Knowles, Ohrt and others follow Carey to Temple


James Krause

Former defensive coordinator Jeff Knowles will follow former Head Coach Rod Carey to join the Temple University coaching staff the university confirmed Tuesday.

Joining Knowles and Carey at Temple will be director of sports performance Brad Ohrt, cornerbacks’ coach Melvin Rice, and defensive line coach Walter Stewart.

Carey said he is excited about the new additions to his coaching staff.

“[Knowles] runs an aggressive defense that was not just one of the best in the MAC, but one of the best in the nation last season,” Carey said to Temple Athletics. “Individually, defensive end Sutton Smith was an All-American. [Knowles], [Rice], and [Stewart] know how to get the best out of their players and will continue to work together to coach and outstanding defense.”

Knowles joined NIU as a linebackers’ coach in Feb. 2017 and assumed the position of defensive coordinator in 2018. He previously served as the defensive quality control coach at North Carolina State from 2014 to 2016.

Knowles said he couldn’t overlook the amount of talent on Temple’s roster.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Coach Carey here at Temple,” Knowles said. “I know there is a tremendous tradition of talented defense here at Temple, and we expect that to continue. I look forward to working with these talented players.”

Ohrt, who has been on NIU’s staff for eight seasons, was announced Monday as the new Head Strength and Conditioning coach at Temple.

“I’m very excited to be at Temple University and to continue to work with Coach Carey,” Ohrt said in a Temple news release. “I can’t wait to start working with the Temple football team tomorrow morning.”

Ohrt will be entering his 23rd season of coaching, having spent the last eight overseeing strength and conditioning for 17 NIU athletic teams, primarily football.

Rice, who played his college career at NIU, has been on NIU’s coaching staff since 2016 and has been coaching since 2009. He had 175 career tackles, two interceptions and 18 pass break-ups. Rice started his final three seasons as a Huskie and played in two bowl games and the 2005 MAC Championship.

Rice said he will miss his time at NIU but is looking forward to working with Temple.

“Having played and coached at NIU, I’d be lying if I said I am not going to miss it,” Rice said. “But I am very excited to continue working with Coach Carey and Coach Knowles and working with these Temple players.”

Stewart was new to the NIU coaching staff joining the team in Feb. 2018 as the defensive line coach. Before joining the Huskies, Stewart served as the defensive ends’ coach at Florida A&M in 2015 and a graduate assistant defensive line coach at Tennessee from 2013 to2015.

Stewart said he can’t wait to get started with his new team.

“I’ve heard the Temple defensive line has been called the ‘Wildboyz,’ and I’m anxious to begin working with them,” Stewart said. “I’m thankful that Coach Carey asked me to join him at Temple, and my family and I are looking forward to living in Philadelphia.”

Offensive line coach Joe Tripodi and quarterbacks’ coach Craig Harmon were also confirmed by Temple on Tuesday to be joining Carey’s staff.


The Northern Star will update this story as more information becomes available.