Football Adds Two Coaches to Staff As Spring Practice Begins

March 15, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University has hired Thomas Wagers, former quarterbacks coach at Wolfson High School, as its new tight ends coach, head coach Steve Gilbert announced today. Wagers replaces Luther Price, who will focus on the Dolphin wide receivers. Gilbert also added Ryan Silverfield as quarterbacks coach to replace former Dolphin Luke Ewalt, who is leaving after four seasons to become quarterbacks coach at Johns Hopkins University. JU opened spring practice on Monday at the Ashley Sports Complex.

Wagers spent last season as quarterbacks coach at Wolfson, where he helped lead the Wolfpack to their best record in school history (7-4) and their first playoff appearance in 25 years. Under his tutelage, Wolfson quarterback Jake Owens earned second-team all-state honors after throwing for 2,325 yards and 24 touchdowns, which ranked second in the Gateway Conference. The Wolfpack offense averaged 34.9 points and 366 yards per game last season, including a record-breaking season by wideout Rod Owens who caught 51 passes for 805 yards and 10 touchdowns. Prior to coaching at Wolfson, Wagers served as running backs coach at Twin Lakes Middle School for the 2002 and 2003 seasons. The Tennessee native earned his B.S. in accounting from East Tennessee State in 1979, where he played two seasons at quarterback for the Buccaneers.

"Tom has a creative offensive mind and will really help bolster our passing game," says Gilbert, who is entering his eighth season as the Dolphins' coach this fall. "He was part of one of Jacksonville's top offenses last season and we look forward to the insight he will bring to our program."

Silverfield joins the JU staff after spending the 2004 season as head coach at Memorial Day High School in Savannah, Ga. Prior to becoming a head coach, the Jacksonville native spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Hampden-Sydney (Va.) College, where he started as an offensive assistant in 2000 and later coached the defensive line and tight ends. The Tigers went 9-1 in 2003 thanks in part to tight end Ben Dull, who under Silverfield's tutelage earned NCAA Division III All-America honors. Silverfield, who earned his B.A. in economics from Hampden-Sydney in 2003, started his coaching career as an assistant at The Bolles School in 1999 after a four-year playing career with the Bulldogs. As a senior, Silverfield earned second-team all-state honors at defensive end after leading Bolles to the Florida Class-3A state championship.