By Ray Hamill — New College of the Redwoods head coach Jason White has added two big names to his staff, as the Corsairs continue to build toward a return to the football field in 2022.
Returning to the area to join the staff are Damaro Wheeler, who will be the team’s defensive coordinator, and Maurice Purify, who will coach the receivers.
Wheeler, who most recently served as an assistant coach at South Dakota Mines, rejoins the program where he made a name for himself as a defensive coordinator/assistant head coach a few years back.
“He’s been coaching at the college level for the majority of his career, and at a variety of different levels,” White said. “And he’s got good experience recruiting.”
Local fans will know Wheeler as the last Humboldt State head coach after being put in a precarious situation by the Lumberjacks administration for that final season in 2018.
“I was really impressed with the job he did at Humboldt,” White said, referring to the difficult circumstances Wheeler found himself in. “That stuck with me. He was No. 1 on my list of guys I wanted to hire.”
Purify, meanwhile, will return to the North Coast from Arizona and will reunite with the head coach he worked with at Eureka High.
“He’s another guy who was high on my list,” White said. “The amount of knowledge he had when he coached for me at Eureka was just incredible. Really, he belongs at this level.”
Purify was a standout at Eureka High in the early 2000s, before playing collegiately at San Francisco City College and Nebraska.
He went on to play for the Cincinnati Bengals for a couple of years, as well as enjoying stints in the Arena Football League.
Wheeler’s coaching career also includes time at at UC Davis, Central Washington, Southern Oregon and Mission Bay High School in San Diego.
He played collegiately at Azusa Pacific and San Diego Mesa College.
One of his main duties with the new team will be recruiting.
After suspending football in July of 2020, the local community college reinstated the team back earlier this year on the condition there would be a greater emphasis on academics and local recruiting.
White continues to round out his staff, with some additional names expected in the near future, and says he still has a couple of spots open.