Central State hires Kevin Porter as head football coach

WILBERFORCE, Ohio — Central State University has selected former NFL player Kevin Porter as the university’s next head football coach.

CSU athletic director Tara A. Owens emphasized the best interests of student-athletes throughout the hiring process.

“During our nationwide search, we received an influx of interest from qualified candidates. Throughout the process, Coach Porter stood out as the person with the right mindset and characteristics best suited to lead Marauder football into a new era. Coach Porter comes to CSU with a championship pedigree and a broad range of coaching and playing experience at all levels of the game,” Owens said. “Under Coach Porter’s leadership, we believe our student-athletes will thrive on the field and in the classroom. As Coach Porter prepares to lead our football program, we look forward to establishing a lasting culture of positivity and success.

Porter, a veteran coach as well as a former college and professional football player, comes to CSU with nearly two decades of coaching experience, including stints as head coach at the State University of Fort Valley, Avila University and Point University.

Porter will make his CSU coaching debut in September against Winston Salem State University at the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic in Canton, Ohio.

“It is an honor to be selected to lead the football program at Central State University. CSU has a tremendous history and tradition. With the opportunity to work alongside the dynamic and innovative leadership of President Jack Thomas and director of athletics Tara A. Owens, I believe we can make CSU a permanent contender for the championship,” Porter said. “As the University continues to experience a period of unprecedented growth and success, we will build a football program that represents Central State University with pride and integrity. I look forward to leading our student-athletes as we enter a new era of Marauder football.

In his previous role as head coach at FVSU, Porter led the Wildcats to the 2016 SIAC Championship and returned to the title game in 2017. Porter’s four-year tenure at FVSU is considered one of most successful eras in Wildcat football history. During his time training at FVSU, Porter once won SIAC Coach of the Year honors and developed 19 All-SIAC student-athletes.

Porter began his coaching career in the Arena Football League in 2000. He was head coach of the Pensacola Barracudas in 2000, the Macon Knights from 2001 to 2003, and the Kansas City Brigade from 2006 to 2008.

In 2009, Porter served as defensive coordinator at Mid America Nazarene University, where his unit ranked among the best in the Heart of America conference. In 2010, Porter took over as head football coach and sports director at the University of Avila. The following season, he held the same roles at Point University. Prior to his assignment to FVSU, Porter was an assistant head coach and secondary coach at West Georgia University.

As a player, Porter was a three-year man of letters, a two-year starter, and an all-state performer as a defensive back for the Warner Robins High School Demons in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Porter then played at Auburn University. During his time as Tiger, Porter was a four-year starter. He earned All-American honors and was twice selected to the All-Southeastern Conference team. In 1984, Porter was named Liberty Bowl Defensive MVP and earned a spot on Auburn’s Team of the Century.

A third-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1988 NFL Draft, Porter made an immediate impact in his first season, appearing in 15 games and making seven starts. At the end of the season, Porter was selected to the NFL All-Rookie Team as a safety. He spent six years in the National Football League, ending his career with the New York Jets.

Porter holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Avila University and a master’s degree from Concordia-Irvine University in sports administration.

Porter and his wife, Annjela, have two sons, Jacob and Kellen.

Porter becomes the sixth head coach since CSU reinstated the program in 2005 under NCAA Div. Governance II. CSU football previously competed as an NAIA program, with a brief dual affiliation with NCAA Div. II in the 1970s and early 1980s. The Marauders were NCAA Div. II national runner-up in 1983 and won NAIA national titles in 1990, 1992, and 1995. From 1997 until the program’s resurgence in 2005, CSU did not field a football team.

“As I tell all of our coaches, we want to win and we want to win national championships. Coach Porter is a recognized winner, and we are pleased to welcome him to Central State University. We are committed to building a winning football program while providing a quality college experience for our student-athletes. I look forward to working with Coach Porter as we strive to win championships while continuing to build a team of phenomenal student-athletes. Our university is growing and we believe Coach Porter is an innovative and strategic leader who can take Marauder football to new heights.

Central State University will hold an on-campus press conference in January to publicly introduce and welcome Coach Porter to the CSU community.

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