A coaching veteran for more than two decades, Neal Neathery was hired in March 2010 as UTSA’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. During his four seasons in the Alamo City, he has tutored 16 all-conference performers and has helped the defense record an average of 21 turnovers per year.
Last year, UTSA's defense ranked in the Conference USA top five in five different statistical categories, including second in rushing defense (140.8 ypg), and the unit forced 19 turnovers (10 fumbles/9 INTs). UTSA held a pair of foes to less than 100 yards on the ground, including a program-record minus-26 in the season-opening 27-7 win at Houston.
Defensive end Robert Singletary and free safety Triston Wade, who was one of 15 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award (nation's top defensive back), were second-team all-conference selections and linebacker Jens Jeters, defensive tackle Ashaad Mabry and defensive end Cody Rogers received honorable mention. Mabry (New Orleans Saints) and Wade (Seattle Seahwaks) were signed as undrafted free agents in May 2015, while Singletary joined the Saskatchewan Roughriders in June 2015.
In 2013, Neathery helped lead UTSA to a 7-5 overall record, including victories over a pair of bowl teams. The Roadrunners finished second in the C-USA West Division with a 6-2 mark in their first season in the league. Neathery’s defense forced 14 turnovers (6 fumbles/ 8 INTs) and allowed only 143.1 rushing yards per game in 2013, including holding three opponents to less than 100 yards.
Wade earned second-team all-conference honors, while defensive end Codie Brooks, safety Nic Johnston, linebacker Steven Kurfehs, cornerback Bennett Okotcha, Mabry and Singletary were honorable mention selections. Brooks also was named to the Conference USA All-Freshmen team.
In 2012, Neathery helped guide UTSA to an 8-4 overall record and a 3-3 mark in its first and only season in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). The campaign was highlighted by historic wins against South Alabama, the program’s first road and Football Bowl Subdivision victory, and New Mexico State, its first league win.
The defense forced 29 turnovers (16 fumbles/13 interceptions), which led to 22 scores (15 TDs/7 FGs) in 2012. Three of the team’s top five tacklers were linebackers — Brandon Reeves (1st/95), Kurfehs (4th/71) and Blake Terry (5th/64) — and the unit also combined for 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Wade earned first-team All-WAC accolades, while defensive tackle Franky Anaya, Kurfehs and Reeves were named to the second team.
The Stillwater, Okla., native helped lead the Roadrunners to a 4-6 record during their inaugural campaign in 2011. The defense allowed just 21.4 points and 126.2 yards rushing per game and forced 21 turnovers (11 fumbles/10 interceptions), which led to 15 scores. Two of the team’s top three tacklers were linebackers — Reeves (1st/69), Kurfehs (3rd/61) — and the unit combined for 190 tackles, including 16 for loss and 8.5 sacks, two interceptions (one TD), a pair of fumble recoveries and seven quarterback hurries.
Neathery came to UTSA from Drake, where he served as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under head coach Chris Creighton from 2008-09. During his two seasons in Des Moines, Iowa, the Bulldogs posted a 14-8 record and, as defensive coordinator, he guided the Bulldogs to the top 12 in four defensive categories in the final 2009 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision statistics. Drake ranked No. 2 in tackles for loss, averaging 8.8 per game; No. 5 in quarterback sacks, averaging 3.3 per contest; No. 8 in rushing defense, allowing just 90.6 yards per outing and 12th in total defense limiting opponents to 276.5 yards per game.
In 2009, Drake matched the best nine-game start in school history (8-1) en route to an 8-3 record and the Bulldogs also finished second in the Pioneer Football League with a 6-2 ledger. Neathery’s defense held opponents to 17.1 points per game and posted 39 sacks, eight interceptions and a pair of shutouts.
In his first season, the Bulldogs allowed just 17.8 points and 266.3 yards per contest and registered 14 picks and three white-washings in a 6-5 campaign.
He was the associate head coach at Wabash College from 2001-07 and was named the 2007 American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division III Assistant Coach of the Year. With Neathery serving as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, Wabash ranked fourth in NCAA Division III in total defense in 2003, No. 3 in scoring defense in 2005 and No. 8 in quarterback sacks in 2007.
Neathery was defensive coordinator at Ottawa (Kan.) University from 1997-2000. The Braves compiled a 32-7 record and won the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championship in 1997 and 2000 en route to competing in the NAIA playoffs
He began his college football coaching career at Sterling (Kan.) College, where he served as defensive line coach in 1994 and linebackers coach in 1995 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 1996.
A 1993 graduate of Wheaton (Ill.) College, he was a four-year starter at defensive end from 1989-93. Neathery served as a captain his senior year and also earned the James Parmalee Most Respected Player Award.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in business/economics and bible & theology from Wheaton in 1993 and a master’s degree in health and human performances from Fort Hayes State in 1995.
He and his wife, Rebecca, have two sons, Parker and Michael, and a daughter, Hannah.
The Neal Neathery File