Hendrix completes Furman staff; promotes Bratton, Byers

SoCon power Furman has made a key hire and a pair of in-house promotions
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Furman University again has a complete football staff with a new tight ends coach hired and promotions for some incumbent assistant coaches, including Brian Bratton – a member of FootballScoop's inaugural Minority Coaches Watch List.

To again get his coaching roster full, Clay Hendrix tapped Nick Verna from University of Charleston (W. Va.) as the Paladins' tight ends coach.

Verna had spent the previous three seasons at Charleston and coached wideouts for the program in the 2021 spring campaign.

An Akron graduate who spent four years on staff with the Zips in various graduate assistant and similar roles, Verna saw Charleston wideout Michael Strachan drafted this year by the NFL's Indianapolis Colts in the seventh round – the program's first-ever NFL Draft pick.

A former Furman standout who starred in the Canadian Football League and has earned opportunities with the NFL's Minority Internship program, Bratton has added the role of passing game coordinator to his wide receivers' coaching duties.

That leaves Chad Byers with a promotion to become Furman's special teams coordinator, filling the role recently held by Bratton.

"Brian Bratton has been a terrific coach, staff member, recruiter, and mentor to our players," Hendrix said in a Furman statement. "This promotion and new role will allow us to fully utilize his strengths as we continue to build our program.

“He did a great job in coordinating our special teams, and we will still use his experience to a degree in that area.”

Dru Duke was earlier promoted to offensive line coach for the Paladins when Pete Lusk elected to exit college coaching and enter law school.

Furman is coming off a disappointing 3-4 spring season after spending its first three years under Hendrix either sharing in Southern Conference titles or advancing into the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs – or both.

The Paladins open their 2021 campaign Sept. 4 at home against North Carolina A&T.