ROLLA, Mo. – DJ Bland, who served as the defensive backs coach at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology last fall, is joining the Missouri S&T coaching staff as an assistant coach.
Bland will coach the defensive backs at Missouri S&T and is taking over for Shane Dowty, who is stepping down to become the defensive coordinator at Mid-America Nazarene University.
"We are excited to have DJ joining our Miner family. He will be a great addition to our football staff and an outstanding representative of Miner Athletics," said S&T director of athletics Mark Mullin. "His experience and enthusiasm will allow him to quickly become as asset to our football program, the department, the campus, and local communities."
"DJ is a great addition to our staff. He has great experience in both playing and coaching the secondary and will be able to bring energy to our players in the back end," said Miner head football coach Tyler Fenwick. "He will be able to adapt easily to our strong defensive staff with defensive coordinator Todd Drury, linebacker coach Evan Knight and Ben Brummer. His experience at Rose-Hulman will translate into recruiting the type of kids we look for here at S&T. "
During the 2017 season at Rose-Hulman, Bland was in charge of the team's secondary and also worked with the special teams, particularly with the kickoff return team that averaged nearly 22 yards per return. Rose-Hulman's defense held opposing teams to a completion percentage of under 50 percent on the season and recorded 10 interceptions while ranking second in the nation in quarterback sacks per game.
The Fightin' Engineers had one all-region player last season in cornerback Alec Thompson and two additional players that were all-conference selections in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Bland also served as the defensive coordinator for Rose-Hulman's junior varsity team during the 2017 campaign.
In 2016, Bland served as the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. In that season, St. Norbert's defense finished fifth in turnover margin and 11th in pass interceptions in NCAA Division III. While at St. Norbert, he was also the lead coach for the kickoff return team and worked in all phases of the special teams.
In that season, he coached Ryan Grandlic, who earned D3Football.com All-America honors and a first-team all-conference selection along with teammate Tyler Jensen.
Bland began his coaching career at the high school level at Palm Harbor High School in Florida, where he served as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach during the 2015 season.
Bland, who is from Chicago, Ill., played collegiately at Eastern Illinois University, where he was a four-year letterwinner as a defensive back and played on two Ohio Valley Conference championship teams that also took part in the NCAA Division I Football Championships Series playoffs. The Panthers' 2013 squad, which included current San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and was ranked as high as fourth nationally, advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA playoffs. Bland graduated from Eastern Illinois in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in communication studies.