It’s not often you get 20 years of coaching experience, 15 years of training in the National Football League (NFL), two NFL Super Bowl rings, and an NFL Players Association leader in the hiring of assistant college football coaches.
But, that’s exactly what Bluefield College got when it hired former NFL players and promising coaches Mike Compton and Stacey Hairston as assistant coaches for the new Rams football team.
In front of football boosters, faculty, staff, students and the media, during a press conference on the BC campus, Wednesday, May 4, the college introduced Compton and Hairston as the newest additions to Rams football.
“I couldn’t ask for two better men to help me launch the new program at Bluefield,” said head coach Mike Gravier. “They are as excited as I am to build this program from the ground up, and they’re determined to do whatever it takes to help us be successful.”
Bluefield College formally announced the return of its intercollegiate football program in June of 2010 after nearly 70 years without the sport. Shortly thereafter, the school introduced Gravier as the coach to lead the revival toward club competition in the fall of 2011 and intercollegiate play in the fall of 2012.
Joining Coach Gravier as an assistant coach in charge of the offensive line will be Compton, a Richlands, Virginia, native who played collegiate football at West Virginia University, where he was a three-year starter at center from 1990-1992, a two-time All-Big East Conference recipient in 1991 and 1992, and a consensus All-American in 1992. While in college, Compton also won the Red Brown Cup Award as WVU’s most outstanding athlete in 1992 and the Ideal Mountaineer Award in 1990 and 1992.
“Coach Gravier has been charged with the task of starting a football program and bringing in the right people to get it going,” said Athletics Director Pete Dryer. “He has brought in two individuals in Mike and Stacey that will assist in launching this program in the right direction.”
After college, Compton took his talent to the NFL, where he played as an offensive lineman eight years for the Detroit Lions, three years for the New England Patriots, and one year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. During his time with the Patriots, Compton won two Super Bowl rings.
“Throughout Mike’s experiences in college and in the NFL, he’s learned how to prepare himself to be successful,” said Coach Gravier. “Having the career he’s had doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work. I know that Mike will do a great job using his experiences to mold our players into successful young men.”
Compton began his coaching career back home in Tazewell County as an assistant coach for football for two seasons at Tazewell High School, where he was in charge of the offensive and defensive lines and the punting unit. He left Tazewell in 2008 to become the head coach for football at Patrick Henry High School in Glade Spring, Virginia. There, he began to rebuild that program that had struggled for years.
“Mike has built great relationships with the high school coaches in southwest Virginia that will pay dividends for us,” said Coach Gravier. “Stacey has been a college and professional coach for more than 12 years. He knows what it takes to bring in great student athletes. Both of these men will be huge assets on the recruiting trail. They bring instant credibility with them wherever they go.”
Hairston, who will join the BC staff as defensive coordinator, played collegiate football at Ohio Northern University, before being signed in 1989 as a free agent in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. After a season with Dallas, Hairston spent the next two years, 1990-1992, in the Canadian Football League (CFL) as a defensive back and special teams player with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, before returning to the NFL to play defensive back and special teams for the Cleveland Browns, where was an integral part of the number one ranked defense in the NFL in 1994.
“Stacey has worked hard for everything he has,” said Coach Gravier. “As an NCAA Division III athlete trying to make it at the professional level, he had to work hard and be determined. He approaches coaching the same way. He is determined to help our guys be successful, to help them reach their full potential.”
Hairston began his coaching career as an assistant football coach at his alma mater, Ohio Northern University, where for seven seasons, 1996-2003, he coached defensive backs and special teams. In 2003, after a short stint as interim head coach, he was promoted to co-defensive coordinator and co-special teams coordinator, a position he held until 2008.
A member of the Black Coaches and Administrators Association, the American Football Coaches Association and a former vice president of the NFL Players Association, Hairston became an assistant coach for the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL in 2008, where he coached defensive backs until being called to Bluefield this spring.
“We’re thrilled to have this level of experience on the Rams staff,” said Dryer. “Both Mike and Stacey have demonstrated the highest level of commitment in their profession. Not only are they interested in seeing great things happen on the field, but they also desire great things for student-athletes in the classroom and in life after college. This makes the experience of playing football at Bluefield College life-changing and very unique.”