Defensive back coach Kirby Cannon leaves for head coaching job at Austin Peay
The news of the loss of defensive back coach Kirby Cannon came as bittersweet to head football coach Dan Enos.
Bitter because it’s never easy to replace coaches, but sweet because of the opportunity Cannon is getting to be the new head coach at Austin Peay.
“Absolutely, we’ll miss him,” Enos said. “Both as a person and as a coach. He’s a great guy, and he hits so well into the system that we have here.”
Cannon has spent the past three seasons as the defensive back coach for CMU, and his career with Enos dates back to their time at Northern Michigan University in the 1990s. Enos lauded the impact Cannon has had on the program.
“Kirby is a great coach, a solid recruiter, and he did a great job recruiting Chicago for us,” Enos said. “We were lucky to have him with us for three years.”
Enos feels the team will be able to recover from the loss of Cannon in a big way.
“As guys leave the staff and move on to new opportunities, we get the chance to go out and hire someone who will make the staff stronger,” Enos said. “Someone who can go out and recruit and, above all, will be interesting new blood into the program, get a fresh new way of doing things.”
His departure comes at the end of the career of veteran safety Jahleel Addae, and, as such, the defense will be taking quite a hit this spring.
However, Enos is emphatically optimistic that the unit will step up, led by the play of veteran safety Avery Cunningham.
“He’s a three-year starter, tremendous person on and off the field, a hard hitter, and I very much see him being able to step up and fill that leadership role,” Enos said.
In addition, Enos said other players can step up based on their experience with the program.
“We have a lot of guys who have had playing time at the position,” Enos said. “We have Jarret Chapman, Jason Wilson, Cunningham, Kavon Frazier and Brandon Greer, who have all seen minutes for us at the defensive back position, and so we have a lot of options and experience in the system with the guys back there.”
Cunningham said the loss of his position coach will have an impact on the team, but it won’t be major.
“He was a big time player’s coach, so, personally, the effect is big, because he was a good coach and a good person,” Cunningham said. “But this is the nature of college football; you lose players, lose coaches. You just have to keep going, keep playing; that’s just how it goes.”
Despite the loss of a member of the coaching staff, both Enos and Cunningham feel strongly that the team will rebound without missing a beat and will utilize the opportunity for a new coach and the ability to strengthen the program.
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