Ken Gordon is going into his second year as the Defensive Coordinator for the Northwestern Ranger football team.
In his first season as the leader of the Ranger defense, he and his defense had a solid year and made some major changes in certain areas and are poised for another big jump this season as recruiting top tier players as well as what he has returning will help make that a reality.
Northwestern had two defensive players make the All-GAC first team after big seasons. Maurice Wright Jr. and Aharon Barnes were two of the best defenders in the league and arguably the best at their respective positions and it didn't go unnoticed as Gordon had a big influence on them this season.
Coach Gordon comes to Northwestern from Nebraska-Kearney where he was the Associate Head Coach as well as the Defensive Coordinator.
Ken Gordon was hired as UNK's defensive coordinator and defensive secondary coach in December 2014. In April 2015, he was promoted to associate head coach.
The 2016 season was a good one for Gordon and his defense as they put three players on the All-MIAA squad, including an All-American Linebacker in Tyke Kozeal, who finished his career with 604 total tackles, good enough for second all-time in the NCAA.
In 2015, Gordon saw senior safety Dillon Loschen, senior end/lineman Peyton Lange, junior safety George Brown and junior linebacker Tyke Kozeal earn All-MIAA honors. It was the third such recognition for Kozeal and the second for Brown.
Lange led the league in interception return yards (122) with Kozeal racking up 176 tackles, among the top totals in all of NCAA football. Kozeal also became UNK's career leader in tackles early in the season and is well on his way to reaching the rare 600 mark.
Also on the field, UNK had 64 tackles for loss (19 sacks), seven INT's for 225 yards and two TD's, 36 pass breakups and 19 QB hurries.
Gordon previously been a defensive coordinator at Emporia State (2007-10), Minnesota State (2005-06) and Pierce Junior College, Calif. (2003-04). Prior to coming to Kearney, he was Northwest Missouri State's secondary coach and special team coordinator for four seasons.
In his time as coordinator, Gordon coached 10 All-Americans and now 38 all-conference players. That large group includes All-American defensive back Jordan Malone of MSU ('06) and All-American defensive end Danny Webb of E-State ('10).
While at Emporia, all four of his defenses ranked in the top half of the MIAA statistically. Webb led the league in solo sacks in 2010 and finished that fall with 16 TFL's. Emporia won five games that season, the most by a Hornet squad since 2003.
In the 2014 NFL Draft, Gordon saw one of his players, cornerback Brandon Dixon, drafted in the sixth round by the New York Jets. Currently playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brandon saw his brother, Brian, make the New Orleans Saints as a free agent and both are having productive rookie seasons.
The pair were among the 18 players (11 defense and seven special teams) Gordon coached the past four years that earned All-MIAA honors. The Dixon brothers were a key part of the 2013 national championship team that posted a 15-0 record and held opponents to 17 points and 293 yards per game. Subsequently, Brandon Dixon earned All-American honors.
A year earlier, Brandon Dixon earned his first All-American honor with safety Nate DeJong earning the same recognition. Gordon's secondary led Division II in interceptions (28) and was ranked in the top five in pass defense.
In 2014, Northwest ranked fourth in the country in pass defense, allowing 142 yards per game. They also picked off 14 passes, pushing their total under Gordon to 75.
The special teams units that he led for four falls were among the best in the country as well. Punter Kyle Goodburn was a three-time All-MIAA selection who earned 2012 All-American honors after averaging a school-record 44.3 yards per attempt. He also set a new Bearcat record for career average (41.6).
Gordon began his coaching career as a Northwest graduate assistant, working with the Bearcat linebackers in 1998 and 1999. In both seasons, NWSU won the national title.
As a player, Gordon earned All-MIAA honors at linebacker in 1996, his senior season. He previously was an all-conference player at Blinn Junior College in Texas. Gordon was a member of Mel Tjeerdsma's first recruiting class at Northwest, helping turn the Bearcats into an MIAA and national powerhouse.
A native of Quitman, Texas, he received his bachelor's degree in 1996 and earned a Master's degrees in 1999, both from Northwest. He and his wife, Jessica, have three children; Dominik, Addisyn and McKinnley.
Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator
Cory Sullivan will be entering his fourth season at Northwestern Oklahoma State as Special Teams Coordinator and third season coaching the linebackers. Additionally, Sullivan will serve as Travel Coordinator.
The 2017 campaign provided three all-conference performers from the linebacker position. Maurice Wright was named first team GAC and finished the 2017 season ranked first in tackles per game at 13 per game. Wright also added 14 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Devin Peyton tallied 61 tackles in just six games, good enough for second team GAC. The third member of the all-conference teams was Sophomore Dakota Driskill. Driskill totaled 97 tackles and 5 tackles for loss in his sophomore campaign. Northwestern punters averaged 40.41 yards per punt including 10 inside the twenty-yard line and 11 over fifty yards. Returner DaShawn Gordon averaged 9.8 yards per return in 2017.
The 2016 season was another opportunity for Ranger special teams as each unit proved again to be high points for the Rangers. The 2016 season featured a kickoff return for a touchdown and a game winning field goal against Arkansas-Monticello and several forced turnovers. Punt Returner Dashawn Gordon finished the season as the top punt returner in the GAC with an average of 8.1 yards per return. Linebacker Devin Peyton finished sixth in the conference in tackles per game (8.4) despite having his season cut short due to injury.
In his first season at Northwestern Oklahoma State the Rangers saw marked improvement in special teams as nearly every unit improved in national rankings, including a top 15 nationally ranked punt unit lead by all-conference performer Will Hawkins (41.5 yards per punt). Additionally, Sullivan coached All-GAC corner Jordan Norris who lead the conference in interceptions and finished in the top 10 nationally in that category.
Sullivan spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons at Emporia State where he was a Defensive Graduate Assistant working with defensive line in 2013 and linebackers for the 2014 season. In addition to his coaching duties, he also was the coordinator for video, social media, and football graphic design.
Before his stop in Emporia, Kan., Sullivan spent the 2012 season as running backs coach at Missouri S&T. Sullivan coached Curterris Golden who had 1,029 all-purpose yards and 4.9 yards per carry with a single season school record 14 rushing touchdowns. He was responsible for weekly opponent breakdown and the Miner punt unit. In 2012, the Miners set school records for wins in a season with (10) and points per game (41.6).
Prior to Missouri S&T he was at Ohio University where he worked as a student assistant coach with the Bobcats’ wide receivers, running backs and special teams. He was also responsible for film breakdown, scout teams and charting opponent tendencies on game day. He spent four seasons on the Ohio staff working as a student assistant.
During his time at Ohio, the Bobcats appeared in three bowl games – the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He graduated from Emporia State in 2015 with a Master’s of Science in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation.
Sullivan is a 2012 graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sport Sciences and a 2015 graduate of Emporia State with a Master’s of Science in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. He is originally from Springfield, Ohio. Cory and fiancé, Tamra, reside in Alva, Okla.
Keenan Lott is entering his fourth season as the cornerbacks coach for Northwestern Oklahoma State under Head Coach Matt Walter.
Lott's cornerbacks have had a very productive last few seasons and in 2017 in particular where Aharon Barnes was voted onto the 1st Team All-GAC list and was regarded as the best corner in the league with his blazing speed and ball awareness.
Keenan Lott enters his first year as a coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Lott is from Lefors TX, and graduated high-school from Lefors High School in 2010. There, he lettered all 4 years and was honored with all-state honors his junior and senior year.
Lott has been a Ranger since the fall of 2010. The first 2 years attending NWOSU, Lott was a quarterback here before moving to the defensive side of the ball the next 3 years. Lott played safety for the Rangers seeing significant playing time within the three years. At NWOSU Lott was a GAC Player of the week and one year the Male Sophomore athlete of the year.
Lott graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in the spring of 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Sports Science with a Minor in Sports and Exercise Psychology. Lott plans on continuing his education with a Master’s degree.
Strength & Conditioning
Zach Doyle is heading into his second full season as the Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Over the last couple of seasons, Doyle has worked hard with the Football team in particular and they saw major gains and broke many records in the weight room under his direction. Not only did it show in the gym, but also on the field where quickness, agility and strength came into play in a big way and it helped move the program forward.
Doyle was a four-year player here at the running back position and was the primary starter in a couple of those years.
Doyle is currently pursuing his Master's degree.
Bio coming soon!
Director of Player Personnell/Assistant Defensive Line
Demetri Wilson is heading into his second season as a student assistant.
Prior to joining on the staff, Wilson played for coach Walter for two seasons as a defensive lineman.
Wilson is currently finishing up his undergrad here at Northwestern, after which he will pursue a Master's degree.