Ranger Football

Coaches

J.J. Eckert
Position:
Head Coach
Eckert will begin his eighth season at Kilgore College as head coach. Eckert was the offensive coordinator for the Rangers from 2001-2004, before accepting a head coaching job with Garden City where his teams compiled a 13-8 record and appeared in the 2005 Dixie Rotary Bowl in St. George, Utah. As Kilgore’s offensive coordinator, Eckert was a part of Kilgore’s 2001 and 2004 SWJCFC’s championship teams. Thus far, he has complied a record at KC of 18-11, with one bowl appearance. He is married to wife, Amanda, and they have three children.
Nick Dobler
Position:
Co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Backs
Dobler is in his fourth season at Kilgore College. He started his career at Independence Community College in Kansas and earned his Associate’s Degree. He then transferred to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., and finished his collegiate career. His senior year, they won the Lone Star North Championship. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Performance.
Willie Gooden
Position:
Co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line
Gooden, a native of Hempstead, begins his eighth season as a coach at KC. Prior to KC, he spent three seasons at N.E. State University in Tahlequah, Okla., as defensive line coach. In 2005, he graduated from NSU and became a grad. assistant defensive line coach. In 2006, Gooden took over the defensive line. He began his playing career at KC in 2000 and earned all-conference in 2000-01. He was also a part of the undefeated 2001 Ranger team.
Cory Whitfield
Position:
Linebackers
Cory Whitfield begins his third season as assistant coach for KC. He is a native of Palestine, TX. After high school, he played football at KC on the 2007 Conference Championship team. After KC, he played at Texas A&M Commerce in 2008, 2009 and 2011 where he was a two-time All-American linebacker.
Jeff Crosby
Position:
Running Backs
Jeff Crosby enters his second season as assistant coach of KC. A native of Horseshoe Bay, TX, he played football at The University of North Texas from 2008-10. After college, he returned to his alma mater as a offensive and special teams assistant coach for the Mean Green from 2010-11. He was then the running backs coach at Dodge City Community College in 2012. His father, Steve Crosby, coached for 35 years in the National Football League.
Dustin Smith
Position:
Student Assistant Coach
Dustin Smith, a Kilgore native, begins his second year for KC as an assistant coach. Dustin began his football career as a student athletic trainer for Kilgore High School in 2008 under head trainer Red Ganus. In 2011 Dustin was a student athletic trainer for Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, TX, for their football and basketball teams. In 2011, TVCC's women's basketball team were undefeated national champions. In 2012 Dustin was a coaches assistant at KC under head coach J.J. Eckert. Dustin is now working on his Associate's Degree in Kinesiology.
John Martin
Position:
Wide Receivers
John Martin begins his third season at KC as the defensive assistant. Martin played football for two seasons at Henderson State in 2007 and 2010. In 2010, Henderson State were conference champions. He also played for Coach Eckert at KC in 2008 while working on a degree in kineseology. Martin resides in Kilgore.
Gary Wade
Position:
Special Teams
Wade is entering his seventh year as a Ranger assistant coach this year. He also serves as coach of the special teams. With Wade's lifelong love and knowledge of football, he will serve as a recruiter and assistant coach for the Rangers. Wade is an owner of the famous Boomtown BBQ located on Hwy. 259 in Kilgore, an internationally known barbecue joint.