Lions kick off year with crop of new coaches

Brett Borden, defensive line coach, signals to players during the Aug. 18 scrimmage.

The athletics department hired new coaches this summer for the softball, cross country and football teams.

Hannah Simmons, a former five-year member of the UNA women’s cross country team, was hired as the assistant coach for cross country and women’s indoor and outdoor track teams.

Simmons said she is mostly in charge of the women’s team and that her goals for the year vary.

“I want to try to make a statement this year, compared to past years,” Simmons said. “I also definitely want to try to compete at conference — that’s the main thing.”

Jason Anderson was hired as the head coach for the softball team. He comes from Central Baptist College, where he coached five seasons and led CBC to five National Christian College Athletic Association Region Championships.

“I want to take this team to the top this year,” Anderson said. “I want us to compete in championships and win.”

Sage Woodham, a pitcher from the University of Alabama-Huntsville and former graduate assistant at Augusta State University, joined the softball staff as assistant coach this year.

Woodham said she will be working mainly with the pitchers and that this is the season to make an impact.

“This is not a rebuilding year,” Woodham said. “This is the year to make a sudden impact. We’re going to get the girls focused, and we’re looking forward to a great season and a better mindset.”

Head coach Bobby Wallace is back to lead the Lions football team this year. The university announced Wallace’s return Jan. 2.

Wallace led the football team to three consecutive NCAA Division II National Championships in the 1990s and has received several coaching honors.

Wallace said UNA feels like home, and he is glad to be back again.

“I feel like I’m back home,” Wallace said. “We have great friends and support for all aspects of the university, and this is where I’m supposed to be.”

Brett Borden, assistant coach for the defensive line, is also new to the coaching staff. He is a former linebacker for UNA and has worked as a student coach for the Lions. Borden has also coached with Spain Park High School, Independence Community College, Milsaps College and Troy University.

“He has a lot of passion for the university and being here,” Wallace said. “He was highly recommended from Troy, and he communicates well with the players.”

Cody Gross, former standout quarterback for the Lions, played under Wallace during the three NCAA Division II Championships in the 1990s. He has coached at the university before, as well as Delta State. Gross will be working as the offensive coordinator.

“I want to be the best that we can be,” Gross said. “Whatever that ends up being, I want us to be the best.”

Scott Harper, who worked alongside Wallace at West Alabama, will be coaching the offensive line and serving as the strength and conditioning coordinator.

“I knew what I was getting with Scott,” Wallace said. “He’s doing a great job with the offensive line, and he’s very intelligent and knowledgeable about the offense.”

Cornelius Williams, former receivers coach for Murray State University, will be working with the receivers this season. Williams has also coached at the University of South Alabama.

He played collegiately with Troy University, and during his time there he helped the team to four Sun Belt championships and three bowl game appearances.

“Cornelius also came highly recommended from Troy,” Wallace said. “He’s doing a great job here, and he’s a good person. That’s what I want in my coaching staff.”