New Faces, New Roles: Football Coaching Staff

BY LEXI EBLEN | Ball State Sports Link

With the season opener just hours away at Miami, the anticipation continues to build for the Ball State football players as well as the coaches.

The season is set to kick off at 7 p.m. from Oxford, Ohio and on CBS Sports Network. Sports Link GameDay starts at 6 p.m. on Twitter (@bsusportslink).

Starting this season, three coaches have been moved to a different role on the coaching staff — Tyler Stockton (Defensive Coordinator), Kevin Lynch (Offensive Coordinator) and Joey Hecklinski (Quarterbacks Coach).

In addition, head coach Mike Neu welcomed a new coach to the roster in Josh Zidenberg (Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach). 

New Roles  

Tyler Stockton

Tyler Stockton is returning for his seventh season overall of coaching in 2020 and now his second season on the Ball State coaching staff.

At 30 years old, Stockton is the second-youngest DC at the FBS level and one of only eight coordinators (offensive or defensive) age 30 or younger at the start of the season.

In Stockton’s seven years of coaching at the collegiate level, he has spent time at three different universities. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 2014 at Connecticut, he then made his way to Western Illinois where he spent three years from 2016 to 2018.

Last year, he was welcomed to Muncie as the co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach. After just one year on the coaching staff, Stockton is now seeing his first season as the sole defensive coordinator, along with remaining the inside linebackers’ coach.

Kevin Lynch

Stockton played his college ball at Notre Dame from 2009-13, where he played on the defensive line. He helped the Fighting Irish make appearances in the 2010 Sun Bowl (champions), 2013 BCS National Championship game and 2013 Pinstripe Bowl (champions).

Kevin Lynch, a 12-year coaching veteran, is entering his fifth season with the Ball State football team. In his time as a coach, Lynch has spent time at three different universities.

He began his career at Indiana in 2009 as the offensive quality control coach and in 2010 moved to the University of Indianapolis where he spent five years as an assistant coach.

In 2016, Lynch made his debut with the Cardinals as an assistant coach and has been recently promoted to offensive coordinator. 

Lynch also remains running backs coach, a role he has filled since joining the staff in 2016. He is one of nine current FBS offensive coordinators to also coach running backs.

Joey Hecklinski

Joey Hecklinski is in his seventh year of coaching overall and 2020 marks his second year on the Cardinals coaching staff — but his first in a full-time capacity.

He began his time as a coach in 2014 with Manchester as an assistant coach, and the following year moved to Marian, where he spent two years as an assistant coach.

Hecklinski spent two years at Butler as an assistant coach and last season found his new home with the Cardinals. He was a graduate assistant coach for the Cardinals in 2019.

Hecklinski graduated magna cum laude (3.74 GPA) as the starting quarterback and team captain as a senior at Marian. He played on the 2012 Marian squad that won the NAIA national title.

New Face 

Josh Zidenberg

Josh Zidenberg may be a new addition to the Ball State football coaching staff, but he is a seasoned coach as this year will mark his 10th year coaching.

Zidenberg has been hired on the Ball State coaching staff as passing game coordinator and a defensive backs coach.

In his 10 years, he has seen time at seven different universities, including working with Stockton at Western Illinois and Connecticut.

His earliest coaching job dates back to 2009 in Virginia where he was a graduate assistant coach and his latest position was the special teams’ coordinator and safeties coach at William & Mary.

William & Mary ranked among the top 10 teams nationally (FCS) in blocked kicks (6) and kickoff returns (23.7 yards per return) in 2019.

Zidenberg found his professional start with the Miami Dolphins in 2008 as a player personnel assistant, after earning three varsity letters as a running back and playing on special teams at Virginia from 2004-07.


Author: Lexi Eblen