JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. –Carson-Newman Vice President of Athletics Matt Pope introduced associate head coach and 1997 alumnus Mike Clowney as Carson-Newman football's 19th head coach during a press conference Wednesday morning at the Ken Sparks Athletic Complex.
"The biggest thing we want to be is one," Carson-Newman head football coach Mike Clowney said. "We want to be one in Christ. We want to be one football team. If we become that one, then we will be number one in the South Atlantic Conference. We will be number one in the nation. Most importantly, we will be number on in God's heart."
Clowney, a Carson-Newman and South Atlantic Conference Hall of Famer, replaces Mike Turner, who retired in mid-December after four decades as a player, assistant, coordinator and head coach at Carson-Newman. Turner went 24-10 in three years as C-N's head coach with a playoff appearance.
"We had 65 qualified applicants from around the U.S," Pope said. "Those who expressed interest in our position included the entire spectrum of football coaches. We considered coaches who had won Division II national championships, were coaching in New Year's Eve Bowl Games and have had high levels of success at the high school level.
"However, through all those applications, emails, calls and interviews there was one man whose stock appreciated considerably and who is the best qualified person to lead our football program. It gives me untold amounts of joy to introduce our 19th head football, Mike Clowney."
Clowney has spent 19 seasons as a player and assistant coach at Carson-Newman. In his four-year playing career, the Eagles went 37-11. In his 15 seasons (98-99, 04-05, 09-present) as an assistant, the Eagles are 126-50 (.715).
The Union, S.C.-native has held a litany of titles in his tenure at Carson-Newman. He has been a recruiting coordinator, defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and most recently associate head coach and running backs coach.
"Coach Clowney received his first bible while being recruited to play at C-N," Carson-Newman President Dr. Charles Fowler said. "He surrendered his life to Christ as a student at C-N. His passion for Christ and his love for student athletes will fuel his success as our head coach. He will lead our students to be great athletes and mature young men."
He helped tutor Antonio Wimbush into Carson-Newman's third ever 4,000-yard rusher and an All-American. He is one of five players that Clowney has personally coached to All-America honors. Eien Jacob and Jerry Miclisse earned All-America honors in the secondary, while Jaycob Coleman and Tony Robinson garnered All-America plaudits at linebacker. He also helped Jared Dillingham to Academic All-America honors in 2017.
All told, Clowney has coached 35 All-SAC players
Clowney was one of the best linebackers in Carson-Newman history and still holds the single-game tackles record, set in 1996 with 23 against Wingate. Clowney led the team with 153 tackles that season, the third highest total in Eagles football history. His named is littered throughout the Eagles' record book.
His 315 career tackles rank seventh all-time and his six career fumble recoveries register as the seventh most for a career. In addition to his 23-tackle day against Wingate, Clowney holds five of the top 15 single-game tackling performances in C-N football history. He is the only player in program history with two separate 20-tackle performances. He had 21 stops on Sept. 21, 1996 against Presbyterian.
Clowney was recognized as a first team All-American in 1996 by the Associated Press. He earned consensus All-American status, one of nine in Carson-Newman's history, with honors from the AFCA, Don Hansen's Football Gazette, NCAA and American Football Quarterly. He was the South Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, C-N Male Athlete of the Year and was the cornerstone of the defense that led the Eagles to their first NCAA Division II National Championship game appearance.
Before rejoining Carson-Newman in 2009, Clowney spent three seasons as head football coach and athletic director of Emerald High School in Greenwood, S.C. From 1999-2003 Clowney was Greenwood's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, helping the team win back-to-back state championships in 1999 and 2000.
Clowney received his master's degree in 1999 after three seasons as a graduate assistant at Carson-Newman.
Clowney and his wife, Carrie, reside in Jefferson City with their son Preston.
CNFB: Mike Clowney Introductory Press Conference 1-8-20
What they're saying about Mike Clowney
Mike Turner – Former Carson-Newman head football coach (2017-19)
"Mike Clowney is very deserving of this opportunity. He represents what Carson-Newman is and what it will be. He is what Carson-Newman is about and has a genuine care for the well-being and future of these players. He is a person that strives to make a difference in lives every day. He's proven himself as a football coach and is an excellent choice for Carson-Newman into the future."
De'Rail Sims – ECU Running Backs Coach
"Carson-Newman made a home run hire in Mike Clowney. He was born to be the head coach at Carson-Newman University and he has prepared tirelessly for this opportunity. He will build the program in a Christ-centered culture and produce champions both on and off the field. Mike Clowney is a true Eagle through and through."
Carl Torbush – Carson-Newman All-American, former UNC/ETSU Head Coach
"Mike's bio speaks for itself. You've got a Carson-Newman guy who loves Carson-Newman. Mike Clowney's knowledge and understanding of what makes C-N a special and unique place will enable him to continue the rich tradition and Christian example for all to see. His humility, kindness and example to others continues the legacy of exceptional Carson-Newman head coaches. He brings stability and a bridge to the future while knowing what makes Carson-Newman tick while being a tie to the past. He has the capability to mold Carson-Newman into the championship contender that it is."
Shell Dula – Executive Director of the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association
"I have known Mike since 1989 when he was freshman at Union High School. He was an all-star player at Union and Carson-Newman. He has also has been an outstanding coach on both the high school and college level. Mike is a highly respected individual and coach. There is no doubt with his past experiences as a student athlete, assistant coach, head high school coach and athletic director, guidance counselor, college recruiter, and coordinator that he is well prepared to do a quality job now as the head football coach and the leader of the program at Carson-Newman. We are certainly proud of Mike, his family, and their accomplishments and contributions to the coaching profession."
Derek Jones – Duke Defensive Backs Coach
"I've known Coach Mike Clowney since we were high school football rivals and he's one of the most competitive individuals I've encountered on any level. He's a natural leader, a man of character and a great role model. I think Mike is one of the best kept secrets in college football and a rising superstar in our profession. An individual like Coach Clowney would be an asset to any institution, but I know there's no place he has more passion for than Carson-Newman University and there's no better person to lead the Eagle's historic football program than Coach Mike Clowney."