Defensive Line Coach
Clarion University, 1995
By Brandon Barca
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Sean Spencer enters his third year on James Franklin's staff. He coaches
the Commodores' defensive line.
Vanderbilt's defensive line continued to feed off the energy and enthusiasm of Sean Spencer in 2013.
Nicknamed the "Wild Dogs" by Spencer, the defensive line has received extraordinary efforts from Walker May, Kyle Woestmann, Vince Taylor and Caleb Azubike. Woestmann led the Commodores with six sacks with May and Azubike tallying four each. Taylor has proved to be a valuable run-stopper for the squad, starting 10 games at defensive tackle.
The Commodores defensive line improved each of the three years under Spencer's guidance with the D-line accounting for 42.5 tackles for loss during the regular season.
Spencer has helped create depth on the line as well with nine players regularly contributing on the line led by Woestmann and May, who have started all 12 games.
During Vanderbilt's four-game winning streak to end the regular season the defensive line contributed eight sacks.
Several in Spencer's corps, including ends Walker May, Kyle Woestmann and Caleb Azubike, and tackles Jared Morse, Barren Dixon and Vince Taylor, enjoyed career campaigns in 2012.
In just two years, Spencer has developed one of the deepest lines in recent Vanderbilt history. In 2012, Spencer used 10 players in his defensive line rotations.
Woestmann closed the 2012 season in superb fashion, totalling six sacks. Azubike set a new team record for true freshmen with four sacks. May, posted 10.5 tackles for loss and three quarterback sacks. Morse registered 26 tackles, including nine for losses. Dixon and Taylor also developed into key interior contributors.
In 2011, the defensive front fed off Spencer's energy, with several standouts enjoying career years, including defensive end Tim Fugger and tackle Rob Lohr. Fugger, drafted by Indianapolis and now with Arizona, was rewarded for an impressive 2011 campaign with second team All-SEC honors, posting eight sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. Lohr, who signed as a free agent by Kansas City after the 2012 season, also ranked among the SEC's most productive defensive tackles with 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
Spencer came to Nashville after two successful years at Bowling Green.
Spencer's top pupil at Bowling Green, defensive tackle Chris Jones, garnered six quarterback sacks in 2010, including 3.5 sacks in a win over Central Michigan that helped Jones earn National Defensive Lineman of the Week honors. Jones later also earned All-MAC Conference recognition.
The BGSU defensive front posted 40 sacks during Spencer's tenure. He also helped Bowling Green to the Humanitarian Bowl in 2009 despite opening the year without a single returning starter on the defensive front.
Spencer enjoyed two successful stints at UMass, serving from 2007-08 after working with the Minutemen from 2001-03. He was a defensive line coach in both tenures, and also guided UMass special teams in 2007-08.
In 2007 the Minutemen ranked among the nation's best with 44 sacks. That UMass unit was led by All-America and Buck Buchanan Award finalist David Burris. In the early 2000s, Spencer mentored another top Minuteman defensive lineman, Buchanan Award finalist Valdamar Brower.
Spencer enjoyed team success at UMass, helping the Minutemen to consecutive Colonial Athletic Association titles.
Spencer mentored two special teams phenoms at UMass: kick returner Courtney Robinson and punter Brett Arnold. Robinson earned first team All-CAA honors after breaking the team's record for kick return yards. Arnold earned first team All-America honors.
Spencer spent the 2006 season at Hofstra University where he was the defensive line coach for the Pride. In the summer of 2006, Spencer took part in an NFL summer internship with the New York Jets.
Prior to Hofstra, Spencer served as linebackers coach at Villanova University in 2005 where he coached All-American Brian Hulea, who finished his career as the all-time tackler in the CAA.
Spencer also spent the 2004 season at the College of Holy Cross and served the 2001-03 seasons as an assistant at UMass where he served as defensive line coach in 2004. Previously, he served tenures at Trinity College, Shippensburg University and Wesleyan University.
Spencer started three years at free safety as an undergraduate at Clarion University. Spencer is the parent of a daughter, Alysia.
The Spencer File
Date of Birth: December 15, 1970
Hometown: Hartford, Conn.
Alma Mater: Clarion University (1995)
Education: Bachelor's, political science, Clarion (1995)
Family: daughter, Alysia, 7
Spencer's Coaching Career
2011-current - Vanderbilt (defensive line)
2009-10 - Bowling Green (defensive line)
2007-08 - University of Massachusetts (defensive line, special teams coordinator)
2006 - Hofstra (defensive line)
2005 - Villanova (linebackers)
2004 - College of Holy Cross (defensive line)
2001-03 - University of Massachusetts (defensive line)
1998-2000 - Trinity College (running backs, passing game coordinator, defensive line)
1996-97 - Shippensburg University (running backs)