A member of one of the most respected coaching families in the nation, Ron Stoops Jr., is in his 10th season as an assistant coach for the Penguins.
Under Head Coach Bo Pelini, Stoops is YSU's special teams coordinator and works with the linebackers. Stoops has been with the program since 2010.
Stoops took over the special teams units in 2016 and the big plays produced by that group were key reasons YSU reached the FCS National Championship Game.
Placekicker Zak Kennedy tied his school record with 19 field goals made and set the school mark with 29 attempts in 2016. YSU set the school mark with 20 field goals as Connor McFadden added his first career field goal against Missouri State.
Punter Mark Schuler averaged 42.5 yards per punt, the second best average in school history. He was a second-team All-MVFC recipient and had 16 punts of 50 yards or more while placing 28 of 64 inside the opponents 20-yard line. The average was seven yards more than the previous season.
Punt returner Darien Townsend had 297 yards on 25 returns for an average of 11.9. His 71-yard punt return against Indiana State in the fourth quarter helped the Guins come from behind to win. Jody Webb averaged 22.7 yards per return on 23 kickoffs. YSU kickoff specialists had 26 touchbacks on the year as well.
In 2017, YSU's kickers followed up their strong campaigns while the Penguins' kickoff coverage unit was among the best in the nation.
Kennedy made all 43 of his point-after kicks on the year and eight field goals. It was the first time since 2009 that the Penguins made all of their PATs during a year. Schuler, just a sophomore, averaged 41.6 yards per punt placing 14 inside the opposition's 20-yard line. YSU was eighth in the FCS in Kickoff Return defense allowing just 16.76 yards per return. During the year YSU used a pair of freshman as kickoff and punt returners.
In 2018, veteran long snapper Steven Wethli finally received attention and was named first-team All-MVFC. In his four-year career, Wethli snapped on 472 punt and place-kicking attetmpts. Wehtli was an honorable-mention all-conference selection in 2017.
The campaign brought to the end of the careers of Kennedy and Schuler. Kennedy ended his YSU career ranked second in points by a kicker and field goals made. For his career, Kennedy made 54-of-80 field-goal attempts and 140-of-143 extra-point tries for a total of 302 points. Only Jeff Wilkins made more field goals and scored more points as a kicker in school history than Kennedy. Schuler wrapped up an impressive three-year career by averaging 40.9 yards per punt on 160 attempts. Of Schuler's 55 punts in 2018, 22 were placed inside the opposition's 20-yard line and he had six kicks of 50-or-longer. He finished his career tied for second in punting average.
In 2015 he served as co-defensive coordinator and the Guins showed staggering improvement on the defensive side of the ball from previous campaigns.
YSU allowed just 288.7 yards of total offense per game the lowest total by the program since 2002. The Penguin defense allowed just 116.7 yards passing per contest, the lowest total since 1976 (116.1). The 41.1 completion percentage by the opposition was the lowest by an opponent since 1980 (40.6). The 83 pass completions allowed were the fewest since 1976 (79). The 145 first downs allowed were the fewest since 1975 (129).
In the FCS, the Penguins finished first in fewest passing yards allowed, tied for first in fewest first downs allowed, were fifth in pass-efficiency defense, seventh in total defense and ninth in third-down conversion defense.
Linebacker Dubem Nwadiogbu had a breakout season in 2014 under Stoops. Nwadiogbu had a team-high 104 tackles and was the first Penguin since 2006 to register more than 100 stops in a season. For his efforts, he was an honorable-mention All-MVFC selection. First-year starter Jaylin Kelly played a key role as the MIKE linebacker starting all 12 games. Kelly had 84 tackles for the year. Kelly and Nwadiogbu combined for 14.5 TFLs and three sacks on the year.
The defense made strides throughout the season allowing 23.5 points for the year, the lowest per game total since 2009. The linebackers played a key role as the Guins finished with 29 sacks the most for the program since 2002.
In 2013, YSU posted an 8-4 overall mark and was 5-3 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Penguins started the campaign with an 8-1 mark, which included the first 5-0 start to conference play in school history. Dating back to November 2012, the Penguins won a school-record eight straight conference games.
Teven Williams earned second-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference recognition. Williams had a career-high 81 total tackles, including 46 solo stops. Senior Ali Cheaib had the best year of his career registering 56 tackles for the year.
The Penguins showed steady improvement on the defensive side of the football throughout the 2012 season. As a unit, YSU allowed just 95.5 yards rushing per game, the fourth-lowest total in school history. The Guins ranked sixth at the FCS level in fewest rushing yards allowed per contest. The Penguins allowed just 23 points in the last three games, the lowest total in a three-game stretch since 2003.
The nickel position played a huge role for the unit. Stoops worked with Parnell Taylor, Jamarious Boatwright and Deionte Williams throughout the season in the role. Those three players combined for 41 tackles.
He also coached team-captain Dom Rich and Travis Williams. Williams was second on the squad in tackles with 61 while Rich had a solid campaign in his first year as a starter.
YSU posted a 7-4 overall mark in 2012 highlighted by a 31-17 win at Pittsburgh, the program's first-ever win over a Power Five opponent.
In 2011, he worked with two freshmen to help shore up the YSU defense. The Penguins improved in every statistical category from 2010 and Stoops' work with the linebackers was a big part of the turnaround. The Penguins went 6-5 in the 2011 season, including a win over top-ranked North Dakota State in November. At the three linebacker positions, YSU started three freshmen most of the season. Of 33 possible starts, 29 were by freshman and one was by a sophomore during the year.
In 2010, Stoops worked with the YSU safeties. After opening the year with a veteran unit, Stoops coached a true freshman and a sophomore for the majority of campaign. Donald D'Alesio had a strong debut season with 69 tackles, the second most on the squad. Will Shaw had 48 tackles and returned an interception 87 yards versus league champ UNI.
Stoops spent nine years as the defensive coordinator and running backs coach for Cardinal Mooney High School for P.J. Fecko before joining the YSU staff. The Cardinals amassed an impressive 90-27 record during his tenure, winning the Division III State Championship in 2009 and Division IV state crowns in 2004 and 2006. Mooney also advanced to the title games in 2005 and 2007. Most recently in 2009, the Cardinals were 15-0 and defeated Columbus St. Francis DeSales 35-7 in the title game.
While at Mooney, Stoops coached numerous players who went on to earn Division I football scholarships.
Prior to joining the Mooney staff, he spent 13 seasons (1987-99) as an assistant at Boardman High School. During his first season Boardman advanced to the Division I State Championship Game while in 1995, the Spartans reached the state semifinals.
He coached for six years at Canton Central Catholic (1981-86) and spent his first year at Ursuline (1980) upon his graduation from YSU.
While an undergraduate at Youngstown State, he coached for his uncle, Bob, at Youngstown South High School as an assistant in 1978 and 1979.
Stoops graduated from YSU in 1980 bachelor's degree in education and earned his master's degree from Dayton. He taught Social Studies at Boardman while coaching at Mooney.
He and his wife, Bonnie, have four children, Melanie, Ron, Joey and John. He is the oldest brother Kentucky Head Coach Mark Stoops and former collegiate head coach Bob Stoops (Oklahoma) and Mike Stoops (Arizona).