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Wesleyan University Ushers New Era with Bradley J. Sherrod

05.16.2024 | By: Wesleyan University
Bradley J. Sherrod

Bradley J. Sherrod, a dynamic coach and successful recruiter, has been named Wesleyan University’s new head football coach, representing a new era for Rams football. With a proven track record in coaching championship teams, Sherrod will begin immediately to prepare student-athletes for the 2024 season. 

“As TXWES continues to invest in excellence both on and off the field, the future of our football program is incredibly bright with Coach Sherrod at the helm,” Ricky Dotson, athletic director, said. “Our search committee spent months working to find our next leader. At the end of our efforts, we overwhelmingly recognized that Brad is skilled in developing elite student-athletes and fosters dynamic, winning teams while maintaining a high-level of integrity. He has extensive experience in recruiting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and this will take our football program to a whole new level.” 

As one of the college’s top defensive minds, Sherrod has elevated football programs at some of the most nationally known colleges and universities, with his most recent tenure at the University of -San Antonio (UTSA), where he helped lead the Roadrunners to their greatest successes in program history. 

" Wesleyan is excited to welcome Coach Sherrod,” Wesleyan University President Emily W. Messer said. “I look forward to his leadership and elevating our program to new heights. I also want to commend Athletic Director Ricky Dotson and the entire search committee for leading a comprehensive and thorough national search bringing such a high caliber head football coach as Brad to our University.” 

"TXWES is a special place and serving as the head coach is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Sherrod said. “I am excited to lead our outstanding student-athletes. Integrity, enthusiasm, toughness, servitude and excellence must be applied on and off the field at all times. These attributes build great programs and I'm look forward adding to the TXWES legacy of winning.” 

Sherrod’s Record of Excellence 

During his first year at UTSA, Sherrod helped lead the team to a 12-2 record, their first conference title, and a top 25 national ranking. The Roadrunners also made their second straight bowl appearance and set numerous school records under his leadership. 

Under Sherrod’s leadership, UTSA was ranked in the top 25 nationally in turnovers forced, rushing defense and sacks. Nationally recognized linebackers Trevor Harmanson and Jamal Ligon earned all-conference recognition. Additionally, the Roadrunners emerged as one of the best in the FBS in turnover-margin, with 25 takeaways and a national No. 10 ranking. UTSA also finished with a No. 14 national ranking in rushing defense and No. 4 nationally with 14 fumble recoveries. The defense recorded 88 tackles for loss in 2021, including a school-record of 33 sacks, with first team all-conference performer Clarence Hicks with a program-record of 10.5 sacks. 

In his second season at UTSA, Sherrod helped lead the Roadrunners to an 11-3 record and another conference title. Additionally, the team continued to set school records and earned top conference rankings in multiple defense categories. The Roadrunners were ranked in the top 25 in all three major polls during the year and capped the campaign in the Cure Bowl, their third consecutive bowl appearance. UTSA's defense ranked in the top three in C-USA in eight different statistical categories, including second in tackles for loss per game and third in both total and scoring defense. UTSA also set single-season school records for interceptions (15), passes defended (84), tackles (956) and solo stops (530). 
 
Sherrod saw both of his starting inside linebackers recognized by the league. Jamal Ligon was a second-team all-conference selection after leading UTSA with 90 total tackles, including 43 solo stops, six tackles for loss and a sack, to go with four quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, one recovery and a pass breakup. Trevor Harmanson ranked third on the team with 68 tackles, six TFLs, two hurries, a pair of PBUs and a forced fumble en route to honorable mention all-conference accolades. 

Before serving UTSA, Sherrod spent more than a decade on the coaching staff at his alma mater, Duke University. Sherrod came to UTSA from Tennessee State where he was the Tigers’ safeties coach in 2020, a season that quickly was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His extensive coaching career also included coaching stints at Delaware, East Tennessee State, Elon, Massachusetts, Sam Houston State, Wake Forest and Western Carolina. 
  
Additionally, prior to Tennessee State, Sherrod spent three seasons as the outside linebackers coach at Wake Forest. There, he coached Justin Strnad, a 2020 fifth-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos. Strnad led all Atlantic Coast Conference linebackers and finished third nationally with three interceptions in 2017. 
  
In his first season with the program, he helped lead the Demon Deacons to a Belk Bowl victory over A&M University to cap an 8-5 season. The defense broke the school record for tackles for loss in a season and also recorded 17 tackles for loss against Florida State University, the most by a Power 5 Conference team in a single game during the 2017 season. 
  
Sherrod also helped guide Wake Forest University’s to a seven-win season and a Birmingham Bowl victory over Memphis in 2018. The following year, the Demon Deacons posted an 8-4 regular season record and made an appearance in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. 
  
Prior to Wake Forest, Sherrod spent three years at Sam Houston State, where he was on the same staff as Rod Wright. He was co-defensive coordinator for his first two seasons before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2016. The Bearkats went 34-10, earned three FCS playoff berths, won a Southland Conference title, defeated nine top-25 opponents and posted a pair of top-four national finishes during his three-year tenure in Huntsville. 
  
While at Sam Houston, he coached a pair of All-Americans and eight all-conference performers. He mentored P.J. Hall, a current NFL defensive lineman who was a Buck Buchanan finalist, first-team All-American and Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. He also tutored Justin Johnson to first-team All-America and all-conference accolades. 
  
In 2016, he helped Sam Houston post a 12-1 record and achieve a No. 1 ranking in the FCS final regular season poll. The Bearkats lost to eventual national champion James Madison in the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs. 
  
Sherrod served as the defensive coordinator at Elon in 2013 after a three-year stint as the linebackers coach at Delaware where he coached current NFL veteran Paul Worrilo, a first team all-conference performer, the conference’s defensive rookie of the year, Jeff Williams and all-conference linebacker Matt Marcorelle. In his first year with the Blue Hens in 2010, the program went 12-3 and advanced to the FCS title game. That year the Delaware defense led the FCS in scoring defense (12.1 points per game) and was fifth in total defense (280.7 yards per game). 
  
Sherrod spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons at Western Carolina, where he coached running backs and linebackers. 
  
He spent 11 seasons on the staff at his alma mater, Duke, where he tutored the linebackers for nine years from 1997 to 2005, tight ends in 2006 and running backs in his final two campaigns. He tutored several standout players, including Chike Egbuniwe, all-conference linebacker Ryan Fowler and Ryan Stallmeyer, who all finished their careers in Duke’s career top 10 for tackles. He also mentored Mike Brown Tauiliili, who earned freshman All-American honors in 2005 and went on to garner All-American and first-team all-conference honors after leading the league in tackles as a senior. 
  
Sherrod’s coaching career began in 1995 at UMass, where he served as a graduate assistant for the defensive tackles before heading to East Tennessee State as linebackers coach in 1996. He helped lead ETSU to a No. 8 national ranking, a 10-3 record and the second round of the FCS playoffs. 
  
He served two internships in the NFL, spending the summer of 1998 with the Dallas Cowboys and the 2000 preseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sherrod is a 2007 graduate of the NCAA Expert Coaches Academy.  
  
Sherrod signs to play at Duke University 

During his playing career at Duke from 1990-93 as a linebacker, Sherrod was known as a leader on the field and in the classroom. Sherrod served as team captain, earning second team All-ACC and Academic All-ACC honors as a senior in 1993 when he led the Blue Devils and ranked fifth in the ACC with 113 total tackles. He had 279 career stops during his Duke career from 1990-93.  

 

Sherrod continues his education 

Sherrod earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Duke in 1993 and a master’s degree in sports management from Western Carolina University in 2022.  
 
  
Coaching Experience Timeline 
1995: UMass (graduate assistant/defensive tackles) 
1996: East Tennessee State (linebackers) 
1997-2005: Duke (linebackers) 
2006: Duke (tight ends) 
2007: Duke (running backs) 
2008-09: Western Carolina (running backs, linebackers) 
2010-12: Delaware (assistant head coach/linebackers) 
2013: Elon (defensive coordinator) 
2014-15: Sam Houston State (co-defensive coordinator/linebackers) 
2016: Sam Houston State (defensive coordinator/linebackers) 
2017-19: Wake Forest (outside linebackers) 
2020: Tennessee State (safeties) 
2021-present: UTSA (linebackers) 

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