Carroll McCray, the assistant head coach at Mercer University under Coach Bobby Lamb, and the former offensive line coach at Furman University, has been named the new head football coach at North Greenville University it was announced by Director of Athletics Jan McDonald at a press conference Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 2:00 p.m.
McCray is the ninth coach in NGU history, and he will inherit a Crusader team that went 11-3 last season and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division II national championships, defeated every team in the South Atlantic Conference, and set numerous team records.
Coach McCray spent the 2011 season at NCAA Division I Mercer, but was at Furman University from 2004-2010 with Coach Lamb. He comes to NGU with a wealth of Division I experience and a background steeped in his coaching and playing experiences on the offensive line. Prior to coming to Greenville to coach at Furman, he was the head coach at Austin Peay University (Clarksville, Tenn.) from 2003-2006.
McCray’s coaching portfolio also includes stints at Mississippi State University as offensive line coach (2001-2002), seven seasons at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama (1994-2000) also as the offensive line coach, and he was an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina for five years (1989-1993), working with the Gamecocks’ offensive line, tight ends, H backs and special teams.
Coach McCray began his collegiate coaching career at Appalachian State University as a graduate assistant in 1984, where he worked with the tight ends and tackles before moving to coach the inside linebackers from 1986-88.
McCray earned a Master’s degree in social science from Appalachian State in 1985, and his Bachelor’s degree in social science in 1983 from Gardner-Webb.
A native of Monroe, North Carolina, where he attended Parkwood High School, McCray attended Gardner-Webb University where he earned three letters as an offensive lineman.
“We were certainly blessed with a deep selection of quality coaches to choose from in our search for a new coach,” NGU Director of Athletics Jan McDonald said. “That is a tribute to the success our players had the last two years and for the precedent our previous coaches set here at North Greenville. Coach McCray brings a wide range of experience to our program, including a large amount of major Division I experience. He brings a strong coaching, leadership and spiritual background to our program, and we are excited to have him become part of our North Greenville family.”
“It was very easy to see the excitement that surrounds the North Greenville football program right now, and I am thrilled to join a university where there is a positive read on athletics within a spiritual and educational environment,” McCray said. “I welcome the opportunity to come alongside President Epting and Jan McDonald and help the young men on the team continue to take steps forward in all areas of their lives.”
“The vision of this university and how it stands both with the Lord and athletics gives you a very warm feeling as a coach,” he added. “It’s great to know that there are a bunch of people pulling in the same direction because of the leadership that’s here.”
“It’s nice to come to a program that was at the top of the game last year,” McCray noted, recognizing NGU’s achievements in 2011. “We’re here to win football games because that’s what coaching is all about. But, our goal for every young man on our team will be for each one of them to improve spiritually, physically, emotionally, and socially.”
“We moved to the Upstate five years ago to be at Furman, and we really fell in love with this area,” he said. “Things have come full circle as we’ve come back to be at North Greenville, and this is exactly where God wants us right now.”
McCray was very specific about what he will strive for with his new Crusader team. “We certainly want to stretch the field horizontally and vertically, but we will never lose sight of the fact that we want to run the football. We’re not going to be Georgia Tech and be a true option team, but I think you have to have that threat. We want to be a multiple offense where all 11 players on the field threaten the defense.”
“On defense, I think a 3-4 is great, but we have to be sure our personnel continue to lean toward that. I haven’t seen or had a chance to watch the returning players on film, or see who’s on the board for recruiting. Our recruiting base will be here in the Upstate of South Carolina, and if we have a great chance to sign a lot more linebackers, we can do that. If you can get a bunch of defensive linemen, we can play a four man front. We’ve got to be smart and realistic in what the personnel looks like now and what we think we can recruit.”
“I’m excited about getting in there and seeing what happens.”
He and his wife, Angel, have a son, Trey, and a daughter Meredith, and they reside in Greer.