Demons add two new offensive assistants


Two coaches with ties to new Northwestern State offensive coordinator Brad Smiley are rounding out the Demons’ new offensive staff, head football coach Brad Laird said Thursday.

Offensive line coach J Pond spent seven years alongside Smiley at Trinity Valley Community College. New quarterbacks coach Anthony Scelfo was a starting quarterback at Tulane, where Smiley was tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator from 2000-06.

Alvin Slaughter, part of the Demons’ staff the last two years, will remain as receivers coach, said Laird. Smiley will coach the running backs and tight ends.

The appointment of the new coaches is subject to the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System, which includes Northwestern State.

“What a tremendous group of coaches, who share a lot of common ground, and a philosophy about winning football games with an exciting, explosive offense,” said Laird, who was named head coach Nov. 20 at his alma mater.

“The offensive line is an extremely important position and to have the continuity and success that Coach Pond and Coach Smiley have is a great asset. The numbers in yards and wins they produced at Trinity Valley are staggering,” said Laird.

Pond was Smiley’s offensive line coach at TVCC from 2009-16 and spent last year on the staff at Texarkana-Texas High School. He played at Texas A&M from 2002-06.

“We’ve had a lot of fun together,” said Smiley. “He was there every step of the way building Trinity Valley to be the most dominant community college in Texas, and one of the most dominant in the country. We’re on the same page. He loves his offensive linemen, and he will build great relationships with everybody on our team.”

With the Cardinals, Pond was part of four straight conference championship teams, with TVCC finishing in the top five in the country in several rushing categories each of those seasons. During his years working with Smiley, Pond coached three All-America offensive linemen among 19 who made all-conference.

TVCC led the nation in touchdowns and scoring for three straight seasons (2014-16) with Smiley and Pond shaping the offense. The Cardinals set six team and two individual national records including yards per game (656.1 in 2015) and yards in a season (7,778 in 2014).

He previously worked at Sul Ross State for two seasons (2007-08) after being an intern in Texas A&M’s strength and conditioning program, and assisting Aggies’ offensive line coach Jim Bob Helduser.

Scelfo, who played quarterback at Tulane from 2005-07, was also a first-team all-conference baseball player for the Green Wave, playing all three outfield positions along with first, second and third base. He was an eighth-round Major League Baseball Draft pick in 2008 by Tampa Bay and spent four seasons in the minor leagues.

The native of New Orleans was an All-State selection as a senior at Jesuit High School in both football and baseball, the first Catholic League player so honored in 50 years.

He spent the past three seasons at UT San Antonio working with quarterbacks and tight ends.

“To get him back from UTSA, with his deep roots in Louisiana, and the identity of his family name in New Orleans and around our state, with his dad (Frank) and uncle (Chris) coaching at the highest levels of football, is a great coup for us,” said Laird. “Anthony brings us expertise with Xs and Os, but it’s the vision of this program to be rooted in Louisiana and he makes us stronger in that regard.”

UTSA has been bowl-eligible in each of the past two seasons and has experienced unprecedented recruiting success.

Slaughter was part of Les Miles’ LSU staff from 2012-15, working with some dynamic receivers, before joining the Demon program for the past two seasons. His receivers have been among the most productive in school history.

He also was a high school head coach in his hometown of Miami for five years before joining LSU.