WKU Football adds Davis Merritt and Jamar Chaney as Linebackers Coaches

As spring ball gets underway, WKU Head Coach Tyson Helton has completed his coaching staff with the hiring of Davis Merritt and Jamar Chaney.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 3:39 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - As spring ball gets underway, WKU Head Coach Tyson Helton has completed his coaching staff with the hiring of Davis Merritt and Jamar Chaney to coach the team’s linebackers.

Merritt will serve as WKU’s inside linebackers coach while Chaney will lead the outside linebackers.

Merritt joins the Hilltoppers after a successful two-year run at Georgia where he helped the Bulldogs win back-to-back National Championships. He served as a defensive quality control coordinator while helping assemble one of the most dominant defenses in all of college football.

In 2022, Georgia went a perfect 15-0 with a win over LSU to claim the SEC Championship before moving on to the Peach Bowl where the Bulldogs beat Ohio State in the College Football Playoff Semifinal to move on to the National Championship. The Georgia defense provided an elite performance in the championship game, limiting TCU to just one score in a dominant 65-7 victory. Under Merritt’s leadership, Georgia’s defense was just as good the year before when they defeated Alabama, 33-18, to claim their first of two-straight National Championships. The 2021 Bulldog defense surrendered just 6.7 points per game, including three shutouts and eight games in which they allowed seven points or less. Following that dominant season, Georgia saw eight defensive players drafted into the NFL, including five first-round picks in the 2022 draft. Two of those eight draft picks were Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean who both played linebacker under Merritt.

Before his time at Georgia, Merritt spent the 2020 campaign at Ole Miss as a senior defensive player personnel analyst. That was after a three-year stint at Florida Atlantic as a defensive quality control assistant. FAU won two Conference USA Championships and two bowl games during that span. Merritt began his coaching career at Mississippi State as a student assistant, working primarily with defensive backs from 2011-13. He then went to Ole Miss for his first run with the Rebels where he was a volunteer assistant for the 2013 campaign before serving as a graduate assistant from 2014-16. During his time at Ole Miss, the Rebels won the 2015 Sugar Bowl against No. 16 Oklahoma State. Originally from Hattiesburg, Miss., Merritt owns a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Mississippi State.

He is joined in Bowling Green by his wife, Kathleen, and two daughters Molly and Ellie.

Chaney makes his way to The Hill by way of the University of Florida where he was a recruiting coordinator and defensive analyst working with the team’s linebackers in 2022. Chaney and the Gators started the season with a big win over No. 7 Utah before eventually earning an appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl. Chaney also spent the 2019 campaign with Florida as the assistant director of player personnel. That year, Florida went an impressive 11-2, capped by a 36-28 victory over Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Between stops at Florida, Chaney worked as a senior defensive analyst for his alma mater, Mississippi State. The 2021 season saw the Bulldogs play in the Liberty Bowl and earn big victories over Texas A&M and Auburn.

Before joining Florida to break into the college coaching ranks, Chaney was head coach of his alma mater, St. Lucie West Centennial High School, where he went 11-8-1 and coached the school to its first playoff appearance in seven seasons. Chaney played linebacker at Mississippi State for four seasons and was a team captain for three while making 286 tackles and six sacks in 49 games. He earned All-SEC recognition in 2007 after leading MSU with 89 tackles on the season. His efforts led to him being selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Chaney would go on to also play for the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.

Chaney is joined on The Hill by his wife, Shamira, and four children Rhaelyn, Eli, Leo and Teo.