Like many incoming freshman college students Josh Kline didn’t know what he wanted to do for a profession. Little did he know that he would become a successful college football coach and have a positive impact on his players lives.
“Having the opportunity to be around young people and build relationships with guys. Knowing I can be a difference and helping them develop as not only football players but boys into men,” Josh Kline.
Kline is the Assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for Shepherd University’s football team. It’s not just about football for Kline. It’s about pushing players to reach their full potential on and off the field.
“Things I like about his coach style is that I feel like he pushes the players to always be better and don’t accept no slacking.” Said free safety Tim Womack. Womack and a group of defensive players all stressed and noted how their knowledge of the game has increased tremendously.
Kline worked his way up in Shepherd’s program, from a graduate assistant in 2003, to coaching special teams, defensive line, strength and conditioning. In 2011 he became the defensive coordinator.
In his first two years as coordinator, Shepherd’s football team had the number one rush defense in the NCAA. In 2012 it also had the number one red zone defense.
In 2013, Kline was named Division II coordinator of the year by Football Scoop (a sports newspaper), after receiving the honors of the leading NCAA rush defense again. He placed second in both scoring defense and total defense. That 2013 defense also ranked third in pass efficiency defense.
“He’s help grow my knowledge and skill set as a player, as well as increasing my expectation for success,”Raughn Carter said. Carter was a senior this past year
“One thing I like about Coach Kline’s coaching style is his ability to separate the relationship he has with players on and off the field. He helps you understand that while on the field it’s a business and nothing personal, but off the field he is a good person, “ Chris Jones said, a three year starter on the team.
Off the field he’s a family man with a wife Kim, who is also a Shepherd alum, and his two kids Bradley and Kaylee. “I try to spend as much time as I can with my wife and kids outside of football,” Kline said. On top of his book case in his office sits a family portrait with his whole family smiling.
The former defensive tackle from Middletown, Maryland, came to Shepherd University not knowing what he wanted to do for a career. He majored in sports management.
“My defensive coordinator asked if I could do some work study for him, I started breaking down film and opponents… hearing him talk football interested me,” Kline said.
Kline also talked about his love and passion for the game, and while he was talking the tone in his voice changed, as though you could feel his emotion for the game through his voice.
In the office right beside Kline’s is Head Coach Ernie McCook’s office, who had all good things to say about his defensive coordinator. “Coach Kline responds to the call of leadership. Coach Kline’s verbal communication was always well received by his team. It is true that Kline distinguished himself by his personal hard work, and success as a coach, he has earned a reputation as a hard-working, trustworthy individual who strives to excel. He responds with courage when challenged to produce his best,” McCook said.
Kline said, going to the National Championship in 2015, and playing on that level was his favorite memory so far. He also brought up the game before the National Championship against Grand Valley. Growing up Kline watched GVSU play on TV, so being able to beat that prominent program was special to him.
Justin Cole is a Sports Reporter for the Picket, he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org