Jamie Bryant, a former defensive coordinator in the Southeastern Conference, is the Penguins' defensive coordinator.
Bryant's first year as defensive coordinator in 2014 saw the unit make vast improvements. The season before Bryant drastically improved the Guins' special teams as the coordinator of that unit.
In his first year as defensive coordinator, the line contributed 27 sacks and had two all-conference performers, highlighted by first-team pick DE Derek Rivers. YSU's main two linebackers combined for 188 tackles, while the secodary had nine interceptions and 33 passes defended.
He employed a scheme that rotated defensive back Eric Thompson and defensive end/linebacker Desmond Williams in certain situations. Thompson had 31 total tackles while Williams had 20 stops including a pair of sacks.
The defense surrendered just 30-or-more points on two occasions, the fewest since 2007. Compared to the season before, the Guins allowed 36 fewer yards per contest while allowing 32 fewer points for the campaign. The biggest improvement was on third-down situations where the Penguins stopped the opposition on 61 percent of their third downs in 2014 compared with just 54 percent in 2013.
Bryant joined the YSU staff in 2013 and was the Penguins' special-teams coordinator and assistant linebackers coach.
In his first year as the special teams coordinator in 2013, the Penguins made tremendous strides in that aspect. YSU punter Nick Liste and kickoff return specialist Andre Stubbs were first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selections. Liste was the first YSU punter to be named to the team since 2006 while Stubbs was the first kick returner to be named first-team all-league in 12 seasons.
Liste averaged a YSU single-season best 44.2 yards per punt in 2013. He led the league in punting average on the strength of a career-best 16 50-yard punts during the campaign. He also excelled as the kickoff specialist with 37 touchbacks on 73 kicks. Stubbs averaged 26.9 yards per kickoff return, which ranked third in school history. First-year placekicker Joey Cejudo made 6-of-8 field goal attempts and 49-of-51 PATs.
As a unit, the kickoff coverage team ranked first in the conference with a net average of 41.7 yards per kick. The Penguins were second in the MVFC in kickoff return average (24.5 yards per return), made the second-most PATs (49) in the league and net punting (37.5 per attempt).
Bryant has 18 years of collegiate coaching experience, including nine as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt.
Prior to coming to Youngstown State, the Fredericktown, Ohio, native spent the two seasons as an assistant coach at Houston on the staffs of Tony Levine and Kevin Sumlin. In 2012, he served as the Cougars' defensive coordinator. As linebackers coach in 2011, Houston had its best season in school history posting a 13-1 record, including a 12-game winning streak during the campaign.
During the 2011 campaign, Houston's top four linebackers each led the team in tackles, with both the Marcus McGraw (141) and Derrick Mathews (106) eclipsing the century mark. Overall that starting collection had 62.5 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks and 10 interceptions.
Bryant served as the secondary coach during his entire tenure on the Vanderbilt coaching staff from 2002-10. He spent one year coordinating special teams and was the defensive coordinator during his final two seasons. He helped lead Vandy to its first postseason appearance in 26 years when the Commodores participated in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. VU defeated Boston College 17-16 with a late field goal to earn its first Bowl victory in 53 years.
He tutored Vanderbilt's first-ever All-American defensive back in D.J. Moore in 2008. He also produced All-SEC defensive backs in three consecutive years -- Moore in 2008, Myron Lewis in 2009 and Casey Hayward in 2010. Hayward led the SEC in passes defended and ranked second in interceptions. Moore and Lewis were also NFL draftees, with Moore selected in the fourth round in 2009 and Lewis in the third round a year later.
Bryant was a defensive graduate assistant at North Carolina for the 2001 season, his first with a BCS program. That year, an aggressive defense helped the Tar Heels win seven of their final nine regular-season games, including impressive routs of ACC foes Florida State and Clemson, before defeating Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
In 2000, he spent a season at the FCS level serving as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Saint Francis (Pa.).
Bryant entered the collegiate coaching ranks in 1997 as outside linebackers coach at Clarion. He spent three seasons with the Golden Eagles and his duties evolved to secondary coach and special teams coordinator for his final two seasons.
Before embarking on his 17-year college career, he coached for five seasons at three separate high schools in Ohio. He spent three seasons as the head coach at East Clinton High School and served as an assistant coach at Anderson and Hayes High School's for a single campaign.
A three-year letterwinner at Ohio Wesleyan, he earned a degree in Economics Management in 1993.
Bryant and his wife, Elisa, are the parents of three sons, Luke, Jake and Josh.