Segrest left mark on Bielema in LR

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Saturday, January 11, 2014
Rory Segrest coached four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before returning to Samford in 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Rory Segrest coached four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before returning to Samford in 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

FAYETTEVILLE - New Arkansas defensive line coach Rory Segrest’s “in” with his new boss wasn’t a product of some long-standing friendship.

In fact, Segrest had already made an impression on Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema by the first time they met following the Razorbacks’ 31-21 victory over Samford in Little Rock last Sept. 7 when Segrest was coaching the Bulldogs’ defensive line and specialists.

“The only time I really ever met Coach Bielema was after the game when we played them up there,”Segrest said during a teleconference Friday. “He came over … and was complimenting what he had seen on film from us prior to our game, as far as special teams and defensive line play.

“That was my only inter-action with him prior to coming up on the interview.”

Bielema was impressed enough with Segrest’s work and how he was perceived by other coaches in the business that he hired the 40-year-old former Alabama player to replace Charlie Partridge this week as his defensive line and specialists coach.

Segrest signed an offer letter for $225,000 on Wednesday to complete Bielema’s staff.

A freshman on Alabama’s 1992 national championship team under Gene Stallings, Segrest suffered a back injury that cut short his playing career and gave him a start in coaching when he joined the Crimson Tide as a student assistant in 1995.

“I kind of got my foot in the door,” Segrest said. “It was a blessing in disguise because it got me a good jump start to my career, and I’ve obviously been around a lot of great coaches and learned a lot of football.”

Segrest has a rare coaching background in that he sandwiched two stints totaling eight years at tiny Samford, a private Football Championship Subdivision school in Birmingham, Ala., with a five-year career on Andy Reid’s staff with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I had several opportunities to move on to bigger jobs with offers from BCS programs, but there was nothing I thought was worth moving my family for until now,” he said. “I didn’t want to make a move just to be looking for the next move, and I knew if I was patient and kept working hard an opportunity like this would present itself.”

Segrest said he was thankful defensive end Trey Flowers announced this week he was returning for his senior season and that he had watched as much film on the Razorbacks’ returning talent as he could the last couple of days.

“There are a lot of young guys coming back,” Segrest said. “There is a lot of talent up front, a lot of guys who need to be developed, and I’m definitely looking forward to that challenge working with them.”

Segrest said he has been recruiting the Florida panhandle and the Gulf coasts of Alabama and Mississippi at Samford, and has lots of experience recruiting in Alabama and Georgia and other Southern states during his career. He said he is still discussing his primary recruiting areas with Bielema.

Rory Segrest glance

POSITION Defensive line, specialists AGE 40 (born May 20, 1973) HOMETOWN Waycross, Ga.

FAMILY Wife, Jackie; son, James ALMA MATER Alabama (Health care management, 1996)

COACHING HISTORY Alabama student assistant (1994-1995), graduate assistant in strength and conditioning (1996); Auburn graduate assistant defense (1997-1999); Southeast Missouri State defensive line (1999-2001) and recruiting coordinator (2000-2001); Samford defensive line and special teams coordinator (2002-2005); Philadelphia Eagles quality control (2006-2007), special teams coordinator (2007-2009), defensive line (2009-2010); Samford defensive line and special teams coordinator (2011-2013)

Sports, Pages 19 on 01/11/2014