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Austin Peay State University presents Kirby Cannon as new Governors head football coach


Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN — A Tuesday’s morning press conference in the front lobby of the Dunn Center not only completed a process, but also opened a new era in Austin Peay State University’s football program, with the official presentation of Kirby Cannon as the school’s 18th head coach.

Austin Peay Head Football Coach Kirby Cannon.

Austin Peay Head Football Coach Kirby Cannon.

Cannon takes the reins from Rick Christophel, who resigned in late January to take a position as tight ends coach for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, after going 20-46 as head coach of his alma mater.

Nearly 70 coaches applied for the coaching vacancy, with the search committee bring that number down to the last six almost two weeks ago.

After bring in each of the finalists for individual interviews, Cannon proved to be the right fit to move the program forward.

Austin Peay President Tim Hall may have put it best Tuesday morning in saying of Cannon that he is someone “who gets it.”

“One of the things I was really attracted to by coach Cannon when I visited with him personally in this interview process is that he had a plan.” Hall said. “He had a vision of where he was going and he understood that football is not just a sport he’s trying to get victories in but a part of the university.”

This was the second time that Cannon has applied for the head coaching position, having also applied six years ago when Christophel got the job.

APSU Coach Kirby Cannon talking to some APSU Football Players.

APSU Coach Kirby Cannon talking to some APSU Football Players.

“I was interested the first time and I am more interested now,” Cannon said. “One of the first points I made in the new (hiring) process was that I was a sincere candidate. I am not just somebody that picked up the paper and saw that coach (Christophel) left.

“I am not a career job seeker, even though I have been as a lot of different places. I’ve always kind of moving up in responsibility and nothing else.”

Cannon comes to Austin Peay after spending the past three seasons as secondary coach at Central Michigan after spending 11 seasons as head coach at Missouri S&T.

Prior to that, he was an assistant football coach at Western Illinois from 1997-99; assistant head coach/defensive coordinator at Northern Michigan, 1995-97; defensive coordinator at Northeast Missouri State (now Truman State), 1993-95 and defensive coordinator at North Central College, 1985-89.

“Kirby has the reputation of building programs, both as a head coach and assistant throughout his career,” said APSU Athletics Director Dave Loos, in a release for the APSU Sports Information Office. “More recently he did so as head coach at Rolla (Missouri S&T), where they had not had a winning team in years before he arrived, and then was part of a Central Michigan program the last three years that had to rebuild, with it ending with them gaining a bowl bid. Kirby understands how to build a program and will be able to build upon our existing foundation.

“He also has also has the reputation of being a man of great character. We look forward to him leading our football program.”

With the official announcement and presentation out of the way, Cannon will get things moving quickly, meeting with his coaching staff at 4:00pm on Tuesday, while having his first meeting with the players on Wednesday.

He also comes in needing to fill a coaching vacancy on his staff, with the retirement of linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator Gary Shephard last week.

Spring football practice is scheduled to begin March 25th.




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