Kansas Adds Jake Schoonover to Coaching Staff


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Courtesy of Kansas Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football coach Les Miles announced Monday that Jake Schoonover has been hired as the program’s special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach. Schoonover brings more than 10 years of coaching experience with him to the Jayhawks.

“We are excited to be adding Jacob to our coaching staff,” Miles said. “He is a hard-working coach with an impressive background. He has extensive experience with linebackers and special teams, making him a strong fit with our staff. He has a proven track record of coordinating good special teams units and developing defensive players. He also has premium experience recruiting Kansas, Missouri and this entire region.

“This will also allow Jonathan Wallace to focus solely on coaching our deep and talented running back group.”

Schoonover comes to Kansas after spending the past three seasons at Bowling Green. He joined the staff in 2018 as linebackers coach, before adding special teams responsibilities one season later. He also coached safeties during his time with the Falcons.

This past season, Bowling Green was second in the MAC in kickoff returns and fourth in punt returns. The Falcons also ranked fifth in field goal percentage and were perfect on extra-point attempts. In 2019, Bowling Green’s special teams unit blocked a punt, blocked a field goal and forced two muffed kicks in the same game, topping rival Toledo 20-7.

Also in 2020, linebacker Darren Anders finished fifth in the MAC in tackles per game at 11.0 and was named Academic All-MAC.

Prior to his time at Bowling Green, Schoonover spent seven seasons at Illinois State. He began his career with the Redbirds as the linebackers coach in 2011, before adding the title of special teams coordinator in 2013.

Schoonover mentored some of the top linebackers in the history of the Illinois State program during his time there, including middle linebacker Pat Meehan, who earned back-to-back first-team all-conference honors.

In his role as special teams coordinator, Schoonover worked with kicker Nick Aussieker, who finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 310 points. In 2014, punter CJ Laros earned second-team all-conference honors and averaged 40.6 yards per punt, which went down as the third-best single-season mark in school history.

The Redbirds also had a prolific return game under Schoonover, similar to Bowling Green. In his first year, Illinois State returned both a punt and a kickoff in the same season for the first time in more than five years. Punt returner Tevin Allen also earned postseason honors for the Redbirds, averaging a league-best 27.9 yards per return.

Schoonover spent the 2010 season at Illinois Wesleyan, where he coached defensive backs and assisted with special teams duties. In 2009, Schoonover was an assistant at Illinois State, working with the program’s offensive line and wide receivers.

He played collegiately at Missouri Western State, where he started 30 games at linebacker and was a team captain. He played two seasons for the arena league Peoria Pirates as a linebacker and wide receiver.

Schoonover earned a degree in physical education from Missouri Western in 2008 and received a master’s degree in sports management with a concentration in administration in 2010 from American Public University.

Schoonover and his wife, Katherine, have one son, Jackson, and one daughter, Kenley.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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