JONESBORO, Ark. (3/9/18) – Arkansas State head football coach Blake Anderson announced Friday the addition of Chris Buckner, who has coached on five conference or division championship teams over the last eight seasons, to the Red Wolves’ staff as outside wide receivers coach.
Buckner, a four-year football letterman at New Mexico State from 2006-09, comes to A-State after most recently spending the last two seasons at Western New Mexico as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He began his coaching career at Jackson State in 2010 and since that time has seen 13 of his players earn all-conference recognition, including two All-America selections and two named either conference Offensive Player or Receiver of the Year.
During his time directing Western New Mexico’s offense, the squads ranked among the top 28 FCS teams in the nation in passing offense in both 2016 and 2017. His 2016 unit averaged 285.5 passing yards per game that was the 16th most in the nation. The Mustangs averaged 407.9 yards total offense per game in 2017, the same year their passing game ranked 28th in the country.
He served as the position coach for quarterback Javia Hall, who earned All-Lone Star Conference (LSC) honors his senior season while raking fourth in the nation completions per game (25.5), 13th in total offense (306.6 ypg), 18th in passing yards (3,006) and 26th in passing touchdowns (24).
Working as offensive coordinator, he also coached All-LSC selections Xavier Ayers (WR), D’Angelo Bowie (WR), Evan Beebe (WR), Sean North (WR) and Iverson Moana (OL). Ayers was named the 2016 Lone Star Conference Receiver of the Year and AFCA First Team All-American after recording 80 receptions for 1,025 yards and nine touchdowns.
Prior to his time at WNMU, Buckner spent the 2014 and 2015 campaigns as the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina Central. He helped guide the Eagles to back-to-back Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) titles.
The 2014 MEAC championship was their first since 1973, and the squad also collected seven victories for the program’s most since 2006. The following season in 2015, North Carolina Central posted an 8-3 record on their way to the league title.
Buckner coached wideouts Adrian Wilkins and Quentin Atkins to an All-MEAC season in 2014, when the two players combined for 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns to help the Eagles rank second in the conference in passing yards per game (203.8).
A-State’s new outside wide receivers coached spent one season at Savannah State in 2013 as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. That season, the Tigers averaged 209.7 yards passing per game to rank second in the MEAC.
Buckner tutored All-MEAC wide receiver Simon Heyward, who ranked among the top 10 players in the league in both receptions (36) and receiving yards (572). Tight end Kris Drummond also earned All-MEAC recognition with Buckner serving as co-offensive coordinator.
Following his graduation from New Mexico State University, Buckner joined the Jackson State staff as a graduate assistant coach in 2010 and was elevated to wide receivers and tight ends coach for both the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Jackson State claimed the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) East Division championship every year during Buckner’s time at the school. His final year with the program saw the Tigers post a 7-2 SWAC record and play in the league’s championship game.
He mentored wideout Rico Richardson, the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year who went on to sign a NFL rookie free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. Richardson also spent time with the Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers.
Buckner’s wide receivers and tight ends were key components to Jackson State’s 2011 offense, which averaged an FCS-best 490 yards per game. The squad posted a 9-2 overall record and following the season, Richardson and tight end Renty Rollins were named All-SWAC. Rollins was also tabbed an HBCU All-American for his performance.
The Tigers posted a 6-3 SWAC record in 2010 to win the East Division, and they recorded 4,539 yards total offense to rank ninth in the nation.
A native of Arlington, Texas, Buckner played both wide receiver (2006-07) and defensive back (2008-09) at New Mexico State, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2009. He played in 47 career games with the Aggies, finishing his career with 44 receptions for 359 yards on the offensive side of the ball. Playing as a defensive back his last two seasons, Buckner posted 46 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.
In May 2010, he went through OTAs with the Dallas Cowboys, and then moved on to Jackson State to begin his coaching career.