Wallace Adds Gross and Harper To Football Staff, Retains Willis, Campbell and Farris

Jan. 11, 2012


FLORENCE, AL -- University of North Alabama Head Football Coach Bobby Wallace announced Wednesday that the Lions' offense will be under the direction of one of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history, with the hiring of former UNA signal-caller Cody Gross as offensive coordinator. Gross was the head football coach at Wilson High School in Florence last season.

Wallace also announced the hiring of Scott Harper as offensive line coach and said he will be retaining three members of the previous UNA coaching staff in Chris Willis, Steadman Campbell and Blake Farris.

Wallace still has two positions to fill on the staff.

A former lineman at Marshall University, Harper has spent the last five seasons on the football staff at the University of West Alabama and was instrumental in helping the Tigers lead the Gulf South Conference in rushing in 2011 and advancing to the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Willis has been an assistant coach at UNA since 2002, working under both Mark Hudspeth and Terry Bowden. He has been a part of Lion teams with a combined 95-30 record that have won three GSC titles and made eight playoff appearances in 10 years. Willis coached the Lions' secondary in 2011.

Campbell has been at UNA since 2006, also working under both Hudspeth and Bowden, and has helped lead the Lions to six straight playoff appearances and a 62-14 record. During his time at UNA he coached receivers for three seasons and has coached running backs and been recruiting coordinator the last three years.

Farris, a former All-American defensive back at UNA, has been on the Lions' coaching staff for the last five seasons. He began his coaching career as a student assistant and then graduate assistant at UNA. The last two seasons he has coached the Lions' cornerbacks.

As a player, Gross had a 41-2 record as a starting quarterback while leading the Lions to three consecutive NCAA Division II National Championships from 1993-95. He led UNA to 14-0, 13-1 and 14-0 records during the championship seasons and played on UNA teams with a combined 48-5-1 record. He was chosen All-Gulf South Conference and GSC Offensive Player of the Year in 1995, was selected for the 50th Anniversary UNA Football Team for 1949-98, the Gulf South Conference "Team of the Quarter Century" for 1971-95 and the Gulf South Conference Team of the 1990s. He has been inducted into the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame, the UNA Athletic Hall of Fame and the Division II Football Hall of Fame.

This will be the second stint for Gross as an assistant coach at UNA. He served three seasons under Bill Hyde at UNA from 1998-2000. He was receivers coach for the Lions in 1998 and 1999 and was quarterbacks and fullbacks coach in 2000. He also served as recruiting coordinator at UNA for three seasons.

Gross was also offensive coordinator at Delta State in 2001 and assistant head coach for the Statesmen in 2002.

Gross comes back to UNA after one season as head football coach at Wilson High School in Florence. His high school coaching career includes two seasons as an assistant coach at Lauderdale County High School (1996-97), four seasons as an assistant at Athens High School (2003-06), three seasons as a head coach at Colbert County High School (2007-09) and one season as assistant head coach at Sparkman High School (2010). In his three seasons as offensive coordinator at Athens, the Golden Eagles advanced to the state playoffs every year and won the 2006 Alabama Class 5A State Championship. In his three seasons as head coach at Colbert County, the Indians had a combined 26-13 record, reaching the semifinals of the state Class 3A playoffs twice and the first round the other year.

Gross holds three degrees from UNA, with a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education - Social Science (1996), a Master's Degree in Secondary Education - Social Science (2003) and a Bachelor's Degree in Health Education (2007).

Harper first joined the West Alabama coaching staff in 2007 as a graduate assistant and served in several coaching capacities before becoming the offensive line coach in 2011. In 2009 he helped guide the Tigers to the second round of the NCAA Playoffs,which marked the first NCAA Playoff appearance by West Alabama in 34 years. Last season he helped the Tigers to an 8-4 record that included a second playoff appearance. UWA averaged over 227 yards per game rushing and 398 yards of total offense per contest.

Harper began his collegiate career at Gulf Coast Community College in Perkinston, Miss. After two seasons with the Bulldogs, he transferred to Marshall University in Huntington, W.V. and was a lineman on the Thudering Herds’ 1999 and 2000 Mid-American Conference championship teams.

After one season in the National Football League, he moved to Canada and played two seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

In his spare time, he volunteered at Foley High School in Foley, Alabama, during the 2006 season assisting the coaching staff.

Harper received his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Marshall.