Coach Courtney Sanders Talks About the Bears' Defensive Line
email@example.com | (417) 836-5343
Courtney Sanders begins his seventh season on the Bears' coaching staff. The talented defensive line coach came to Missouri State in May of 2008 and has quickly stockpiled a talented unit to headline the MSU defense.
Sanders stockpiled an abundance of talent for the 2013 season with eight lettermen and nine squad members returning to lead the conference in red zone defense and finish third overall in scoring defense and first downs allowed. Defensive end Anthony Grady earned All-MVFC second-team honors and was signed by the New York Jets to a free agent contract after the conclusion of the 2014 NFL Draft. Fellow seniors Eric Pearce (89 percent) and Tevan Ferguson (88 percent) provided impressive grades in the trenches to set the pace for a standout campaign.
In 2012, Pearce, Grady and Martin Montgomery helped MSU tally 2.1 sacks per game and allow less than 200 yards per game through the air. Grady earned All-MVC honorable mention distinction and helped the Bears with 49 tackles, including 8 for loss with 5 sacks.
The same core unit of Pearce, Tevan Ferguson and Montgomery combined for 97 total stops in 2011 while averaging 1.64 sacks per game. Senior Mikel Ruder earned All-MVFC second-team honors from his left end spot.
In 2010, the Bears' front three included seniors Levi Moore and Waylon Richardet who combined for 79 tackles in the 3-4 set, while ranking 24th nationally in sacks per game (2.45) and were 69th in rushing defense.
In his second season with the Bears in 2009, Sanders coached second-team All-MVFC defensive end Richardet, and fellow starter Ruder. The pair combined for 22 starts and accumulate 89 total tackles, including 10 for loss.
Since his arrival, Sanders has helped the Bears' pass rush improve dramatically, from 0.91 sacks per game in 2008 to a nationally-ranked 2.45 average in 2010.
Sanders is a native of Stamps, Ark., where he was a four-sport athlete in high school with numerous all-state honors in football as a senior. He played football for three seasons for the Boll Weevils at Arkansas-Monticello and graduated in 2002 from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where he also earned his master's degree in 2006.
While at Arkansas, he worked on the Razorbacks' football staff in a variety of assignments from 2001-08. Among those tasks was working in quality control on both offense and defense, including film breakdown and academic monitoring of student-athletes. He was also a graduate assistant on the defensive side of the football, and worked for one season in the strength and conditioning department.
During his tenure with the Arkansas Razorbacks, he worked alongside several future NFL stars, including Eagles' offensive tackle Jason Peters, Atlanta defensive end Jamaal Anderson, and Chicago Bears' defensive tackle Marcus Harrison, among others.
In addition to his duties as the Bears' defensive line coach, he is responsible for recruiting the state of Arkansas while serving as a liaison with the strength and conditioning staff.
He and his wife, Veronica, are the parents of two daughters, Courtland and Layla Star.