STATESBORO, Ga. - Jeff Monken, a top assistant under Paul Johnson at Georgia Southern, Navy, and Georgia Tech, is returning to Statesboro as the Eagles' head football coach. Athletics Director Sam Baker made the announcement Sunday afternoon (Nov. 29).
The 42-year-old Monken has played a key role in the resurgence of Georgia Tech football over the past two seasons, serving as slot backs coach and special teams coordinator, and helping the 10-2 Yellow Jackets capture the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division title and a berth in the ACC championship game against Clemson this Saturday (Dec. 5). Monken will begin his duties at Georgia Southern following this game.
Monken spent five years with the Eagles from 1997-2001, a period in which the program tallied a 62-10 overall record, two NCAA FCS National Championships (1999 and 2000), five consecutive NCAA FCS playoff appearances, five Southern Conference championships, and the school's second undefeated regular season (1998).
During that 1998 season, which the Eagles finished as National Runners-Up, Monken mentored All-SoCon and All-American Corey Joyner. Georgia Southern ranked among the Top 5 teams in rushing offense all five years, leading the nation in 1999 (419 ypg) and 2001 (323.6 ypg). The Eagles likewise finished among the Top 15 national scoring leaders in four of those five seasons - including a nation's best 50.0 ppg in 1999. Monken also successfully oversaw the Eagles' special teams units, with his punt team ranking fourth nationally in 2001, averaging a net of 38.7 yards.
After the 2001 season, Monken joined Johnson at the U. S. Naval Academy, where he spent six seasons coaching the Midshipmen's A-backs and, starting in 2005, serving as special teams coordinator. Part of a staff that led Navy to success unseen in Annapolis in decades, Monken contributed to a prolific offensive system that led the Midshipmen to five straight bowl appearances and five consecutive Commander-in-Chief trophies between 2003 and 2007.
Monken has experienced a wide variety of duties throughout his coaching career, which began in 1989 as a graduate assistant at Hawaii. After a one-year stint as a graduate assistant at Arizona State in 1991, he moved on to Buffalo, where he served as a wide receivers and tight ends coach and was the recruiting coordinator.
Prior to his arrival in Statesboro, he also served on the staffs at Morton (Ill.) High School (head coach) and Concordia (Ill.) University (offensive line). Monken comes from a long line of coaches, as 12 members of his family have been or currently are high school or college football coaches.
"Georgia Southern Football has a success story like none other. I am extremely honored to represent Georgia Southern University as its Head Football Coach and thrilled for the opportunity to serve the young men entrusted to the leadership of our staff. Having been an Eagle assistant coach for five tremendous seasons, I know that being the head coach at Georgia Southern is an incredible opportunity. I want to thank Sam Baker, (Vice President) Dr. Ronald Core, President (Dr. Bruce) Grube and incoming President (Dr. Brooks) Keel for their faith in me to take leadership of this storied program at this time in its history. I am looking forward to helping our young men work to bring another championship to the banks of Beautiful Eagle Creek," said Monken. "I most want to thank Coach Paul Johnson. I have had the good fortune of being mentored by one of college football's most successful coaches for the past thirteen seasons and I am grateful to Coach Johnson for the opportunity he has afforded my family and me to be a part of such unparalleled success. I owe this head coaching opportunity to him."
The Joliet, Ill., native earned a bachelor's degree from Millikin in 1989, where he played wide receiver for four years and was also a two-time letterwinner in track. In 1991, Monken earned his master's degree from Hawaii.
Monken and his wife Beth have two daughters, Isabelle and Amelia.