SFA scores 14 unanswered in fourth quarter to secure first victory of 2015
Clint Conque enters his second season as the Lumberjacks' head coach, already setting a precedent for the success of SFA football.
In his first season in Nacogdoches, Conque led SFA to an 8-5 record, a five-win improvement from 2013, as the 2014 squad became just the 13th team in program history to reach the eight-win plateau. Picked to finish sixth in the preseason Southland Conference standings, SFA went 5-3 in SLC play, including wins at sixth-ranked McNeese State and against eighth-ranked Southeasten Louisiana, tying for third in the conference standings.
SFA cracked the FCS Coaches Poll Top-25 twice in 2014, marking the first time the Lumberjacks had been ranked in the nation's top-25 since 2010. Conque helped guide the 'Jacks to their first NCAA playoff appearance since 2010, earning SLC Coach of the Year honors for the third time in his career and was a finalist for the FCS Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year for the fourth time.
Under Conque's guidance, senior running back Gus Johnson had the best rushing season in program history, setting six SFA rushing records as well as setting the Southland Conference record for rushing yards in a season. Johnson was named the SLC Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award (finishing ninth in the voting) while sophomore quarterback Zach Conque was named the SLC Newcomer of the Year.
Conque brought to Nacogdoches an impressive coaching resume built on success, posting an overall career record of 105-59 (.640) during his 14 seasons as the head coach at Central Arkansas. He departs as the all-time winningest coach in Bear program history while becoming just the second collegiate head coach in the state of Arkansas to amass 100 career victories, sitting behind only legendary Razorback coach Frank Broyles.
Central Arkansas established itself as one of the top teams both regionally and nationally during Conque's tenure, capturing the Southland Conference title in 2008 and 2012, advancing to the FCS playoffs in both 2011 and 2012. UCA also made a pair of NCAA Division II playoff appearances during Conque's time in Conway, including advancing to the quarterfinals in 2005, before the program made the transition to the FCS level following the 2005 season.
During the eight seasons in which Central Arkansas competed in the Southland Conference, Conque has posted a 33-16 record in SLC play (.673), being named the Southland's Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2012 in addition to the same honor in 2005. The NCAA FCS Region 5 Coach of the Year in 2008, Conque has also been a three-time finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award with his teams boasting seven top-25 finishes since 2001.
Under Conque's tuteledge, his players have been recognized for their efforts on the field time and time again. During his coaching career, 126 players have been recognized as all-conference selections with 37 earning All-America honors as 31 former players have gone on to play professionally, including 12 signing NFL contracts with an additional six playing in the CFL.
Conque's UCA teams won eight or more games in eight of his 14 seasons in Conway, including an 11-3 mark in 2005 that tied the program record for wins in a season as the Bears advanced to the Division II national quarterfinals. Central Arkansas reached the 10-win plateau again in 2008 as the Bears posted a 10-2 mark.
Known for his high-tempo offenses, Conque's teams have consistently ranked among the national leaders in both scoring and passing offense as the Bears have finished in the top-10 nationally in passing offense five times and scoring offense four times.
His focus hasn't been solely on the field, however, as Conque's teams have boasted some of the highest APR (Academic Progress Rate) scores in the region with three Academic All-Americans during his coaching career.
Before taking over the helm of the Central Arkansas program in 2000, Conque spent seven seasons at Louisiana Tech (1993-99) in a variety of roles. Conque oversaw the Bulldogs' running backs, receivers and special teams before ultimately serving as the offensive coordinator in 1999 as Louisiana Tech led the nation passing offense and was second in total offense en route to an 8-3 record.
Prior to his time in Ruston, three seasons at Samford University (1990-92) as the running backs coach, helping guide the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearances in 1991 and 1992, posting a 22-4 record during that span. Conque began his collegiate coaching career at McNeese State (1987-89), spending three seasons coaching the Cowboys' running backs and outside linebackers.
A graduate of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, La., Conque was an All-American linebacker at Nicholls State Universityin Thibodaux, La., picking up first team honors by the Associated Press. He also was named a second team LSWA All-Louisiana selection as a senior as Conque was selected to Nicholls' Silver Anniversary Team in 1997 and in 2005 was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.
Following his playing career at Nicholls, Conque landed with the Los Angeles Raiders only to have his career cut short by injury in 1983. He then returned to Nicholls and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Colonels before spending a pair of seasons coaching in the high school ranks.
Conque is married to the former Angele' Jackson as the couple has three sons: Chasse (and his wife Lisa), Benton and Zach. He also became a grandfather as twins Julianna and Sydney were born to Chasse and Lisa in 2012, followed by the addition of Adeline in August of 2014.