The 2013 season will be Darnell’s 45th year in coaching as he arrives from Texas State (NCAA-I, BCS) where he spent two seasons as offensive line coach under Bobcats head coach Dennis Franchione. Darnell was the offensive coordinator at Missouri State in 2004 and 2005 under head coach Randy Ball and guided a Bears offense that averaged 350 years per game and 27 points per contest in each of his two seasons while setting seven school records on offense.
“Dennis has been a very good friend of mine for the past nine years,” said Illum, who was an assistant at Missouri State with Darnell. “I learned so much as I worked alongside him on the Missouri State staff and to now have his knowledge, experience and work ethic here at Evangel is such a boost to our program. Dennis is of the highest character and I know that he will take our offensive schemes and personnel to the next level.”
Darnell has also been an offensive coordinator at Northern Colorado (NCAA-I, BCS) and served as an assistant at other NCAA-I programs including New Mexico for seven seasons, Utah State, two stints at Drake, Southeast Missouri State, Wake Forest and Wichita State (in 1973).
He served as head coach at East Central (Okla.) in NCAA-II and was named the Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year in 2001. Darnell also had a five-year stint as head coach at Missouri Western from 1886-1990. He was the head coach at Republic High School in 2006 and also served Sullivan High School as head coach in 1971-72. As a player, Darnell was an offensive lineman for Missouri State from 1966-68 and part of the Bears 1966 MIAA Championship team. He graduated from Missouri State with a degree in Physical Education in 1969.
Darnell replaces Joe Bever who has accepted a position as wide receivers coach at Indiana State (NCAA-I, FCS) after three years with Evangel.
“Joe was my first hire here at Evangel three years ago and I am forever indebted to him for all he did to help bring this program back to being a winner,” said Illum. “Joe is a tremendous offensive mind and has the character that will propel him to impact lives through a long and successful career in this profession.”
The Crusaders ended last season 7-4 and ranked 23rd nationally in the final NAIA poll.