JONESBORO, Ar - Arkansas State Head Football Coach Steve Roberts announced Sunday that Corey Batoon, a veteran coach with 18 years of experience at the collegiate level, has been hired as an assistant football coach for the Red Wolves.
Batoon will coach safeties at Arkansas State after spending the last 11 seasons as the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Northern Arizona University. He also spent time as the special teams coordinator during his time with the Lumberjacks. Batoon joined the ASU team over the weekend and will begin his on-field coaching duties when the Red Wolves resume their spring camp Monday.
"We're very excited about the hiring of coach Batoon to coach safeties and nickels," said Roberts. "He joins us with a wealth of experience and success as a defensive coordinator. He's a tremendous person and has great success in recruiting. Obviously, with us being in the middle of spring football, we look forward to getting him on the field as we go back to work."
"I am very excited to join Coach Roberts' staff," said Batoon. "He has given me a tremendous opportunity to work with some outstanding coaches and players. They have built a very strong foundation of success both on the field and in the community. I look forward to being a part of a very bright future here at Arkansas State."
Batoon developed the Lumberjacks into one of the top defensive units in the Big Sky Conference while earning NAU a reputation nationally for its defensive play. He tutored 42 student-athletes to all-conference honors 61 times and developed four NFL players during his tenure. His defensive unit ranked among the top two units in the conference and top 20 in the country against the run three times as well.
In his final season in Flagstaff, Batoon's defense led the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing yards allowed at 59.8 yards per game while leading the nation in sacks. NAU's rushing yards allowed per game and total yards allowed both set Big Sky Conference single-season records.
One of Batoon's top prodigies was NFL product K.J Gerard, who he coached to back-to-back All-America seasons in 2007 and 2008. Gerard set the school record for interceptions with 19, the fifth-best total in Big Sky history, and finished his career ranked tied for first in interceptions among active career leaders in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and Division I overall with 19.
In 2006, linebacker Chris Hunsaker led the nation in tackles for loss, earning All-America third-team honors from three different media outlets. Gerard also led the Big Sky in interceptions and ranked second on the team with 73 tackles in 2005, earning All-Big Sky second team honors. Safety Jeff Singleton was third on the team in tackles with 70, garnering ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District honors.
Batoon played a major role in the success of the NAU program over the last 11 seasons highlighted by an NCAA I-AA quarterfinal appearance and Big Sky Conference title in 2003. The Lumberjack defense tied for the national lead in 2003 with Alabama A&M in interceptions with 24 recorded. Twelve different players recorded at least one pick, helping the team rank fifth nationally with 36 turnovers overall. NAU also ranked first in the conference in turnover margin (17th nationally), second against the run (11th nationally) and second in pass efficiency defense.
Batoon tutored six student-athletes to All-Big Sky honors in 2002, including first-team pick Keith O'Neil, who played last season with the Indianapolis Colts, and Mike Sands at linebacker.
NAU also ranked among the top defensive units in the Big Sky in 2001, highlighted by its effectiveness against the run in allowing just 107.8 rushing yards per game while giving up a conference-low 12 rushing touchdowns. Overall, the Lumberjacks ranked third in total defense, while finishing first in the Big Sky and 15th in the nation against the run. NAU also ranked 11th nationally in fumbles gained (16) and 20th in turnovers (29).
In 2000, the Lumberjacks ranked fourth in the conference in total defense and produced All-Big Sky selections Kawika Batoon (DB), Malachi Keddington (DE) and Raymond Perryman (DB), who was a fifth-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the NFL Draft.
In 1999, Batoon's secondary intercepted 16 passes and deflected 32 balls, ranking as the conference's No. 2-rated pass efficiency defense squad. In 1998, NAU picked off 10 passes and deflected 37 on the way to the No. 2-rated pass and overall defense in the conference. He helped develop safety Perryman, just a junior in 1999, and enabled Cleve Dansby to post his best season as the free safety and earn an honorable mention All-Big Sky selection.
Batoon came to NAU after a year at Montana working with the defensive line. Prior to that, he was special teams coordinator and secondary coach at Central Missouri State after two years at Saint Mary's (Calif.) and a three-year stint at Pierce Junior College in Los Angeles.
Batoon played at San Diego City Junior College and later at Long Beach State (1988-89). He graduated from LBSU with a degree in political science in 1991, later earning a master's in health, physical education and recreation from Saint Mary's in 1996.