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Defensive Coaching Staff

Eric S. Jackson
Defensive Coordinator

Eric Jackson joined the Lewis & Clark football program as the Defensive Coordinator in 2014.

Jackson has been a college coach for 27 years, most recently he was the Defensive Coordinator at Portland State, organizing the one of the biggest turnarounds in FCS football.  Under Jackson, Portland State’s defense improved by leading the conference in rushing and 3rd down defense.  Jackson coached All Big Sky performers, DeShawn Shead, Ryan Rau, Ian Sluss, and Myles Wade.  Shead was a member of the 2014 Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl team.  Rau and Wade both had stints with the Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders respectively.

Prior to Portland State, Jackson coached at Princeton from 2000-2010, helping the Ivy League Tigers to the 2006 Ivy League Championship.  There he tutored the defensive backfield and was also Special Teams Coordinator.  Jackson recruited and coached several players that played professional, including the 2013 Asa Bushnell Cup winner, Mike Catapano, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, and 2014 Asa Bushnell Cup runner up Caraun Reid, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions this year.

From 2000-1998, Jackson coached at Division III power, Ithaca College and helped the Bombers to two playoff births and a combination record of 15-4.  Prior to coaching at Ithaca, Jackson coached at Cornell University for the second time, and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, where he coached against current Head Coach, Chris Sulages.

In 1993, Jackson coached at University of Idaho, helping the Vandals to an 11-3 record and a National Semi-Final playoff game.  Prior to Idaho, Jackson coached at Division III, Alma College for two season and Cornell, helping the Big Red to the 1990 Ivy League Championship.  Jackson began his college career at the University of Cincinnati.

A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Jackson played defensive back and received his bachelor’s degree in History, with a minor in African American studies and Earth Science.  Very active in the community, Jackson founded the Princeton Football Women’s Clinic for Breast Cancer research in 2002.  It was the first clinic of it’s kind in the East.  Jackson organized the Portland State alumni football game.  Jackson also founded his business, Coach J, Academic Coach LLC, helping high school athlete’s meet the NCAA academic requirements.  A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Jackson, has a son Davis who attends Washington State and a daughter Brooks, who attends the University of Washington.

Jacob Hales
Defensive Line

Jacob Hales joined the Pioneer football program in 2013 as an assistant coach for the defensive line. Hales was named Co-Defensive Coordinator - Defensive Line in the spring of 2014.

Prior to Lewis & Clark, Hales was a graduate assistant at The University of Texas – El Paso for the three seasons where he worked under legendary Head Football Coach Mike Price.

He was a three-year starting defensive lineman at UNLV, totaling 86 tackles, 11 tackles for losses and six sacks.

As a senior he was recipient of the Tom Wiesner Award for displaying courage, enthusiasm, dedication and toughness. Hales was a strong student as well, garnering placement on the Mountain West Academic All-Conference team all four years.

Hales earned a bachelor's degree in University Studies, with an emphasis in Spanish and Physical Education, from UNLV in 2008.

A Las Vegas native, Hales is working on his master's degree in Bilingual Education at UTEP.

Joe Kopp

Joe Kopp joined the Lewis & Clark football staff in 2014 as the outside linebackers coach.

Kopp played four years at Lewis & Clark, where he was an All-Northwest Conference Safety as a senior and the Pioneers Defensive MVP in 2012. He graduated from Lewis & Clark in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric and Media Studies.

Kopp continued his playing and coaching career overseas last season. He played in Trnava, Slovakia for the Trnava Bulldogs in the Czech League’s First Division. He finished first in the league in tackles and second in interceptions as the teams Strong Safety. Along with playing, Kopp also helped coach the team’s Defensive Backs, helping them make the jump to one of the top secondaries in the league. While Kopp was abroad, he also helped with the Wienviertel Spartans, a team from the Austrian Football League’s Third Division. Joe also taught English in Slovakia and Austria through a program called English Weeks, teaching students in grades third through eighth.

Mark Figueroa
Defensive Backs

Mark Figueroa joined the Pioneer staff in 2013 as an assistant coach for the linebackers. In 2014 he assisted with the offense. During the 2015 season,  he will serve as an assistant coach for the defensive backs.  Figueroa is also Lewis & Clark's Associate Provost for Institutional Research and Planning.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy from U.C. Riverside, a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Claremont Graduate University.  Figueroa moved to the Portland area in 2012 with this wife and three kids.

Rob Hastin
Special Teams Coordinator

Rob Hastin joined the Lewis & Clark football staff in 2015 as the special teams coordinator.

Prior to Lewis & Clark, Hastin spent six seasons as the head coach of Tualatin High School in the Portland area, ending his run with a 37-19 record and one state championship appearance. Hastin's father, Craig, had been the only coach in Tualatin's history prior to his son replacing him.

Hastin joined the Tualatin staff as an assistant coach in 2003 and was the team's defensive coordinator from the 2004 season until becoming the head coach in 2008.

Hastin graduated from Linfield College in 1996 with a degree in exercise science.

While at Linfield, Hastin was a letterwinner in 1994, playing for the Wildcats from 1992-96.

After graduating from Linfield, Hastin coached at Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel, Calif. for two years before moving back to the Portland area and coaching at Century High School in Hillsboro.

Hastin is a 1992 graduate of Tigard High School, where his father coached. The team won the 1990 Class 4A state championship.

Justin Kahut
Kickers and Punters

Justin Kahut is a first-year coach for the Lewis & Clark football team. He’ll work with the Pioneers’ kickers, punters and long snappers during the 2015 season.

Kahut joins the staff after a two-year stint as a private kicking coach for athletes in third grade through high school.

Prior to helping other kickers, Kahut was a 2nd Team All-Pac-10 kicker his junior season at Oregon State University, where he left the program in 2010 as the Beavers’ fifth-leading scorer all-time. A three-year starter for Oregon State, Kahut finished his career ranked second all-time in most field goals made.

A three-year football letterman for Clackamas High School, Kahut set a record for the Cavaliers, kicking a 52-yard field goal. His efforts earned him a unanimous All-League 1st Team selection his senior season, while also finishing 2nd Team All-State.

Kahut graduated from OSU in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering Management.

Andrew Traver
Linebackers Assistant

Andrew Traver joined the Lewis & Clark football staff in 2015 as a linebackers assistant. Traver has great familiarity with the Pioneers, having played for four years at Lewis & Clark.

As a Pioneers linebacker, Traver earned All-Northwest Conference honors twice. One of those seasons was his senior year in which he played in 35 games and led Lewis & Clark in tackles (85), seven of which were tackles for loss. He also had a sack and fumble recovery.

His junior season, Traver had 71 tackles, ranking him sixth in the conference. He also had two sacks.

In his sophomore season, Traver led the team in tackles (70), four of which were for loss, and he had 1.5 sacks. That season, he was named Honorable Mention All-NWC.

As a freshman, Traver played in eight games and had 16 tackles.

He was also a baseball player for Lewis & Clark, primarily as a catcher. His final three seasons, Traver had a .239 batting average and .344 slugging percentage. He hit four home runs and had 34 RBI.

Traver graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor's degree in economics from Lewis & Clark College. He has also helped as a trainer at Specialty Athletic Training, which is owned by Lewis & Clark alumnus Ryan Lockard.

Joe-Barry Gardner
Defensive Line Assistant

Joe-Barry Gardner joined the Lewis & Clark football coaching staff in 2014. For the 2015-16 season, Gardner will serve as a defensive line assistant.

Gardner is a graduate of the University of West Florida with a Bachelor of Communication in Telecommunications Technology.

Off the field, Gardner is an Area Director for Lewis & Clark College, overseeing the residents of Copeland Hall.

Ken Johnson
Defensive Assistant

Ken Johnson joined the Lewis & Clark football staff in 2015 as a defensive assistant.



Disan Suarez
Defensive Assistant

A former player and four-year letterwinner for the Pioneers, Disan Suarez joined the Lewis & Clark football coaching staff in 2015.

While he was a player for the Pios, Suarez played in the secondary and was a constant starter from his sophomore season on.

His senior season (2010-11), Suarez played in all nine games, scoring a defensive touchdown and amounting 34 tackles. He had three fumble recoveries, six tackles for loss and one sack.

As a junior (2009-10), Suarez started all nine games and was fifth on the team in tackes (31).

He also started all nine games his sophomore season (2008-09), finishing with a career-high 46 tackles, including three for loss. He had one sack that season.

During his freshman season (2007-08), Suarez played seven out of nine games and had five tackles.

Prior to Lewis & Clark, Suarez was a three-year letter-winner at Calipatria High in California where he played tight end and linebacker. He was selected 1st team all-league on both sides of the ball and was an 1st Team All-Imperial Valley choice on offense. He also played four years of varsity baseball and two years varsity basketball, all while being an honor student.