One of the original coaches to help shape the Berry football program into one of the top Division III teams in the country is moving on from Valhalla.
Nate Masters, who was the first coach hired by head coach Tony Kunczewski back in 2012, is taking over as defensive coordinator for West Georgia after serving in the same role at Berry the last six seasons.
Masters worked with a defense that helped the Vikings win four straight Southern Athletic Association championships. During the 2019 season, his defense was second in NCAA Division III with 4.3 sacks per game and was ranked in the top 10 in defensive touchdowns.
“Being a part of the inaugural Berry football coaching staff has been an experience that I’ll take with me the rest of my life,” Masters said in a release. “I can’t thank coach (Kunczewski) enough for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this program and coach the exceptional student-athletes here. Working for the man who coached and mentored me has been a very special experience. There will always be a part of me that is a Viking, and I look forward to following the continued success of Berry football.”
Masters had connections with Kunczewski prior to Berry when he played for LaGrange while Kunczewski coached the Panthers.
“Nate is a wonderful coach, teacher and mentor,” Kunczewski said. “It is especially difficult for me personally because I’ve been with Nate since 2005 when he transferred from Maryville to LaGrange as a student-athlete. West Georgia is getting an outstanding coach, but an even better man.”
Since 2015, the Vikings’ defense has been the stingiest among conference teams when it comes to the run game, and in 2016, the team ranked third in Division III with 66.6 yards allowed per game.
The 2016 season also saw its first player, Mamadou Soumahoro, named an All-American. Soumahoro had 15 sacks that season and went on to collect two SAA Defensive Player of the Year honors.
After Soumahoro’s departure, former Coosa player Bryson Lamboy took up where he left off and earned the team’s third straight SAA Defensive Player of the Year award.
West Georgia competes in NCAA Division II as part of the Gulf South Conference along with Shorter University. The Wolves finished last season 6-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play.