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Report: Eastern Michigan to hire Neal Neathery as defensive coordinator

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The UTSA defensive coordinator has been a part of Creighton's entourage since the late 90's.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Per a report by FootballScoop.com, Eastern Michigan is set to hire Neal Neathery as the football team's new defensive coordinator. Neathery has been the defensive coordinator for the UTSA Roadrunners for six seasons, also serving as the linebackers coach.

This wouldn't be the first time Neathery and Chris Creighton have worked together. Or the second, or even the sixth. After three seasons in his first job with Sterling College, he joined Creighton's staff in 1997 at Ottawa (Crieghton's first year as a head coach). He stayed with Creighton for all four years there, then moved with to Wabash from 2001-2007 continuing their winning ways (32-9 Ottawa, 63-15 Wabash).

After being named the 2007 American Football Coaches Assistant NCAA Division III Coach of the Year, he continued to stick with Creighton on the moves, this time to Drake. Helping build a defense to average nearly nine tackles for loss per game, top ten (D-III) in sacks and rush defense in 2008, then helped them get to a 8-3 record in 2009 including a pair of shutouts.

Neathery left Drake after two seasons to be part of UTSA's first-ever football team in 2010. The team only started practicing that August and then actually got to playing games the following year as an FCS Independent. In moving to the Western Athletic Conference for a season and joining Conference-USA in the summer of 2013, his defenses have consistently been known to stop the run, make plays in the backfield and create turnovers all while coaching up productive linebackers. In five years, the Roadrunners have gone 26-32 with winning records in 2012 (8-4) and 2013 (7-5).

Due to length of program history and being in a differing conference, they've only played their recognized rival Texas State once in 2012 in the I-35 Rivalry. UTSA won 38-31 where the Bobcats were held to 2.1 yards per carry (68 total), creating a pair of turnovers.

Three professional players have been produced with Neathery's help in San Antonio. Ashaad Mabry is a rookie nose tackle for the New Orleans Saints, signed as an undrafted free agent. Triston Wade was once a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, also signed an undrafted free agent that's finishing his first season as a free safety for the Seattle Seahawks. Robert Singletary transferred from Baylor to UTSA during the team's transition into Conference-USA, was an all-conference selection before signing with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders in June 2015.