JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman's head track and field coach is back on 35th year head football coach Ken Sparks' coaching staff.
David Needs rejoins the program as an assistant coach for the wide receivers. His duties as head track and field coach will remain his primary duties within the athletic department. Needs replaces Derek Rang who moves on from Mossy Creek to be the head coach at Dresden High School.
This will be Needs' 17th year as an assistant coach on the football staff; two years ago he coached quarterbacks.
"Coach Sparks and I joked and said that I was just on sabbatical," Needs said. "This doesn't diminish what track and field means to me and what it is at Carson-Newman. But it is nice to go back to the sport I played in college and to be around something I've been around my entire life."
The Wilmington, Del., native was also published in the AFCA Summer manual in `07. His article "Increasing Your Options" broached the subject of incorporating the pass into an option offense, which turned out to be fitting, as the Eagles led the nation in pass efficiency in the season that followed.
Needs is a 1992 graduate of C-N with a degree in Political Science. The former quarterback was a member of Eagle national championship teams in 1988 and 1989. Before coming to C-N, he was the offensive coordinator at Mount Pleasant High School in Wilmington, Del.
"Having coached receivers here for 10 years it's going to be fun, but it's like this," Needs said. "Your entire life you want to eat nothing but Fun Dip and candy, but most of the time you have to eat green beans. Receivers at C-N, you want to catch the ball, but you really have to do the things that make you stronger. You have to be able to block and move defensive back and be fundamentally sound."
The Eagles return their entire receiving corps for 2014 minus leading receiver Luther Walker and his 29 catches for 488 yards. However, Steven Isom, Anthony Eubanks, TraShaun Ward and Aaron Seward all return. The quartet combined for 71 catches and 1,125 yards receiving. Eubanks became just the second wide receiver in the Ken Sparks era to grab eight or more passes in a game, and the first since 1990. Eubanks accomplished the feat twice, against both Shorter and North Greenville.
"All the kids we have, I've worked with before from being a part of the passing game," Needs said. "Having sat in Coach Turner's ear since the '98 season, I think I've maybe suggested a run a total of three times. What impresses me about the kids we have is that they like to catch the ball, but they also like to work."
Needs earned a Master's degree in Education at Carson-Newman in 1998. He also takes a leadership role in getting players involved in community outreach, such as the "One Way 2 Play - Drug Free" program and visits to area schools, churches and correctional facilities.
Needs was named the AFCA Division II Assistant Coach of the Year in 2009. He is one of three winners of the award on the staff. The others are Mike Turner (2003) and Dino Waites (2013).
In his first year as full-time head track and field coach, Needs had nine outdoor athletes earn all-region honors in 11 events and eight indoor athletes earn all-region accolades in 13 events.