Skyhawk Football | Jeff Byrd - Defensive Coordinator
Former Arkansas Tech coach Jeff Byrd will serve as the third UT Martin defensive coordinator in three years. Byrd coached linebackers and served as the defensive coordinator since spring practice of 2009 at Arkansas Tech.
In his two seasons at Tech, Byrd's defenses have been ranked in the Top 25 nationally against the run each year as the 2010 team finished ninth in D-II against the run. They allowed just 86.4 yards per game and in 2009, Tech finished 21st nationally in rushing defense as they allowed 102.8 yards rushing per contest.
In addition, Byrd has coached seven all-conference, one all-regional performer and one NFL free agent signee.
Byrd went to Tech after spending four seasons (2005-08) at Southern Arkansas, as its defensive coordinator. While at SAU, Byrd coached 13 All-Gulf South Conference performers and helped the Muleriders defense finished the 2008 season ranked 18th nationally in rushing defense (96.8 yards/game).
Before his tenure at SAU, Byrd spent two seasons (2003-04) as the defensive coordinator at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Miss. In 2004, Byrd's defense at NW Mississippi allowed only 212 yards of offense per game and allowed 15.1 points per contest, while his 2003 defense ranked fourth nationally in NJCAA in rushing defense (71.6 yards/game), 14th in total defense (237.2 yards/game) and 27th in passing defense (165.6 yards/game).
In addition to his coaching stints at SAU and NW Mississippi, Byrd also spent three seasons (2000-02) as an offensive line coach at Mars Hill College in North Carolina, including serving as the school's co-offensive coordinator in 2002. He began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Delta State in 2000 and before that served as the head coach, principal and athletic director at Bayou Academy in Cleveland, Miss., in 1999 and spent four seasons (1994-98) as a varsity football assistant coach at Washington High School in Greenville, Miss.
As a high school student-athlete at Southaven (Miss.) High School, Byrd was a three-year letterwinner in both baseball and football. After high school, Byrd lettered for three seasons as a center at Southern Miss and was a member of the Golden Eagles’ 1988 Independence Bowl championship team.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern Miss in 1989 and earned his master's degree in education from Delta State University in 2005.