Esposito promoted to Western Michigan’s defensive coordinator

Published 3:40 pm Monday, January 14, 2019

KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester has announced changes to the Bronco football coaching staff. Lou Esposito has been promoted to the program’s defensive coordinator.

Joining the staff as assistant coaches is James Adams (cornerbacks), Trevor Andrews (linebackers), Mike Bath (running backs), and Keith Gaither (wide receivers). The new assistant coaches bring over 60 years of coaching experience with them to Kalamazoo.

Esposito held the title of Interim Defensive Coordinator for the final two games of the 2018 season and also oversees the Bronco defensive line. His first game leading the defense was in the regular season finale, in which Western Michigan defeated Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois, 28-21. The Broncos limited NIU to just 262 yards of total offense, its best performance in a MAC game this season, and gave up just two defensive touchdowns. As a team, WMU had four sacks, 10 tackles for loss and forced three turnovers. During the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the Broncos recorded three sacks, six tackles for a loss and forced two fumbles.

“I love Lou’s relationship with his players and his defensive scheme,” Lester said. “He brings a lot of energy and the guys play hard for him, which is something we were missing. Six of the last eight quarters were the best defensive quarters we have played in the last two years, without much time to prepare. He is one of the best recruiters in the Mid-American Conference and I know we are going to have an aggressive defense under his leadership. He’s only shown us a glimpse of the changes he plans on making and I know the team is fired up to put the other pieces in place. I am confident in his ability to lead our defense moving forward.”

James Adams was one of five original staff members to start the Charlotte football program and has been the team’s secondary coach since 2011. In 2016 Charlotte led Conference USA with 16 interceptions (14th in NCAA DI) and ranked second in turnover margin (+8). He coached 2016 Freshman All-American, 2017 national leader in forced fumbles and 2018 team leader in tackles, Ben Deluca. Adams was at Wofford as the cornerbacks coach from 2010 to 2011, helping the Terriers win the 2010 Southern Conference championship. Wofford ranked first in the SoCon in total defense and passing defense that season. Adams was a linebacker at Wake Forest and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Demon Deacons.

“James is an unbelievable person with high character that helped start the Charlotte program from scratch,” Lester said. “He has played at the FBS level, coached for seven years at the FBS level, and is an extremely disciplined coach. He will bring a ton of technique and experience to our secondary, and the ability to develop those players, which is an area we know we need to improve on.”

Trevor Andrews has been at the College of William & Mary, working on the defensive side of the ball since 2001. He has been the program’s Defensive Coordinator and linebackers coach since 2014 and was also the Tribe’s associate head coach since 2013. Andrews coached the No. 1 passing defense in the nation in 2016 and mentored the 2014 and 2015 Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year. He has coached five players who have gone onto the NFL and 15 All-CAA defensive player selections. He has also served as the recruiting coordinator, defensive line coach and a defensive assistant during his time at William & Mary. Andrews began his coaching career at Illinois Wesleyan and Randolph Macon College. As a three-year letter winner at defensive back for the University of Dayton, Andrews was a member of three conference championship teams and played on the Flyers’ undefeated 1996 squad (11-0).

“William & Mary has perennially been a top 10 defense in the nation and Trevor blew us away in the interviews,” Lester said. “He has put people in the NFL as a defensive backs coach, a linebacker coach and as a defensive line coach, which is pretty rare. With his coordinator experience and his ability to develop players at different positions, he was highly sought after and we are happy he wanted to be a Bronco. He also has strong Midwest roots, being originally from Northern Indiana, so this will be a coming home for him.”

Mike Bath comes to Western Michigan after five seasons at Wyoming (2014-18) and previously was at Miami University (2004-09, 2011-19) and Ashland University (2009-11). Bath has coached the Cowboy running backs, fullbacks, tight ends and has been a co-special teams coordinator during his time in Laramie. In the four seasons Bath worked with the running backs, Wyoming committed just six fumbles on a total of 1,468 carries. He coached Wyoming’s all-time leading rusher Brian Hill, who finished his career with 4,287 yards and 35 TDs. Hill was a 2017 fifth round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons. Bath’s 2017 kick return unit ranked No. 1 in the FBS and his punt return unit ranked No. 2 in 2017 and No. 5 in 2018. At Miami, Bath was the interim head coach, offensive coordinator as well as the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach for the last seven games of the 2013 season. Bath played collegiately at Miami (1996-2000) where he was a three-year starter at quarterback.

“Mike brings over 15 years of Division I coaching experience and has won a MAC title as a player and a coach, so he knows what it takes to be successful at the FBS level,” Lester said. “His running backs at Wyoming have been fantastic. To add a coach with his experience was a great find for our program.”

Keith Gaither most recently was the pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach at East Carolina (2017-18), where he was responsible for the instruction and teaching of all aspects of the wide receiver position in a multiple pro style offense. In each of his two seasons, the Pirates produced a first-team all-conference wide receiver. Prior to East Carolina, Gaither spent two seasons at Army, directing the Black Knights’ receiving corps during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. His pass catchers stood fourth nationally in yards per reception with a 17.9 average in 2016. Gaither was the wide receivers coach at Ball State from 2011 to 2014 and helped guide the Cardinals to back-to-back bowl appearances following the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Gaither has worked his way up the coaching ranks, also making stops at Elon, Tusculum (Tenn.) College and Greensboro (N.C.) College. Gaither was a defensive back at Elon from 1993-97, where he earned all-conference honors.

“Keith is a technician and the experience he will bring to the wide receiver room will further elevate an already talented group of guys. He is going to bring a ton of fundamentals and enthusiasm to the wide receiver position.”