Winston-Salem State moves forward with Kienus Boulware as its new Football Coach
The Winston-Salem State University football program is in good hands.
After going through arguably
the most successful periods in WSSU football history, in a blink of an eye it changed. Connell Maynor, who guided the Rams to three NCAA Division II playoff appearances, and to the 2012 National Championship game was suddenly – gone. Off to the bigger lights and bigger budgets of Division I football at Hampton University.
So Bill Hayes, WSSU’s Hall of Fame Director of Athletics, was given the charge of finding a replacement for the coach who had taken the Rams to a record of 45-6 in four years.
He and his search committee worked tireless through the Christmas holiday combing through approximately 300+ coaches resumes and endless phone calls from others and even sports agents.
Eventually four candidates were brought to campus from throughout the United States to interview for the head coaching position at WSSU.
In the end, one person stood out. And as Bill Hayes remarked, “It only took five minutes to realize he had sold us”.
After all of the calls, interviews and long hours of looking for the new leader of the football program, he was right here all along.
So on January 14, 2014, a new era for Winston-Salem State University football began, as Kienus Perez Boulware was named the new head coach of the Winston-Salem State University Rams after serving as the Rams’ defensive coordinator for the past four years. As the ninth head coach in Winston-Salem State University history, he will look to carry on the proud tradition that is Rams football.
“This is a dream job, and I’m at a dream school,” Boulware said. “I’m extremely happy that this day has come.”
“With the support that I have from the University’s administration and Chancellor Reaves, and from the entire athletic department, led by Coach Hayes, we are going to keep this going, we want to keep the winning going”, says Boulware.
“We will continue to recruit the right kinds of players that will help us to be successful both on and off the field.”
Chancellor Donald Reaves said that he’s looking forward to Boulware continuing the Rams’ winning ways.
“He was the right man for the job, and we’re excited about the future of our football program,” Reaves said.
“Though this is Boulware’s first head coaching position, he brings a wealth of experience to the position and has been well-prepared to carry on the strong legacy of the WSSU football program,” said Bill Hayes, athletic director. “A man with more than 17 years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt, Boulware is regarded by his peers as one of the top defensive coaches in NCAA Division II football. He has certainly spent his coaching career as talent developer, motivator and a professional with an unbridled passion for the game of football.”
“I am really happy for Coach Boulware”, says Connell Maynor. “He is ready for this. He was a big part of why we had the success we had when I was there. Everywhere he has been he has been successful and won championships. I think Coach Hayes and the committee made the right choice.”
Boulware arrived at Winston-Salem State University after spending four years as an assistant coach at Shaw University in Raleigh, where his defensive teams ranked tops in the nation in 2007 and 2008, and brings with him a wealth of collegiate coaching experience and championship pedigree.
Over the past four seasons, Boulware has transformed the WSSU defensive unit into the best in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the nation each year. His 2013 defensive unit was not only tops in the CIAA, but finished the season ranked as the top Division II defense in the nation. During the Rams run to national title game in 2012, his defense led the CIAA once again and finished 12th nationally. In 2011, his defense led the CIAA and finished ninth in Division II and his defensive unit finished ranked as the number one unit in the CIAA and fifth nationally in 2010.
Not only have his teams been ranked at the top during his tenure, but Boulware has also produced the last three Defensive Players of the Year in the CIAA. Carlos Fields, Jr. was named the Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, as well as being named the 2012 CIAA Defensive Player of the Year. In 2011, Alton Keaton took home the award from the CIAA as the league’s top defensive player.
A native of Thomasville, N.C., Boulware starred in football and also was a two-time state champion wrestler at Thomasville High School. He would go on to play two seasons (1993-94) as an inside linebacker at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before his football career was shortened by the discovery of a spinal cord abnormality. He remained on the sideline as a student coach for two seasons under former coach Mack Brown, working with linebackers and defensive linemen.
Upon graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in May of 1997 with a degree in organizational communication, Boulware coached linebackers at Livingstone College for two years (1997-98) and helped to lead the Blue Bears to a pair of CIAA Championships.
Following his tenure at Livingstone he moved to North Carolina Central University in Durham, where he served in various capacities including assistant football coach (linebackers and defensive line), assistant track coach and assistant athletic director.
While at NCCU, he worked primarily with the Eagles linebackers after spending one season (2003) as the defensive line coach. In 2004, two linebackers topped the team in tackles, including CIAA All-Rookie Team pick Marcus Short, who led the way with 64 total tackles. From 1999-2002, he coached linebackers under head coach Rudy Abrams. During those four seasons, a linebacker led the team in tackles three times.
When not on the field, Boulware enjoys playing racquetball, working on cars and working out with the WSSU student-athletes.
So as the Winston-Salem State University football program continues to move forward, we are confident that the program is in good hands. Now it’s time to get to get back work, and prove why we are still the best in the CIAA and a national contender to bring that elusive National Championship to WSSU.