ATLANTA – Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott has completed the Panthers’ staff with the hiring of former South Alabama running backs coach Tim Bowens to the same position at GSU and former Western Carolina defensive backs coach Blake Gideon as cornerbacks coach.
With these two hires, the Panthers have replaced cornerbacks coach Sam Shade, who moved to the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, and filled the new 10th full-time position created by the NCAA for 2018.
“We’re excited to move forward in 2018 with the addition of two very good coaches who are even better as people and will be great teachers and role models for our young men,” Elliott said as the Panther look to build on their first bowl game victory.
“Since I’ve been here, the two assistant coaches who have moved on from our staff (Shade and Jess Simpson) have both earned positions in the NFL.”
The addition of Bowens as running backs coach means that Josh Stepp will coach tight ends after working with both positions last season.
Tim Bowens, formerly the running backs coach at South Alabama, has joined the Georgia State staff in the same position.
Bowens spent four years on the South Alabama staff, including the last three seasons as running backs coach. During his time in Mobile, he coached two-time All-Sun Belt Conference running back Xavier Johnson, who finished as the Jaguars’ career rushing leader.
He began his South Alabama tenure in 2014 as the receivers coach and helped the Jaguars earn the first bowl berth in program history.
Before going to South Alabama in 2014, Bowens spent two seasons (2012-13) as wide receivers coach at Samford, where his efforts helped the 2013 Bulldog squad to the Southern Conference title and a berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs. He worked with current Georgia State offensive coordinator Travis Trickett and receivers coach Trent McKnight at Samford, which led the Southern Conference in both passing (292.8 ypg) and total (415.6 ypg) offense as three of Bowens’ wideouts were among the top six in receiving yards per game.
“Tim brings a lot of experience coaching offensive skill players, and he is familiar with our system and with the Sun Belt Conference,” Elliott said.
Bowens also coached wide receivers at UAB for five years (2007-11). Before that, he spent four years (2002-06) on the staff at Alabama, his alma mater, in various roles including assistant director of operations and director of high school/NFL relations before serving assistant wide receivers coach in 2006 while Charlie Harbison was sidelined due to injury.
Bowens began his coaching career in the high school ranks, serving as the offensive coordinator at Coffee (Ala.) High School before becoming head coach at Tanner (Ala.) High. The Decatur Daily named him the Limestone County Coach of the Year in 2002.
A wide receiver at Alabama from 1996-99, Bowens helped the Crimson Tide to one Southeastern Conference title, two SEC West Division titles and three bowl games. He earned his degree n human environmental sciences from Alabama in 2000.
Bowens, a native of Florence, Ala., and his wife, Kesha, have sons Timothy, Taylor, Tanner and Christian and daughter Kallie.
Blake Gideon has joined the Georgia State staff to coach the cornerbacks after two seasons as the defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator at Western Carolina.
Last fall, Gideon helped coach a Western Carolina defense that ranked No. 15 nationally in passing yards per game allowed and No. 20 in pass efficiency defense.
In Gideon’s two seasons at Western Carolina, he worked with All-American safety Marvin Tillman in 2017 and all-conference defensive backs Fred Payne and Trey Morgan the previous year. In 2016, he also served as interim defensive coordinator for the final three games of the season.
Gideon began his coaching career as a defensive quality control assistant at Florida in 2014.
He then spent 2015 as a defensive graduate assistant at Auburn, where he was elevated to interim defensive backs coach for the Birmingham Bowl vs. Memphis, which featured future first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch at quarterback. The Tigers held Lynch to just 108 yards passing and limited Memphis to 205 total yards.
Following that season, he began a graduate assistantship at South Carolina in January 2016 before he was able to land a full-time coaching position at Western Carolina in April.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Blake,” Elliott said. “In the short time he was at South Carolina, I had an opportunity to develop a strong relationship with him, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Gideon was a four-year starter at safety and two-time team captain at Texas, where he played under head coach Mack Brown and defensive coordinators Will Muschamp and Manny Diaz.
He then enjoyed a brief professional career, signing a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals following the 2012 NFL Draft. He was signed to the Denver Broncos practice squad in October 2012 and trained with the club until retiring in May 2013.
Gideon, who played prep football for his father at Leander (Texas) High School, earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health from Texas in 2011.