Best and Calhoun Join Owls Coaching Staff

Feb. 15, 2018

by Chuck Pool ( -

Rice head football coach Mike Bloomgren formally announced on Thursday the addition of a pair of coaches to his staff.

Bill Best will take over as the tight ends coach while Cedric Calhoun will take the reins of the Owls defensive front wall.

“These are two great additions to our staff who will make an immediate impact on their position groups,” Bloomgren said. “They bring a wealth of experience and a track record of success to our staff.”

Best is no stranger to the Gulf Coast area, having spent the last four seasons as the Lumberjacks offensive line coach and run game coordinator.

“Bill is a great fit for our staff and a great teacher of the game,” Bloomgren said. “He has a feel for where we want to take this team offensively and how our tight ends will factor into our schemes.”

Under Best's guidance, SFA's offense averaged over 435 yards per game the last two years, and top 200 yards per game on the ground in 2017 (204.6) One of the areas hardest hit by injuries during the 2016 campaign, a number of linemen emerged at a number of positions, led by junior Josh Keith being named a second team All-SLC selection following the 2016 season.

In charge of one of the most experienced offensive lines in the nation in 2015, Best’s contingent came up big in crucial situations for the Lumberjacks. Senior Byron Williams ended the season as a second team All-Southland Conference selection following his preseason third team All-America honors by STATS FCS.

Following the 2015 campaign, Terran Vaughn signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Oakland and spent time on the Bills practice squad in 2016s while Williams earned an training camp invite from Best has seen 11 of his former players go on to sign professional contracts following their collegiate days.



Calhoun joins the staff at Rice after spending the last four seasons as a member of Derek Mason's staff at Vanderbilt, the last two in defensive quality control.

“Cedric has a great passion for coaching and is a great teacher and role model for the players who will be in his meeting room,” Bloomgren said. “He is a great addition to our staff and I know our defensive line is going to love playing for him.”

Calhoun returned to collegiate athletics with the Commodores in 2014 after a year assisting children with autism at the Piedmont School of Atlanta.

He served as FIU’s defensive line coach under Mario Cristobal at FIU from 2010-12, helping the Panthers to the 2010 Sun Belt Conference title and to their first two postseason appearances in school history, the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and 2011 Beef `O' Brady's Bowl.

Prior to joining FIU, Calhoun coached four seasons at Dartmouth, working with the Big Green defensive line in 2006 and linebackers from 2007-09. From 2002-05, Calhoun served as defensive line coach at Alabama A&M. He helped fashion a unit that led the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in total defense and sacks for four straight seasons. Eight of his players won All-SWAC honors, contributing to a 32-15 overall record.

During his time at Alabama A&M, Calhoun developed defensive end Robert Mathis into the 2002 SWAC Defensive the Player of the Year before embarking on a standout NFL career. In 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Mathis earned the 2013 AFC Defensive Player of the Year (while leading the league in sacks), was twice named All-Pro and was also named to the Pro Bowl six times.

He also coached FIU defensive end Tourek Williams,who selected in the sixth round of the 2013 draft by the San Diego Chargers and played a total of 45 games in his four-year career.

Best and Calhoun will have their first chance to coach their new position groups when the Owls open their 2018 Spring Football drills on March 5.



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