JONESBORO, Ark. (2/13/18) – Arkansas State head football coach Blake Anderson announced Tuesday multiple additions to the Red Wolves’ coaching and support staffs, including outside wide receivers coach Gunnard Twyner and outside linebackers coach Nick Paremski, as well as modifications to multiple coaching position titles and responsibilities.
Norval McKenzie has been elevated to special teams coordinator while retaining his role as running backs coach, which he has held since 2016. Defensively, fifth-year safeties and nickelbacks coach Allen Johnson will also serve as passing game coordinator, while fifth-year defensive line coach Brian Early will be the running game coordinator.
Scotty Conley has been named Assistant Athletics Director for Football Operations, Pat Ivey was recently elevated to Assistant Athletics Director for Athletics Performance, and Chris Buttgen returns to his alma mater as Director of Football Video.
Twyner will join A-State after most recently spending last season as the wide receivers coach at Lafayette in Easton, Pa., but also has experience as an NFL player and assistant coach at Western Illinois and Dodge City (Kan.) Community College.
His lone season with Leopards saw his receiving corps account for 126 receptions resulting in 1,255 yards and 10 touchdowns. The unit was led by senior Rocco Palumbo with 48 catches for 462 yards and four touchdowns, while three receivers caught at least 20 passes.
Twyner spent the 2013-16 seasons at Dodge City, where he coached current A-State and All-Sun Belt Conference wide receiver Justin McInnis in 2015 when he caught 49 passes for 964 yards and seven touchdowns.
Prior to Dodge City, Twyner served as the wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Western Illinois, from 2010-13. During his time with the Panthers, one of his wide outs earned All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team honors each season.
Twyner and his two all-conference receivers, Lito Senatus and Terriun Crump, hold down the second, third, and fourth spots all-time in receiving yards at Western Illinois, where Twyner was an All-Gateway Conference First Team selection from 1993-95 before graduating in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design.
Following his graduation, he played in the NFL from 1996-99, initially signing with Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent. Twyner, who also spent five seasons in the Arena Football League, played with the New Orleans Saints from 1997-99 and attended the Jacksonville Jaguars training camp in 2000.
While he was still playing professional football, he obtained his first coaching job as the wide receivers coach at Estero (Fla.) High School in 2002. He later served as the head football coach at John F. Kenney (Md.) High School in 2006-07. Taking over a program that had not won a game in four seasons, Twyner turned the 2006 squad into a 10-2 team that advanced to the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs. He was named the Maryland Coach of the Year, and the following season JFK went 9-3 while once again advancing to the playoffs.
Paremski spent 10 seasons at West Texas A&M from 2006-15, including the last three as defensive coordinator, and joins A-State as an assistant coach after also spending the 2016 campaign with the Red Wolves when the squad won the Sun Belt Conference championship and defeated UCF in the Cure Bowl.
He served as the cornerbacks coach his first season at West Texas A&M before moving to defensive backs and being named the recruiting coordinator for the 2007 campaign. He continued in that role from 2008-13, but was also elevated to assistant head coach during that period.
During his time with the Buffaloes, he helped lead the program to Lone Star Conference (LSC) championships in 2006, 2007 and 2012. The 2012 squad was also Super Region 4 champions and a national semifinalist.
West Texas A&M ranked first in the conference in multiple defensive categories at least once during his tenure, including turnovers forced, pass efficiency defense and passing yards allowed. The 2013 team was No. 7 in the nation in turnovers forced, while also ranking third in tackles for loss. His 2015 defensive unit ended the year No. 8 in the country in turnover margin and No. 19 in tackles for loss.
Paremski coached 12 NFL or CFL players at West Texas A&M, while also mentoring 20 first team All-Lone Star Conference selections. He developed three players named the Lone Star Conference Defensive Back of the Year, one LSC Linebacker of the Year and two LSC Freshman of the Year choices.
Prior to West Texas A&M, Paremski served as a graduate assistant coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville from 2004-05. The 2004 season saw the Javelinas win the Lone Star title while he was coaching cornerbacks and safeties. He coached three All-Lone Star Conference players, including NFL free agent Michael Bragg.
Paremski earned his Masters of Business Administration from Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2006, and he also holds his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
His first coaching position came at Holmen (Wis.) High School, where he was in charge of the defensive backs from 2002-04. He helped lead the football team to the Mississippi Valley Conference championship in both 2002 and 2003.
Conley comes to A-State as the Assistant Athletics Director for Football Operations after spending the 2016-17 seasons as Director of High School Relations. He originally went to North Texas in 2009, working as the Assistant Athletics Director for Football Operations until 2015. He is also a coaching veteran with over 40 years of experience at the NCAA FBS, Division II and III, junior college and high school levels.
Conley has nine years of head coaching experience, including 1996-2000 at Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College and 2004-08 at Texas A&M-Commerce. He led Trinity Valley to the 1997 national championship and was named the NJCAA Coach of the Year.
He spent time as a college assistant coach at Texas A&M (1980-81), Texas (1982-86), Kansas (1987), Tennessee (1988), Rice (1989), Arkansas (1990-92), Howard Payne (1993-96) and Navy (2001-02).
Conley played football at Texas A&M in 1966, lettering as a member of the freshman team, and went to school there from 1966-68. He received his bachelor's degree in business administration at Texas A&M University-Commerce in 1970 and his master's degree in secondary and higher education in 1973.
Ivey spent his first year at Arkansas State in 2017 as the Associate Director of Athletics Performance. Prior to Arkansas State, he served under the same title at Missouri from 2011-15 and was named the Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by FootballScoop.com in 2013.
A former Missouri football letterwinner (1993-95), Ivey was selected as an All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete in 1995. After receiving his undergraduate degree in 1996 in Hotel and Restaurant Management with an emphasis in nutrition, he spent time in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers. He completed his master’s in health education in 2000 while serving as a graduate assistant director of strength and conditioning at Missouri.
Ivey returned to Missouri in 2004 in the role of Director of Strength and Conditioning after serving in the same capacity at Tulsa from 2002-03. There, he oversaw strength and conditioning efforts for all 18 sports and was part of the resurgence of the football program, which had the nation’s best turnaround in 2003. Tulsa went 8-5 in 2003 after going just 1-11 the year before.
He is Registered Strength and Conditioning Certified (NSCA), National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified (CSCS) and Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC). Additionally, he is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Buttgen earned his bachelor’s degree in radio/television in 2010 from Arkansas State University, where he also served as the football video coordinator from 2010-12 and the assistant football video coordinator in 2009. A Golden Reel Award was issued to A-State in 2010.
He is making his second stop on the A-State support staff after most recently working as the coordinator of football media at Ole Miss from 2014 to 2017. He started at the school as the assistant director of sports video in 2012, and during his time with the football program was a Southeast Emmy Award Winner for “The Season: Ole Miss Football.” FootballScoop.com also awarded Ole Miss the FBS Video of the Year in 2013 while Buttgen was on staff.
Buttgen earned his master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from the University of Mississippi in 2016. He is a member of the Collegiate Sports Video Association.