UNI Assistant Named a Finalist for National Award
In a profession and level of the sport where coaches move on quickly, one of the consistent members of the Northern Iowa football staff over the last several years has been offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Ryan Clanton.
For his leadership of the Panthers' line and duties as Co-OC alongside Bodie Reeder, Clanton has been named a finalist for the 2022 AFCA FCS Assistant Coach of the Year.
This season, the UNI offensive line paved the way for running backs Dom Williams and Vance McShane to pair for just under 1,500 yards and an average of 5.6 yards per carry. They also allowed the fourth-fewest sacks in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, at just 21.
In addition, starting center Erik Sorensen won MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice as well as being named Second-Team All-Conference. Justin Peine earned the weekly award once while being named to the conference's honorable mention team.
The Panther offense finished first in total offense (444.9 yards per game), passing offense (288.5 ypg), and first downs gained (261). They also placed second in scoring offense (33 points per game).
Quarterback Theo Day led the league in passing yards (3,121), passing touchdowns (26), passing efficiency (169 rating), yards per completion (14.86), and passing yards per game (283.7).
Prior to his tenure in Cedar Falls, Clanton was an offensive lineman for Oregon under Chip Kelly. He was on the Ducks squads that played in the 2011 BCS National Championship, won the 2012 Rose Bowl, and won the 2013 Fiesta Bowl. Clanton was a team captain his senior season and was ultimately invited to two NFL training camps, working with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers.
Following his college football career as a player, Clanton coached at his alma mater, Bakersfield Christian High School. He then went on to be an assistant at Ventura College for four years before joining Head Coach Mark Farley's staff in 2018.
The coach who eventually won the award was Chris Kappas, who is the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Austin Peay State University.