Volume 5, Issue 1 University of Houston
Briles goes back to high school, hires new coaches
By Ed De La Garza
Just seven days into his new job, UH head coach Art Briles has already started to build his staff -- and he's looking to familiar faces to do it. On Sunday, he hired former UH wideout Jason Phillips as the wide receivers coach. This week, he added high school coach Randy Clements and may be close to hiring Phillip Montgomery.
Clements has signed on to be the Cougars' new offensive line coach. It doesn't appear Briles will retain any of former head coach Dana Dimel's staff.
Clements, who was offensive line coach under Briles at Stephenville High School, spent the last two years as offensive coordinator at Stephenville and was offensive line coach under Briles when he was still with the Yellow Jackets. He was the offensive coordinator since 1999.
"(Clements is) a real hard-working, personable guy," Stephenville High School offensive line coach Sean Lonergan said. "He has a great rapport with his athletes. He's really intense. His linemen will have a great bond. He likes to be surrounded by the type of athletes that work."
Montgomery also coached at Stephenville under Briles, serving as quarterbacks/running backs coach from 1996 to 2001. He has been at Denton High School since then, where he served as offensive coordinator. He would serve as quarterbacks/running backs coach at UH.
Coaches at Denton would not comment on Montgomery until the hire was made official.
"I'm going to hire two or three high school coaches, an ex (Cougar) or two," Briles said Friday. "And get kids who know how to work."
Add Montgomery to the mix and he has two high school coaches on board. But he may bring in a third. Ganbury High School head coach Mike Lebby may be in the running for a spot as a defensive assistant.
Lebby and Briles coached together at Sweetwater. Lebby is in his first year at Granbury and finished 3-7 this season. He declined to comment Wednesday when reached by phone.
Briles has been busy publicizing the Cougars since becoming the 10th head coach in the program's history. On Tuesday, he and new Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione participated at the Touchdown Club of Houston's high school football awards dinner.
"He's a great, great pick (for UH)," Lonergan said. "He has an aura totally surrounded by positive things. When he walks into a room, everyone just gets better. It doesn't matter what you're doing -- anybody who's around him can feel it."
College Football News named senior Joffrey Reynolds its Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year. He also joined junior offensive lineman Rex Hadnot and senior safety Hanik Milligan on the CFN All-Conference USA Team.
Reynolds lost C-USA's official award to Dave Ragone, but the senior back still earned postseason awards. He was named an Honorable Mention All-American by cnnsi.com. He and Milligan were named to the C-USA First Team.
Reynolds rushed for a conference-record 1,545 yards on 316 attempts for a 4.8 yard-per-rush average. He was only six yards away from moving into second place behind Robert Newhouse for the best single-season mark in UH history.
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