|Brian Jenkins Profile|
Bethune-Cookman head football coach Brian Jenkins is regarded as one of the game’s brightest young coaches, not to mention one of the hottest and most talented coaches on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. At just 42, he already has been an assistant coach at collegiate football’s top level. He is known for his high football IQ, as well as for being a master special teams play caller, a vibrant leader and superb recruiter.
Jenkins was announced as the school’s 16th head coach on December 21, 2009, taking over a proud program, and following in the footsteps of such legendary Wildcats coaches like Rudolph “Bunky” Matthews, Jack “Cy” McClairen and Wesley Moore. He accepted the head coaching position in replacing Alvin B. Wyatt, Sr., who spent 13 seasons at the helm in Daytona Beach.
His 3-year record at B-CU is 27-8 (.771). Only B-CU Hall of Famer Wesley Moore (with 27 wins) had as many victories in his first three years as a Wildcat head coach. In fact, his record from 2010-12 is the best of any Division I coach in the state of Florida in that span. Of all the hires in the 2010 FCS class, Jenkins ranks first in winning percentage and third for wins amongst that class of coaching hires Only Willie Fritz (Sam Houston) and Jeff Monken (Georgia Southern) have claimed more wins in the last three seasons. Among Jenkins’ signature B-CU wins were at MEAC champion Norfolk State in 2011 and back-to-back wins against rival Florida A&M in 2011 and ’12, respectively. He also collected a key road win at South Carolina State in 2012. Two of Jenkins’ losses in his career have come to BCS opponent Miami, and another two in the FCS playoffs.
In each of Jenkins' years with B-CU, the Wildcats have ranked among the national FCS leaders for scoring offense, rushing offense, total yardage, total defense and turnover margin, making his teams a formidable force not only in the MEAC, but also in the nation.
Jenkins' hiring set the stage for both one of the most memorable runs in Wildcat history as well as a bright future for the storied program, as the culture has changed to fit the new Wildcat attack. Program enthusiasm is reaching a fever pitch.
In 2012, he led Bethune-Cookman to its second Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) title in his three years with the Maroon and Gold, as well as the second time securing an automatic bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs. The Wildcats would host their opening game for the third time in as many trips to the postseason, welcoming Coastal Carolina to Municipal Stadium on Thanksgiving weekend. In ending the league season with a perfect 8-0 record, Jenkins helped the Cats to their first undefeated MEAC season since 1984. Not only was it the first 8-0 mark in school history within the MEAC, but it was also a school record for conference wins in a single season. For these reasons and more, Jenkins walked away with his second MEAC Coach of the Year award, in addition to claiming FCS Region Two Coach of the Year honors. He concluded the year being tabbed HBCU Huddle/Sporting News Coach of the Year, giving him three postseason awards for the first time in his career. Jenkins helped Bethune-Cookman finish the year with a No. 22 Sports Network ranking (its highest finish since 2010).
The Wildcats extended their MEAC winning streak to 13 consecutive games dating back to the 2011 season, ending the regular season with seven consecutive victories. In the process, Jenkins ran his conference record to 21-3 (.875), earning him the highest winning percentage among Division I head coaches in the state of Florida in his their first three years guiding a program.
In 2011, Jenkins and his staff continued implementing their system on the Maroon and Gold, utilizing a mixture of running and passing out of a designed spread attack. The Cats started the season just 2-3, before then rolling off six consecutive wins to end the season – all in the MEAC. The team ended the year 8-3 overall (6-2 MEAC) and defeated nationally ranked Norfolk State on the road in one of four ESPN televised contests.
The Wildcats once again outscored their opponents on the year, this time by almost 14 points per game (+13.7). They also rushed for just under 3,000 yards (2.852), while passing for almost 2,000 yards (1,936). Also, the Cats defense continued to excel by grabbing 30 takeaways, including 16 interceptions. The defense was also able to register 30 sacks and 91 tackles for loss.
For the second straight year under Jenkins, the Wildcats had a player earn top conference player honor, as defensive end Ryan Davis would receive honors as the MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. Davis, who was seventh in the nation in tackles for loss (1.95/g) and 10th in sacks (1.09/g), later signed as an undrafted free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He joins four other B-CU players Jenkins has mentored into the ranks of the National Football League (2) and Canadian Football League (2). Davis would also go on to be named as the FCS National Defensive Player of the Year by CFPA (College Football Performance Awards). He also claimed AP FCS All-America honors, and was tabbed to the Phil Steele All-America Team, as well as The Sports Network All-America Team.
In addition, Jean Fanor went on to sign a contract with the Arena Football League’s after originally signing a free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.
The All-MEAC Team was once again riddled with Wildcats as Isidore Jackson, Terrance Hackney, Natiel Curry, Jarkevis Fields, Ryan Lewis, Reggie Sandilands and Jean Fanor all earned a spot on the all-conference first and second teams.
Bethune-Cookman’s 2010 win at South Carolina State made him the first Wildcat head coach to win his first game against the Bulldogs and just the second coach to win his first road game against the perennial MEAC power in Orangeburg, S.C. Bethune-Cookman’s 70-10 victory over Edward in 2010 was the largest season-opening win in school history, surpassing the previous high (58-0 vs. Tampa in 1929), and becoming the second-highest home margin of victory in history. He was the 2010 MEAC Coach of the Year, SBN Black College Coach of the Year, AFCA Region Two Coach of the Year, and BoxToRow.com/BASN HBCU Coach of the Year. In addition, the Wildcats claimed their first HBCU National Championship after winning the first 10 games of the year, claiming a share of the MEAC title and appearing in the FCS postseason for the first time since 2003. Jenkins’ offense produced a 2,000-yard passer, a pair of 500-yard receivers and another paid of 500-yard rushers. Bethune-Cookman amassed 5,107 yards of offense and scored 457 points – both single season school records. The Wildcats posted 10 touchdowns on three separate occasions throughout the year, finishing the year with the highest national rank since 2003 (No. 15 Sports Network poll), ending with a No. 15 Sports Network/FCS Coaches Poll spot.
Quarterback Matt Johnson helped the B-CU scoring offense to second place mark in the nation averaging 38.2 points per game, as well as the Wildcats finishing 13th nationally in rushing offense (212.8 yards per game), 12th in total offense (425.6 yards per game), fourth in passing efficiency (155.69) and leading the FCS ranks in turnover margin (+2.25) throughout the campaign. Johnson would finish second nationally in individual passing (2,053 yards) on his way to collecting MEAC Offensive Player of the Year accolades. Only six other quarterbacks in B-CU history would claim more passing yards in a single season, including names such as J.D. Hall and Bernard Hawk. Under the guise of Jenkins, Matt Johnson would also go on to claim the Alonzo S. “Jake” Gaither Award – the HBCU equivalency of the Heisman Trophy. He was also named HBCU National Player of the Year by the Heritage Sports Radio Network (HSRN).
A host of other Wildcats would grab postseason accolades following Jenkins inaugural season. Eight players were named to the All-MEAC Team (Natiel Curry, Johnson, Ryan Davis, Arkee Smith, Michael Williams, JeVaughn Reams, Alex Monroe and Reggie Sandilands). Four would go on to claim HBCU All-America honors (Williams, Curry, Davis and Lewis), while Curry would also collect Third Team FCS All-America accolades. Curry and Williams would conclude the season’s individual awards with SBN Black College All-America decorations.
While devoting time to former players, fans and attracting talented future Wildcats, Jenkins’ No. 1 professional priority has been, and always will be, the current players in his program. Players have responded to his straight-forward message and process: Family first in all things; Work hard, do the right thing and success will follow.
That hard work and discipline does not end on the field. Jenkins’ players have excelled in the classroom as well since he took over the program. Overall, more than 50 percent of the Wildcats in Jenkins’ program have earned degrees during his span in Daytona Beach.
Coming to B-CU as a former assistant coach at Rutgers, Jenkins heads a Wildcat football program steeped in HBCU tradition of 88 seasons of collegiate football, a pillar which he has never lost sight of.
"It is an honor to be coaching at such a prestigious university as Bethune-Cookman University," Jenkins said.
Jenkins was wide receivers coach on Greg Schiano's Scarlet Knights' team that was the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl champions with a 45-24 win over UCF the weekend before he was selected at B-CU.
Prior to Rutgers, Jenkins served as running backs coach and special teams coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette for seven seasons (2002-2008). During the 2005-2007 seasons, the Cajuns rushed for 8,080 yards and 77 touchdowns.
In 2005, Louisiana-Lafayette rushed for a school-record 2,797 yards and 34 touchdowns. The Cajuns followed with 2,264 yards and 20 scores in 2006. In 2008, the Cajuns once again broke the school record, running for 3,019 yards to become the first team in Sun Belt Conference history to rush for over 3,000 yards in a season.
Four-time All-Sun Belt running back Tyrell Fenroy was the biggest piece to the Cajuns ground game, amassing over 4,500 career rushing yards via four 1,000-yard seasons under Jenkins' tutelage. He was the 16th player in NCAA history to have three 1,000-yard seasons as a junior and was the 7th player in NCAA history to post four 1,000-yard seasons.
In 2005, Fenroy became the first running back in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season - doing so as a true freshman. A more impressive statistic is that the Cajuns' running backs lost only one fumble the entire 2007 season.
As the special team's coordinator, Jenkins helped the Cajuns in nearly all facets. In 2007, the Cajuns kickoff coverage defense ranked 20th in the nation, while the punt return defense had the identical ranking in 2004. In 2005, the Cajuns' punt return unit ranked 27th nationally.
Jenkins joined UL from the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe. While in Germany, Jenkins' special teams set several league and team records.
Prior to his stint in NFL Europe, Jenkins was the running backs coach at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Before joining BGSU, Jenkins spent five seasons with Eastern Illinois University. From 1995-98, he served as running backs coach and was named the receivers coach in 1999. While at EIU, the Panther offense was one of the top rushing offenses in the nation, with a 1,000-yard rusher each season. Jenkins was the first running backs coach in school history to have three rushers rush for over 100 yards each in the same game.
In 1994, he was the receivers coach at Western Kentucky University. While at WKU, Jenkins coached Joey Stockton, WKU's all-time leader in receptions and all-purpose yards.
Jenkins played college football as both a wide receiver and running back at the University of Cincinnati. He was among the all-time leaders in kickoff return yards for a season (505) and was the all-time Bearcats' career leader in kickoff returns (62) and kickoff return yards (1,506) until the records were surpassed in 2009. He graduated in 1993 with an Associate's Degree in Education and Bachelor's Degree in Social Work. After college, Jenkins spent six months running his own social work business.
Jenkins prepped at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and excelled in a number of sports with the Panthers, including football.
The past 18 years in coaching has been preparing the hard-charging Jenkins for this opportunity with the Wildcats. The adjustments to being the top man have been many.
"It's an adjustment, I'm not going to say it's not," Jenkins says. "You have to be even more careful now, because everything falls on you. When you're the guy who has to call the shots, you have to be detailed in thought, but you also have to trust your decisions. As a head coach, you don't know everything. That's the misconception that everybody makes, that a head coach knows everything, and you don't know everything. No matter what approaches you, you have to stay in the moment and work your way through it. You stay focused on the task and the goal at hand."
Jenkins and his wife Octavia have a daughter, Briana, and a son, Brian Jr.