Lightner joined the WKU staff in the role of co-Offensive Coordinator and offensive line coach prior to the start of spring practice in 2001.
In his 2 seasons on the sidelines, WKU led the Gateway Conference and ranked second in country in rushing with 303.18 yards per game, whlie also standing second in the league in scoring. And, three linemen were named first- or second-team all-conference, with Chris Price earning All-American honors for the second straight season.
He came to the Hill from Nebraska-Omaha, where he was an assistant coach the last three years — his responsibilities included coaching the offensive line, tight ends and special teams at UNO, where he helped lead the Mavericks to the North Central Conference championship in both 1998 and 2000.
UNO led the nation in rushing his first season, ranked second in '99 and paced the NCC his last year, finishing 11-2 and reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Prior to his arrival at UNO, Lightner served as an assistant coach working with the offensive line and tight ends at Northern (S.D.) State from 1996-98, where he was also the head baseball coach.
Lightner is a 1987 graduate of Nebraska, earning a degree in secondary education while being named first-team all-Big Eight offensive tackle in 1987 and participating in the 1988 Hula Bowl. And, he played professionally in three leagues before entering the coaching ranks — the NFL (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1988), the CFL (Hamilton Tiger Cats, 1990) and the World League of American Football (Montreal Machine, 1991-92).