As football provided Devin Bice a conduit to an education at renowned Southern Conference resident The Citadel, Bice pretty early in his playing career determined he wanted to stay with the sport in a coaching capacity.
So the Bonifay, Florida, native finished up a decorated career with the Bulldogs and returned to his home state, where he helped coach his brother, Justice, en route to his own path into college.
But Bice – who joined The Citadel as a tight end and then became a multi-year starter on the offensive line after the program switched to the triple-option offense – didn’t take a direct path back into the college ranks.
He coached a trio of years, including time at both Nease and Creekside high schools in Florida, before getting a break to return to the collegiate level.
Now, Bice – a member of FootballScoop’s 2022 Minority Rising Stars Watch List – is getting his top opportunity thus far on the collegiate level; he’s set to become the next offensive line coach at NCAA Division II program West Alabama.
“I knew I always wanted to be a coach,” Bice told FootballScoop. “After I returned home to coach in high school and then my brother went to play in college, I decided to pursue the college coaching path.”
Notable stops for Bice included a graduate assistant stint on Dave Doeren’s North Carolina State staff, helping the Wolfpack to an 8-4 2020 season that culminated with a Gator Bowl berth, and then the 2021 season at noted NCAA Division III program Centre College, where the Colonels posted an 8-2 ledger.
Now, Bice is already climbing the career ladder up to scholarship football with his decision to join Brett Gilliland’s West Alabama Tigers’ staff.
“They interviewed me last week on Zoom,” Bice said. “I drove down last weekend, walked around, got to meet the coaching staff. I loved it.
“It’s a really good program with a lot of tradition, and I think it’s going to be really good for me and my family.”
Family is front and center for Bice, who’s married and the father of three – including two young daughters who already have made clear the intentions to yell alongside West Alabama’s cheerleaders.
As for Bice’s coaching style, he builds a bond with his charges – oftentimes over bottles of maple syrup.
“For me, I’m huge with rewarding my guys,” Bice said. “We do a bottle of syrup for pancake blocks. Guys get a lunch pail to carry around when they’re our ‘Offensive Lineman of the Week.’
“I’m a believer that offensive line play can be fun. You have to have the mentality of being physical and loving the position. I try to treat my guys right and make it fun for them. Just making sure that the position is fun but keeping them accountable and being physical. If you’re pancaking a guy and being physical up front, you’re winning every rep.”