SUU Football Adds Three New Coaches
CEDAR CITY, Utah - Coach DeLane Fitzgerald has announced three new additions to his coaching staff for the upcoming year.
Tye Hiatt will be the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Ryan Payne will join the staff as the offensive line coach, and Brandon Perkins is coming in to be the cornerbacks coach.
Coach Hiatt- Coach Tye Hiatt comes to Cedar City from Eastern New Mexico University where he served as the head coach for the Greyhounds for the past two seasons.
Ten players earned All-LSC honors during the 2022 season. Wide receiver, Asa Wondeh earned first-team accolades and was recognized as the conference's newcomer of the year. Offensive lineman, Hunter St. John was chosen as the league's academic player of the year after starting in all eleven games and garnering a 4.0 GPA.
The All-LSC Honorable Mention team members coached by Hiatt include Cameron Santa Cruz, Zerrian Meander, Cooper Hamilton, Beau Burns, Caden Ochoa, Kevin McCracken, Aseli Finau, Isaiah Tate, Hunter St. John, and Bryzai White.
In Hiatt's first season with the Hounds, he led several student-athletes who would garner post-season awards. Senior Justin Manyweather was named Lone Star Conference Receiver of the Year, while sophomore Mazin Richards earned LSC Defensive Lineman of the Year. Manyweather and Richards also earned First Team All-Conference honors. Joining them on the All-Conference list were Vili Fisiiahi (Second Team Offense), Howard Russell (Honorable Mention), and Cameron Santa Cruz (Honorable Mention). Eastern also saw offensive lineman, Hunter St. John earn the first CoSIDA Academic All-District nod for the program since 2010.
Prior to his time in Portales, he spent three years as the offensive coordinator at NCAA Division II Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
In 2019, Hiatt helped Shepherd to a 10-3 record and an NCAA DII playoff appearance in the team's first season in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). The team was the statistical champion in passing yards per game (347.0), third in completion percentage (.703), fifth in first down offense (324), and sixth in total offense (507.0). Quarterback Tyson Bagent was the NCAA DII statistical champion in passing yards per game (362.4) and completions per game (28.58). Shepherd also saw a 1,000-yard-rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers for the second time in program history.
In his first season in 2018, Shepherd posted a 7-3 mark with freshman quarterback Bagent recording numerous program passing marks and ranking in the top 11 in eight NCAA DII statistical categories.
Prior to his time at Shepherd, Hiatt spent four seasons as the offensive coordinator at Frostburg State University. In 2017, he helped the Bobcats to an 11-2 overall mark and an appearance in the NCAA DIII quarterfinals. During the 2016 season, Frostburg finished the season with nine straight wins and scored 20 or more points in nine contests.
Under Hiatt's direction, the Bobcats set a program record in completion percentage (.611) in 2015. In 2014, Frostburg finished seventh in the Empire 8 in both rushing yards (1,273) and rushing yards per game (127.3).
Hiatt arrived at Frostburg after three years at Southern Virginia University where he was the wide receivers coach in 2011 before being promoted to run game coordinator in 2012. In 2013 as the offensive coordinator, he helped the Knights average 30 points per game and rack up 323 yards per game in total offense. Hiatt helped lead Southern Virginia to its best record in school history.
Hiatt was a four-year student-athlete on the Southern Virginia football team. He sits second in school history in career receiving yards (1,591), receptions (127), and touchdown receptions (15). He earned NAIA Honorable Mention All-American, NAIA All-Independent First Team, Roanoke Times All-State First Team, and VaSID All-State Second Team honors for his efforts in 2008.
He holds a bachelor's degree in physical education and recreation administration from Southern Virginia '12 and a master's degree in sport administration from Liberty University '15. Hiatt and his wife Paige, have three children - Blake, Neil, and Zack.
Coach Payne- Payne comes to Southern Utah after serving last season as the offensive line coach at Idaho State University. Prior to his time in Pocatello, Payne served as offensive line graduate assistant at Oregon State from 2018-2021. He was a 2021 Joe Moore Award Finalist and assisted in coaching an offensive line that rushed for the third most yards in Oregon State University history (2,760).
Payne also served as a graduate assistant at Sacramento State from 2017-18 While at Sacramento State he helped the Hornets post a 7-4 record in 2017 marking the most FCS victories in school history. The team also ranked 14th in the nation for rushing and fifth in the nation for scoring.
Prior to his stint at Sacramento State, Payne spent three years as a coach at his alma mater of Dickinson State in North Dakota. He held various capacities, including offensive line coach/recruiting coordinator in 2016 and fullbacks and tight ends coach from 2014-15.
He was a three-year starting offensive lineman at Dickinson State, helping the Blue Hawks to a pair of league titles. In addition, he was the 2013 team captain and was a three-time academic all-league honoree.
Coach Perkins- Coach Perkins makes his way to Cedar City having spent the last two seasons as a defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator for Adams State University.
Prior to his time with the Grizzlies, Perkins spent two seasons as a graduate assistant with the NM State football program.
Before joining the Aggies, he served as an assistant varsity coach at Cobre High School for two seasons (2017-19).
The Tucson, Arizona, native played two seasons for Western New Mexico (2013-14) after transferring in from Pima CC. As a defensive back, Perkins tallied a career total of 152 tackles, 14 TFL, three sacks, four forced fumbles, 46 pass break-ups and five picks between WNMU and Pima CC.
Perkins got his coaching start in the collegiate ranks at his alma mater in 2015 and served as the defensive backs coach.
He received his bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary focus in education and coaching from Western New Mexico in 2016.