoming for coach Dave Christensen.
Though his tenure in the north was brief, LeBlanc made a lasting impact on the Cowboy program, coaching defensive tackle Mike Purcell to All-Mountain West Conference first team honors. Purcell was third on the team in tackles, a tough mark to achieve for an interior lineman, with 83 while recording eight tackles for loss. Purcell was also one of two Wyoming seniors selected to play in a postseason collegiate all-star game.
LeBlanc went to Wyoming from LSU, where he was an assistant strength and conditioning coordinator from 2008-11. Prior to working in the LSU Athletics Department, LeBlanc was the defensive line coach at Missouri State for two seasons in 2006 and `07.
No stranger to the southeast, LeBlanc was a four-year football letterman at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., from 1992-96. He played both defensive and offensive line during his playing career, and earned Southland Conference All-Academic honors as both a junior and senior.
He began his coaching career in 1997 at Breaux Bridge High School in Breaux Bridge, La., where he was the offensive and defensive line coach for three seasons from 1997-99.
LeBlanc broke into the college ranks in 2000 when he accepted a graduate assistant position at LSU. There he assisted then-defensive line coach Pete Jenkins in coaching the defensive line, as well as assisting the strength and conditioning staff.
After the 2000 season at LSU, LeBlanc was offered his first full-time college coaching position at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark. He coached the defensive line and was the school's strength and conditioning coordinator for four seasons from 2001-04.
LeBlanc moved on to Arkansas Tech in Russellville, Ark., for the 2005 season, coaching the defensive line and serving as the team's academic coordinator.
He became the defensive line coach at Missouri State in Springfield, Mo., in 2006 and coached there for the 2006 and 2007 seasons under head coach Terry Allen.
In addition to serving as an assistant strength and conditioning coordinator for LSU football, LeBlanc assisted with on-campus recruiting. In his four years with the Tigers, the team captured the 2008 Chick-Fil-A Bowl Championship over Georgia Tech, 38-3; faced Penn State in the Capital One Bowl following the 2009 season, losing 19-17; defeated Texas A&M, 41-24, for the Cotton Bowl Championship following the 2010 season; and in 2011 captured the SEC Championship and earned a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, before falling to Alabama.
LeBlanc earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Northwestern State in 1997, and completed his master's degree in sports administration at LSU in 2002.
He and his wife, Niema, have two sons, Dayton and Derrick, and one daughter, Kennedy.
Lytrell Pollard - Cornerbacks
Former Golden Eagle defensive back Lytrel Pollard returns to Southern Miss for his second stint as an assistant coach following a successful run at C-USA member schools.
Pollard returns to Southern Miss after a one-year stint at Marshall where he served as the team's corner backs coach. During his stay in Huntingdon, Pollard's top three defensive backs combined for 16 pass breakups, four interceptions and 111 tackles.
Prior to Marshall, Pollard served as UT Martin's defensive coordinator in 2011, where his unit finished second in the Ohio Valley Conference, including a second-best ranking in third down defense. His linebacker, Ben Johnson, finished fourth in the OVC in total tackles, while defensive end DJ Roberts finished second in the league in tackles for losses.
Prior to his time at UT Martin, Pollard spent one year at Mississippi College where he served as the Choctaws defensive coordinator for the 2010 season.
Before Mississippi College, Pollard was on the University of Memphis coaching staff for two seasons. He was part of the defensive staff that helped Memphis improve from 100th to 57th nationally in total defense in just one season.
Pollard spent nine seasons at Southern Miss on head coach Jeff Bower's staff before making the move to Conference USA rival Memphis. Pollard coached defensive backs, linebackers and was the special teams coordinator for the Black and Gold during this tenure.
In 2007, Pollard guided the Southern Miss defensive backs who logged 17 interceptions and were led by C-USA standout Brandon Sumrall. Sumrall totaled six picks for 101 yards and made one return for a touchdown that season, and was named to the All C-USA first team. He also tied for 18th nationally in interceptions and tallied eight pass breakups. In addition, defensive backs C.J. Bailey and Chico Hunter were named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team.
Consistent defensive leaders in C-USA, Southern Miss ranked second in total defense and pass defense while leading the league in red zone defense. Pollard also guided the special teams unit, which was highlighted by punter Britt Barefoot, who ranked second in C-USA and 25th nationally in punting. The Golden Eagles ranked second in the league in net punting and were also second in kickoff coverage.
Pollard coached the 2005-C-USA Defensive Player of the Year and All-American Kevis Coley, who posted 150 tackles, the sixth best performance in Southern Miss history which still stands today. Coley's total tackles ranked No. 8 nationally, while his solos (81) were No. 7 nationally.
In 2004, Pollard coached outside linebacker Michael Boley, who left his mark as one of the greatest linebackers to ever play at Southern Miss. He was a two-time All-American, including consensus honors in 2004, the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and a three-time All-C-USA selection. He was tabbed a national semifinalist for the Butkus, Bednarik and Lott Awards, while winning the Conerly Trophy, given since 1996 to Mississippi's best college football player. He earned C-USA Defensive Player of the Week honors four times and national player of the week honors by the Football Writers Association of America and the Walter Camp Foundation. He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2005.
A native of Bay Springs, Miss., Pollard played at Stringer High School and completed an outstanding Southern Miss playing career in 1997 by helping lead the team to a 9-3 record, a C-USA championship and a Liberty Bowl title. He led the team in tackles with 114, a total that was good for fifth place in the conference. He was in double figures in tackles eight times in 11 games as a senior and had a season-best 13 stops in the season opener at Florida.
Pollard earned his undergraduate degree from Southern Miss in coaching and sport administration in the spring of 1998 and his master's degree in the fall of 1999. Pollard and his wife, Kristina, have two sons, Tylor and Klabron.
Nolan Jones - Director of Football Operations
Nolan Jones joins coach Todd Monken's staff as an Assistant Athletic Director where he will oversee football operations after a two-year stint at the University of Kentucky in the same capacity.
At Southern Miss, Jones will assist the football staff with both internal and external operations on a daily basis. Working intricately with Monken, Jones and his team will build the backbone of the operating structure of the program.
In Lexington, Jones served as director of football operations at UK and assisted head coach Joker Phillips in all daily football operations and administrative duties. For his efforts, Jones was a one of three finalists for the 2012 FootballScoop Director of Football Operations of the Year award. Considered one of the best in the business by his peers, Jones earned the nomination based on the input from coaches, athletic directors and athletic department personnel across the country.
Prior to UK, Jones worked five years as the director of football operations at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He began at Northwestern in the spring of 2005 as its assistant director of football operations before being promoted to director of football operations post in 2006. During his time at Northwestern, the Wildcats appeared in four bowl games. Prior to working at NU, Jones served as the director of football operations at Princeton (2004-05) and Eastern Kentucky (2003). He jump started his career path at Kentucky in 2002 serving as a football operations assistant.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Jones was a first-team All-Ohio placekicker at Northridge High School. He began his collegiate career at Miami (Ohio). An injury, however, ended his kicking career before his freshman year. Jones then transferred to Eastern Kentucky, where he was an assistant coach in 2000-01 at Madison Central High in Richmond, Ky. He earned his bachelor's degree in sports management and a master's degree in sports administration from EKU.
Jones currently serves on the American Football Coaches Association national committee for directors of football operations.
He and his wife, Crystal, have two sons, Brycen and Parker.