Southern coach Dawson Odums set to hire three coaches 

Six weeks after being named Southern’s new head football coach, Dawson Odums seems to have a handle on who will make up his first coaching staff.

Odums said Tuesday he has offered jobs to three new assistants and is waiting for the university to approve their hiring.

Chennis Berry is in line to coach the offensive line, Lorick Atkinson the linebackers and Chris Coleman the wide receivers.

Those three additions would bring the number of Southern assistants to eight.

Odums, who served as Southern’s interim coach for the final nine games of the 2012 season, said the only other hire he plans to make is a video coordinator.

“Other than that, that’s going to pretty much be it, and we’re going to see if we can’t go win some football games,” Odums said.

Odums said he is undecided on which of the eight assistants would serve as his offensive and defensive coordinators, but indicated both sides of the ball could have co-coordinators. The former Southern defensive coordinator said he will help coach the defense but will not again serve as a coordinator.

Five assistants return from last year’s staff.

Running backs coach Elvis Joseph, defensive line coach Myron Jackson and quarterbacks coach Chad Germany return in the same capacity. Marty Biagi, the special teams coach last year, will coach the defensive secondary. Lionel Mitchell, the son of former Southern coach Stump Mitchell, will assist Biagi in the secondary after serving as a defensive assistant last year.

Berry and Atkinson both have coordinator’s experience.

Berry, a Savannah State graduate, served as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at North Carolina A&T and Morgan State in previous stops. More recently, he served as the offensive line coach at Howard University.

“He’s been an offensive coordinator. He’s structured, runs a no-huddle, and he seems to like playing fast,” Odums said.

Atkinson finished an eight-year run at Gardner-Webb as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. He then spent 2005-07 as the head coach at Division II Chowan University before resigning in February 2008.

Atkinson was on the staff at Gardner-Webb in the late 1990s when Odums got his first taste of college coaching.

Coleman and Odums share Shelby, N.C., as a hometown as well as Crest High School as an alma mater.

After starring alongside Torry Holt and Koren Robinson at North Carolina State, Coleman spent two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, playing in 29 career games from 2001-02 as a receiver and return man.