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Coach Carl Thomas

Jason Smelser is in his fifth year with the Central Oklahoma program and serves as both the linebackers coach and the strength and conditioning coach.

Smelser, a former head coach, played a pivotal role in helping the Bronchos post back-to-back winning seasons in 2014 and 2015.

Smelser coached in 2015 linebacker Malcolm Howard, who earned second-team All-MIAA honors after racking up 140 tackles, the most by a UCO player since 1998 and the seventh-best season in school history.

Jason came to the Bronchos after a three-year stint as an assistant at NCAA Division II Henderson State. He coached running backs, tight ends, and fullbacks in 2011 before becoming linebacker coach/strength and conditioning coordinator in 2012.

Smelser helped the Reddies to a 21-2 record the next two seasons, with HSU winning back-to-back Great American Conference championships in making consecutive trips to the Division II playoffs. He was named Samson Equipment’s NCAA Division II Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly after the 2012 season.

A native of Monroe, La., Smelser was a prep standout at Ouachita Christian High School before going on to play at Southern Arkansas. He was a four-year letterman and three-year starter at running back for the Muleriders, earning All-Gulf South Conference honors once.

Smelser stayed on at SAU to start his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1999-00 and then served as defensive line coach from 2001-04, helping lead the Muleriders to the Division II playoffs in 2003 when his line totaled 30 sacks.

Smelser became defensive coordinator at Iowa Wesleyan in 2005 and added head coaching duties the following season. He stayed with the NAIA-member Tigers until 2009 and then spent the 2010 season as defensive coordinator/head strength coach at Concordia (Mich.) before going to Henderson State.

Jason, who earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Arkansas, is married (Wendy) and has two children (Madison and Slade).

Coach Jason Smelser