Who is David Gunn the running backs coach at Arkansas State?
It's our goal at AStateNation to introduce to you each of the coaches on Hugh Freezes coaching staff, with a featured article that tells a little about each coach, their philosophies, their recruiting areas and their relationships with their players and fellow coaches.
When asked who was David Gunn? The veteran coach answered in a way that won't surprise many of the Red Wolf fans that already know him.
"I'm just an ole country boy from England, Arkansas," Gunn said. "I knew all my life that I wanted to be a football coach. I have been very fortunate to coach high school football and college football. I have been living out all of my childhood dreams."
It's obvious after talking to him for about 10 minutes that he is a man of deep faith and convictions. A man that wants to make a difference in young men's lives on and off the field.
Coach Gunn coached high school football in "The Great State of Arkansas" (the way he described it) before joining the Arkansas State staff 10 years ago. This will be his 10th season coaching the running backs for the Red Wolves.
Gunn lit up like a young man on Christmas morning when asked about the past running backs he has coached while in Jonesboro.
"We have had some very good backs over the years," Gunn said smiling. "It started out with Danny Smith, the first back we had when we got here. Guys like Antonio Warren, Shermar Bracey and Reggie Arnold. All 1,000 yard guys, all of them earning all conference honors."
Gunn being the humble man that he is, quickly pointed out that most of the credit needed to go the offensive line and their coach over the years, because without them and their assistance they wouldn't have had such great seasons.
"It's more about the OL than the guy that coached those guys," Gunn said. "We have always had a pretty good line."
Gunn enjoys the process of recruiting young men every year to play running back and other positions for ASU.
"Every young man we recruit, we as coaches have a through evaluation process and we know once they arrive on campus that they can definitely carry the football," Gunn said. "The difference between a good running back and a great running back is what they do when the ball isn't in their hands. How they pass protect, how they deliver their fakes and how they protect the football."
For eight years Gunn's running backs were the center of attention around the run oriented offense prior to the arrival of Hugh Freeze's spread attack.
Gunn will be the first to tell you he is excited about the opportunities the new offense gives his guys to make big plays for the Red Wolves.
"By spreading everyone out, it opens up better running lanes for us to utilize," Gunn said. "We end up being one on one with one guy to beat for a touchdown. We have to be able make that one guy miss. That's why guys like Frankie Jackson can be special in this offensive system. He can make people miss in open field."
Being one of the veteran coaches on this staff, Gunn can see a difference amongst the players.
"Our kids are extremely excited," Gunn said. "When I'm out recruiting and talking to high school coaches, I describe Hugh Freeze that he is like the little boy on a bottle of sugar. He is full of excitement and that's rubbing off on our players. He is full of confidence and that's also making its way to our team."
Gunn feels that Coach Freeze has built a very solid coaching staff in his first year.
"We have guys like Darren Hiller that has been here 10 years, Maurice Harris has been here several years and Tyler Siskey was a G.A. back when we first got here. Now I have the pleasure of getting to know the likes of Grant Heard, Chris Kiffin, Tom Allen and Dave Womack, to me it's been a perfect fit for all of those guys and the older guys that were already here."
Coach Gunn has a recruiting philosophy that has done him well over the years.
"I feel that my job is to help every young man that comes into this program become the best man that he can be on and off the field," Gunn said. "When you get a young man's emotional stability, spiritual stability, their academic stability and their social stability handled then you will have a much more matured young man and you will have a better athlete on the field."
Coach Gunn, a man who always has a smile on his face, feels honored to get to recruit his home state of Arkansas for the Red Wolves.
"I love every minute of it," Gunn said. "I consider each one of those 207 to 209 Head Football coaches in the state of Arkansas personal friends of mine. I attack it as a friend would do instead of handling it like a business."
Gunn really likes Coach Freeze's new approach to recruiting.
"I promise you that we are going to battle for every D1 caliber kid in the state of Arkansas and everywhere else, no matter who else has offered him," Gunn said. "That's probably the biggest difference with Coach Freeze as the head coach. He isn't shy about going after the big guys with big offers."
"We all feel that we have something unique to sell here at Arkansas State, we feel that we can be that next big success story at a mid major program," Gunn said. "We feel that our time is now. The foundation has been built things are in place to do something special here in Jonesboro, Arkansas. We feel that we can get it done here at Arkansas State."