Tony Grantham | Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
Western Illinois head football coach Charlie Fisher announced the hiring of defensive coordinator Tony Grantham in March 2017.
Grantham worked the previous three seasons at Louisville as the linebackers coach and will coach the Leatherneck secondary.
"I'm committed to hiring the best individual we can on our coaching staff who fits us, and there's no question we were able to do that. Tony Grantham with his background… it was my desire to switch to a 3-4 defense and Tony has a tremendous background in the 3-4. That was my goal all along when we had a change," said Fisher.
Grantham helped Louisville to a 9-4 record last year, capping the season with an appearance in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. The Cardinals won 26 games during his three years and Grantham coached in a Bowl game in 14 of his 15 seasons at the FBS level.
Last year Louisville's defense ranked 10th nationally in third down conversion defense, 12th in rushing defense, 31st in scoring defense, 14th in total defense and a 'Top 25' ranking in turnovers gained (24th). He coached Keith Kelsey, who became a two-time All-ACC performer at inside linebacker.
"Tony, with his background and some of the places he has been, and his background in the 3-4… you look at the success of Louisville's defense and even deeper to the success Navy had and what they did with the scheme there and the players they have. You have to really be impressed with his contributions at Navy and certainly everyone I've talked to about Tony Grantham is a double thumbs up. This guy is a very talented coach that understands the 3-4," said Fisher.
He worked for 10 years at Navy (2003-06, 2008-13), a year at Campbell as linebackers coach, two years (2001-02) as a graduate assistant at LSU under Nick Saban and got his start at Eastern Illinois as the outside linebackers coach in 2000.
Ben Hodges | Outside Linebackers / Special Teams Coordinator
Ben Hodges joined the Leatherneck Football program as the running backs coach and co-special teams coordinator. The 10-plus year coaching veteran joined Charlie Fisher’s staff in July 2016.
Hodges spent 10 years at Eastern Kentucky in various roles, most recently as the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach. While at EKU, he also coached the tight ends, wide receivers, served as the recruiting coordinator and began his career as the offensive assistant coach.
He coached former EKU tight end Matt Lengel, who signed a NFL free agent contract with Cincinnati. Hodges coached two All-Ohio Valley Conference wide receivers. The Colonels advanced to the NCAA FCS Playoffs four times during his time in Richmond.
His coaching career began as an undergraduate at Central College, serving as a student assistant for four years. He was a part of two Iowa Conference championships, including a NCAA Division III playoff berth in 2005 after posting a 9-1 regular season record. Hodges main duties included: opponent film breakdown, scouting reports, scout team coordinator, worked with the linebackers three years and the offensive line for a year.
A 2006 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Central, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics. Hodges earned a master’s degree from EKU in 2007 in Sports Administration.
He and his wife Courtnee have a daughter, Madeline.
Tyler Stockton | Defensive Line
Tyler Stockton joined Leatherneck Football in January 2016 and will coach the defensive line on coach Charlie Fisher’s staff. He joined the Leathernecks after working the previous two seasons at Connecticut.
He served as the assistant to the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach during his two years as a graduate assistant with the Huskies and was the primary coach for the interior defensive line. Stockton ran on-field drills, conducted position meetings, and managed the scout team offense. Last year the Huskies defense ranked 15th-best in the country.
A five-year member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish program, Stockton was a Monogram award winner and helped the team make appearances in the 2010 Sun Bowl (champions), 2013 BCS National Championship game, and 2013 Pinstripe Bowl (champions). He was a member of the nation's top-ranked defense during the Fighting Irish's year advancing to the national championship game.
Stockton gained valuable experience outside the classroom and football field, working summer internships at: Goldman Sachs, Young Entrepreneurs Across America, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and ETL Associates. Stockton was a member of the Notre Dame Wall Street club, and the Irish Around the Bend Award.
A standout high school player, Stockton was a 2009 High School All-American and the top-ranked high school football player in the state of New Jersey. He was listed as the 31st overall player in the nation (ESPN.com).
In 2013 he earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Notre Dame and earned his MBA in Corporate Finance the following year.
Deion Melvin | Inside Linebackers
Western Illinois head football coach Charlie Fisher announced the addition of inside linebackers coach Deion Melvin. He returns to Hanson Field following a playing career in the Purple & Gold and serving as an assistant coach under Randy Ball from 1993-98.
A 27-year coaching veteran working with linebackers and serving as a defensive coordinator, Melvin worked at Lindenwood (2011-16), Ball State (2009-10), Bowling Green (2007-08), Georgia Southern (2006), and Missouri State (1999-2005) following his time at Western. His coaching career started at East Aurora High School from 1990-92.
"Deion has coached a lot of football and plus he's a Leatherneck. I think anytime a guy comes back home he brings a measure of energy and loyalty that's unmatched because this is home for him. He's demonstrated that throughout the interview process and the little bit that he has been here," said Fisher.
At the college level, Melvin has coached 10 All-American linebackers and two Buck Buchanan award-winning linebackers (James Milton in 1998, Ed Hartwell eventual winner in 2000). He coached 19 all-conference linebackers, 16 academic all-conference linebackers, two players named conference players of the year, and 11 linebackers who were named as a team MVP.
Lindenwood's unit last year ranked eighth nationally in defensive touchdowns scored. Melvin also coached three different linebackers who finished first nationally for total tackles. Two of his players received the Cliff Harris Award, given to the top defensive player in Division II. He coached All-American linebacker Connor Harris who finished his career as the all-time tackles leader across all NCAA Divisions.