Defensive Coordinator / Safeties
Joe Schaefer joined the Youngstown State coaching staff in February under new Head Coach Doug Phillips. Schaefer will serve as the Penguins' Defensive Coordinator and coach the safeties.
Prior to coming to YSU, Schaefer spent the two successful seasons as the defensive coordinator at John Carroll.
In 2019, JCU finished with a 9-1 overall record and was 8-1 in OAC play. In eight of the 10 games, JCU held the opposition to fewer than 13 points and on nine occasions allowed 10-or-fewer points. Six members of the defensive side of the football were named All-Ohio Athletic Conference, with three players earning a first-team nod. Three members of JCU's defensive line earned all-league honors.
In his first season in 2018, the Blue Streaks' defense led Division III in sacks with 5.19 per game. His side of the ball also led the Ohio Athletic Conference in rushing defense. Eight players earned All-OAC accolades, including five of them earning first-team recognition. JCU advanced to the Division III playoffs in 2018 and finished with a 9-2 overall mark
Schaefer spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons with Iowa State as the program's Director of Scouting. At ISU, Schaefer assisted with recruiting visits and helps manage official and unofficial visits. ISU’s 2017 season was one of the best in the history of the program. The Cyclones compiled an 8-5 record, the second-most wins in school history, and scored a victory in the 2017 Liberty Bowl over Memphis, only the fourth bowl win in the history of the program. It marked the team's first appearance in the Associated Press national rankings in 12 years.
Before heading to Iowa State, Schaefer spent a brief time at the University of Maryland in 2016 as the defensive quality control coach.
A native of Parma Heights, Ohio, Schaefer was the Head Coach at Cleveland's Benedictine High School from 2013-15. Under Schaefer, the Bengals amassed a 35-6 record in his three years and captured the Ohio Division IV state title in 2014. The Bengals also reached the Division III state quarterfinals in 2015. He was as an assistant coach at the school in 2011-12.
His first coaching roles were at the University of Findlay (2009) the University of Toledo (2010-2011), where he served as a graduate assistant before returning to Benedictine.
Schaefer was a two-time team captain for Benedictine in his high school playing days and earned first-team Division III All-Ohio honors as a linebacker in 2002 and 2003. He played his college football at Bowling Green, making 44 tackles and four sacks in his final two seasons and appeared in the GMAC Bowl twice. He earned his degree from BGSU in 2008.
He and his wife, Maura, have a daughter, Mairin, and a son, Joseph.
Defensive Line Coach
Kenny McClendon will serve as the Penguins’ defensive line coach under first-year Head Coach Doug Phillips.
McClendon spent three highly-successful campaigns as the defensive line coach at Valdosta State before joining the YSU program.
In 2019, the Blazers won their first 10 games of the season before falling to eventual Division II National Champion West Florida in the opening round of the playoffs.
In 2018, McClendon helped the program with its fourth national championship in 14 years and produced the first undefeated season in school history (14-0).
McClendon coached -league performers Iseoluwapu Jegede and Joe Mozone as the VSU defense finished ninth in red-zone defense, 12th nationally in sacks at 3.29 per game, while ranking 18th in tackles for loss at 8.4 per contest. The Blazers forced 27 turnovers for the season for 11th nationally, while the 47 total sacks ranked second all-time in school history in a season.
The Saint Louis, Mo., native, came to VSU after a brief stop at Carthage College in Racine, Wis., as a special teams coordinator and defensive line coach.
Prior to that, McClendon earned a wealth of Division I experience as a graduate assistant Iowa State University in 2017, helping the Cyclones to an 8-5 record and a Liberty Bowl victory. At Iowa State, McClendon helped lead the Cyclones to a school-record for wins over ranked teams (three), victories on the road (five), wins versus conference opponents (five) and Iowa State appeared in the AP national rankings for the first time in 12 years.
McClendon served as a defensive graduate assistant at Central Michigan in 2016 helping the Chippewas to a bowl berth. He also assisted his high school alma mater DeSmet Jesuit and Lindenwood (Mo.) prior to his graduate assistant position at CMU in 2015.
McClendon earned his bachlor's degree at CMU in 2013 where he was a four-year letterwinner on the defensive line. He also has a master’s degree in management. While at CMU, he played in 47 games for the Chippewas, recording 37 tackles, 7.0 TFL and five forced fumbles.
Assistant Football Coach / Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator
Bryan Nardo, who spent the previous eight seasons as a defensive coordinator, will coach the linebackers at Youngstown State for first-year Head Coach Doug Phillips. Nardo will also serve as co-recruiting coordinator for the Penguins.
In 2018, Emporia State finished with another postseason appearance. The Hornets secured their fourth straight winning season for the first time since joining NCAA Division II and capped it off with a Corsicana Bowl Championship to finish 8-4. He helped five players earn All-MIAA honors. The success from the 2018 season helped lead to Nardo’s selection for the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute.
In 2017, the Hornets finished the season 6-5 and secured their third straight winning season for the first time since joining NCAA Division II. The 2017 defense had four players earn All-MIAA honors.
The Hornets finished the 2016 season with an 11-2 overall record, going 10-1 in the MIAA. The defense was ranked in the top three in the MIAA in defensive scoring average. Nardo's linebacker unit had two players earn All-MIAA honors.
In 2015, Nardo's defense helped lead the team to an 11-3 record and NCAA Division II playoff berth. He guided a defense that was second in the MIAA in sacks with 40 and third in the league in interceptions with 17. In 2015, they ranked top 10 in the country with 32 takeaways, 103 tackles for loss and 40 sacks. The 40 sacks were the second most in single season since the program began in 1893.
Before coming to Emporia, Nardo spent a season at Missouri S&T. Nardo joined the Missouri S&T football program for the 2011 season as the coach the linebackers and was the special teams Coordinator. He was named the Great Lakes Football Conference Assistant Coach of the Year after helping the Miners improve from a 3-8 record in 2010 to 6-5 in 2011. S&T led the GLFC in net punting, punt return yardage defense, and kickoff return yardage. The Miners were ranked 20th in NCAA Division II in yards per punt return at 5.7 yards per return.
Nardo was a graduate assistant at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio from 2008-10. While at Ohio, he coached the nickel backs and outside linebackers. During his last two seasons with the Bobcats, Nardo assisted a defensive unit at Ohio that earned bowl berths, making the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in 2009 after winning the Mid-American Conference’s Eastern Division title and the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in 2010.
Nardo served as a student coach at Ohio from 2004-08, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2008.
A native of Shadyside, Ohio, he graduated from St. John Central High School. Coaching football runs deep in the Nardo Family as his father, Perry, and two brothers, Matt and Luke, are all members of the coaching profession.
Bryan and his wife, Emma, have a young son, Dominick.
Defensive Quality Control
Evan Harvey is in his first season as a defensive quality control role for the Youngstown State program.
Harvey spent the 2019 season as the linebackers coach at John Carroll. In 2019, JCU finished with a 9-1 overall record and was 8-1 in OAC play. In eight of the 10 games, JCU held the opposition to fewer than 13 points and on nine occasions allowed 10-or-fewer points. Six members of the defensive side of the football were named All-Ohio Athletic Conference, with three players earning a first-team nod. Three members of JCU's defensive line earned all-league honors.
Harvey spent two years at Moravian College as defensive backs coach before moving on to JCU. He coached a pair of second-team all-conference honorees and Nick Zambelli was a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American.
Before his coaching career, he played linebacker at Lehigh University (2013-16). He was a recipient of the Barry Fetterman Award as a senior for exemplifying loyalty, unselfishness and dedication to Lehigh University football.
As a senior, he started all 12 contests for the Mountain Hawks at linebacker. He tied for the team lead in tackles with 72 and had a team-high-tying three interceptions. For his career he played in 34 contests for Lehigh and registered 97 total tackles.
He earned all-state and all-conference honors at American Heritage High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He is originally from Doylestown, Pa.
Assistant Coach - Cornerbacks
Former NFL cornerback Ashton Youboty is in his first season on staff at Youngstown State in 2020, serving as cornerbacks coach for the Penguins.
Youboty spent the past three years at Wisconsin serving in a variety of roles for the Badgers. He spent two seasons as a quality control specialist before moving in the role as Senior Defensive Anaylst in 2019.
A standout defensive back at Ohio State for current YSU President Jim Tressel, Youboty was named first-team All-Big Ten in 2005 and was a third-round selection, No. 70 overall, of the Buffalo Bills in the 2006 NFL Draft.
As a junior in 2005, he finished with 56 total tackles, including 43 solo stops. He had nine pass breakups and one interception. As a sophomore in 2004, he had a career-best 61 total tackles, including 47 solo stops. He had 14 pass breakups and four interceptions. In 2003, he had 14 total stops, 13 of which were solos.
Youboty went on to play five seasons in Buffalo before finishing his pro career with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011. In his NFL career, he played in 49 games and made 12 starts. He had 86 total tackles, including 73 solo stops.
His best season in the NFL was 2007 when he appeared in eleven games for the Bills and was credited with 23 tackles (22 solo), a sack and an interception.
In his first game with Jacksonville, he recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown against the Houston Texans on Nov. 27, 2011.
Youboty spent the 2016 season as a volunteer in the Miami (Fla.) recruiting department and also took part in a scouting fellowship with the Bills.
An Academic All-Big Ten selection, Youboty earned a bachelor's degree in family resource management from Ohio State. He completed graduate studies at Miami and earned an MBA in management and mergers & acquisitions in May 2017.