BOONE, N.C. — App State head football coach Shawn Clark has hired James Rowe as a defensive assistant coach for the Mountaineers. Rowe spent the last three seasons on staff with the NFL’s Washington Redskins as assistant defensive backs coach.
“We’re excited to welcome James and Tiffany to the App Family,” Clark said. “Coach Rowe has experience at many different levels of football, including the last three years in the NFL. His experience teaching defense and his ability to connect with players will make him a tremendous addition to our coaching staff.”
“I’m excited to be joining the App Family,” Rowe said. “The success of the App State program has always stood out to me, and I can’t wait to do my part to help continue that success.”
In 2019, Washington cornerback Quinton Dunbar was among the NFL’s top interception artists, while in 2018 Rowe helped oversee a defensive backs group that was one of the best in the league in forcing turnovers. The Redskins finished the season with 15 interceptions, which was tied for the ninth-best mark in the league. Cornerbacks Josh Norman and Fabian Moreau and safety DJ Swearinger each had three forced fumbles and were all tied for the second-most forced fumbles caused by a defensive back that season. In his first year in Washington in 2017, Rowe helped the DBs unit produce the team’s strongest season against the pass in nearly a decade, ranking third in the NFL in completion percentage allowed (57.6 percent), ninth in passing yards allowed per game (213.8) and 10th in opponent passer rating (81.0).
Rowe served as defensive coordinator at Division II powerhouse Valdosta State in 2016, helping the Blazers to an 8-3 record. Among D-II schools, his defense led the nation with 27 interceptions and ranked fifth in the country in opposing passing efficiency, limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 96.2 passer rating. Under Rowe’s guidance, Valdosta State safety Kenny Moore earned first-team All-America honors from the AFCA.
In 2015, Rowe spent one season as a defensive graduate assistant at the University of Florida. That season, the Florida defense ranked No. 8 in scoring defense, No. 6 in total defense and No. 11 in pass defense, while Rowe assisted in the development of All-America defensive backs Vernon Hargreaves, Marcus Maye, Keanu Neal and Teez Tabor.
From 2012-14, Rowe served in a variety of coaching capacities at Jacksonville University. He began his tenure assisting with the team’s defensive backs in 2012, adding the wide receivers to his purview in 2013 and eventually being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2014.
Rowe began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Bethel (Tenn.) University in 2011, helping the Wildcats finish the year ranked No. 14 in the NAIA poll.
Rowe, a native of Cocoa, Fla., was a student-athlete at South Florida, lettering three times as a member of the Bulls’ baseball team. After majoring in business administration, he earned his degree from the university in 2009.
He married his wife, Tiffany, in July 2019.