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Lights add to new staff


January 25, 2018

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Former NFL and University of Washington fullback Jonothan Amosa has been hired by new Montana State University head coach Aaron Rolin to be the running backs and tight ends coach for the Lights. Rolin has filled three positions on his staff since he was hired.

When Andrew Rolin was formally introduced as the new head coach of the Montana State University-Northern football team, he said right from the start, he was going to be busy.

And Rolin wasn’t kidding.

Since being hired back in December, Rolin has hit the recruiting trail hard, especially covering many miles in Montana. And now that school has begun again, Rolin is also getting his troops ready for spring with winter conditioning.

But another area that has certainly been a point of emphasis for Rolin is putting together his coaching staff, and he’s made several hires recently.

Joining the ranks at Northern are several new coaches, including Steve Oliver, Jake Chestnut and Jonothan Amosa.

Oliver will serve as Northern’s offensive line coach, run game coordinator and recruiting coordinator. He comes to Northern after two seasons as an assistant offensive line coach at the University of Idaho, where he worked with several coaches with Montana ties, including former Havre Blue Pony head coach Troy Purcell. Oliver was a standout offensive lineman at Rolin’s alma mater, the University of San Diego, where he started for three seasons, and played there when Rolin was a coach at USD. He is also tied to Montana, having grown up in Billings before moving to Arizona, as well as his father having played football at Carroll College.

“Steve is someone I’ve known for a long time,” Rolin said. “He has ties to a lot of areas, including strong ties to Montana and the Frontier Conference. He’s going to wear a lot of hats for us.”

Rolin also hired Chestnut to be Northern’s new defensive coordinator, as well as linebackers coach. Chestnut comes to Northern from Notre Dame College where he was a four-year starter at linebacker for the Falcons, and was the team’s leading tackler. Following his playing days with the Falcons, Chestnut was an assistant coach to defensive coordinator Joe Staab, who Rolin said is one of his closest friends, hence the connection to Chestnut. “Jake was a very, very good football player at an elite (NCAA) DII program,” Rolin said. “I knew him through one of my closest friends, who is at Notre Dame College right now. So that was our connection.”

Amosa will coach running backs and tight ends for the Lights. Amosa played fullback for the Washington Huskies, and made his way onto the roster of the Seattle Seahawks, as well as the Green Bay Packers for a time in the NFL. He, too, has ties to Rolin, as he played for the Huskies under head coach Steve Sarkisian, while Rolin was an assistant coach at UDub.

“Jon and I stayed in contact after I left Washington,” Rolin said. “I knew he was interested in getting into coaching, and I knew he’d have a bright future in coaching. He’s seen it all, played at the highest level, so that’s been really neat for our kids. They really look up to that. I’m really lucky we were able to pull him out here.”


Indeed, all three new Northern coaches bring outstanding pedigrees from their playing days, with Amosa having played in the Pac 12, Oliver playing at FCS San Diego and Chestnut at one of the most successful programs in NCAA Division II.

“I’m really excited that I was able to get these guys to come out here and be a part of this,” Rolin said. “They’re great, young coaches with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and they will bring a lot to our program. I’m very fortunate to be able to work with these guys and excited to have them here.”

As Northern pushes further toward spring, Rolin said he expects to still hire a defensive backs coach, a wide receiver coach and a defensive line coach. And also continue pounding the recruiting trail at the same time.


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