HELENA — Carroll College football coach Troy Purcell announced five full-time assistants to his coaching staff on Friday afternoon.
Purcell not only retained Alex Kastens, Alex Pfannenstiel and Colin Fuller from last year’s staff, but hired a few new coaches including former Rocky Mountain College defensive coordinator Jared Petrino and former Idaho State safeties coach Jay Staggs.
“It’s good to have this type of mixture with some coaches from some other staffs,” Purcell told 406mtsports.com. “We wanted to create a blend of coaches and find quality guys that had experience outside of Carroll College. They can share new ideas, think outside the box and game plan from their pasts that have worked.”
Petrino comes home to his alma mater as the new defensive coordinator after three seasons with the Battlin’ Bears.
Last year, he helped lead Rocky to a 2018 Frontier Conference championship and its defense finished second only to Carroll in scoring defense, total defense, rush defense and pass defense. Nationally, his squad also finished among the top 25 in scoring defense and total defense.
“There is always something special about your alma mater,” Petrino said. “I’ve never been on this side of the whistle at Carroll and this is a great opportunity for my family and me.”
Prior to Rocky, Petrino coached at NCAA Division II Black Hills State, serving as the special teams coordinator, defensive line coach and defensive backs coach. In college, he also won two national championships as a linebacker with the Saints.
Petrino applied for Rocky’s head coaching job after his brother, Jason, left to take the defensive coordinator job at Southern Illinois. Though he didn’t get it, he received a phone call from Purcell the next day.
“You know if you can steal the defensive coordinator from the defending conference champion, that is a pretty good get,” Purcell said. “Jared was a huge hire. He has experience with the Frontier Conference offenses right now and he is a true Saint. His blood runs purple and gold.”
Petrino’s defensive philosophy includes many of the same teachings former coach Mike Van Diest taught him as a player, but also experience he picked up during his eight years of coaching.
“I want to put the best 11 guys out on the field,” Petrino said. “I’m not hung up on schemes, but the big thing I’m going to preach is style of play and how we play.”
Staggs comes to Carroll after spending one season with Idaho State and the previous three as the defensive coordinator for NCAA Division II Adams State. After graduating from UNLV in 2007, he signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears and then spent three years playing for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes.
“I heard a lot of great things from (Idaho State defensive coordinator) Roger Cooper and other coaches I trust, so I was very fortunate to hire him, especially with his experience in the NFL and at a higher level,” Purcell said.
While Purcell decided to hire some new coaches, his decision to retain some assistants from last year’s staff was made based on talks he had with people in the community and within the program he said he has respect for.
Pfannenstiel will continue his roles as recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, but will also be the co-special teams coordinator.
Kastens will move from coaching the defensive line to the offensive line, while Fuller will coach the defensive line.
“They were here from Day 1, they are hungry and they know the dedication and time they need to put in to be a Carroll College Fighting Saint,” Purcell said.
As for the offense, Purcell will oversee the offense and quarterbacks personally.
“Ideally, I would like to float around to the different offensive positions if we can find the next quarterbacks coach or wide receivers coach or whatnot, but right now, as a play caller, I need to be in tune with the quarterbacks on their reads or adjustments,” Purcell said.
Former Saints assistant coaches Tony Arntson and Nick Howlett were not retained and Purcell did not comment on that decision.
Carroll finished last season 5-6 overall and was ranked seventh out of eight Frontier Conference teams in scoring offense and total offense.