Josh Conklin

Head Football Coach, Wofford
2018 - Present

Josh Conklin is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Wofford College football team. In his first two seasons at the helm, the Terriers won back-to-back Southern Conference Championship and reached the NCAA FCS Playoffs.

Wofford announced on Tuesday, January 2, 2018, the hiring of Josh Conklin as head football coach. Conklin, who spent the previous three seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh, was an assistant coach at Wofford from 2007-09 working with the secondary. Conklin has additional experience at Florida International, Tennessee, The Citadel and South Dakota State University, serving as the defensive coordinator at Pitt, Florida International and The Citadel.

Last season presented numerous challenges for the Terriers as they navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. After preparing for a fall season, the team took the field in February for an abbreviated spring slate of conference-only games. Wofford won the opener and were 1-1 when the next game was canceled. Returning to the field with a revamped defensive front, the Terriers dropped the final three games with each decided by a touchdown or less. Following the season, Michael Mason and Tahir Annor earned All-Southern Conference honors. The team was third in the SoCon in total offense.

In 2019, the Terriers lost the first two games of the season before the next five straight. Following a loss to Clemson, Wofford had wins over Mercer, Furman and The Citadel to finish the conference slate with a 6-1 record to claim the outright Southern Conference title. With the automatic bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs, the Terriers were defeated 28-21 by Kennesaw State in the first round.

A total of nine players earned All-Southern Conference honors. Quarterback Joe Newman was the Offensive Player of the Year and offensive lineman Blake Jeresaty received the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, along with multiple All-America honors. Conklin was named Coach of the Year by the media. The Terriers were ranked #17 by the FCS Coaches and #16 in the STATS FCS poll to end the season. Overall the team was first in the SoCon in rushing offense, rushing defense, total defense, sacks and sacks allowed.

The 2018 season began with SoCon wins over The Citadel and VMI and the team was 6-2 heading into November. A win over Western Carolina on November 10 secured a 6-2 mark in league play, which was good for a share of the Southern Conference Championship with Furman and ETSU. The Terriers secured the automatic bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs with the tiebreaker.

In the first round of the playoffs, Wofford defeated Elon 19-7 at Gibbs Stadium. In the second round, the season came to an end with a 13-10 loss to #4 seed Kennesaw State. Conklin was one of only three first-year head coaches to lead his team to the playoffs and he was the only one to earn a victory.

The Terriers had eleven players earn All-Southern Conference honors following the season. In addition, Miles Brown, Justus Basinger and Andre Stoddard were recognized as All-Americans. Wofford ended the season ranked #12 by the FCS Coaches and #13 in the STATS FCS poll. The team was first in the Southern Conference in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense and rushing offense.

“Josh is the complete package,” said Wofford College Director of Athletics Richard Johnson. “Having worked here as an assistant under Mike Ayers, he has the Wofford DNA we were looking for along with a great depth and breadth of external experience. For the past three seasons as a defensive coordinator in the ACC, he has matched wits with some of the best offensive minds in college football. We are thrilled to have him carry on the legacy of Wofford football.”

Conklin served as Pitt’s defensive coordinator for three seasons. Under Conklin’s watch, Pitt has featured one of the most productive pass rushes in the country. The Panthers ranked sixth nationally in sacks in 2016, averaging 3.31 per contest. Pitt compiled 111 sacks during his three seasons.

In 2017, the Panthers ended the season with a 24-14 upset of undefeated and #2 ranked Miami. Pitt had four sacks in the game and held the Hurricanes to 45 rushing yards. Senior cornerback Avonte Maddox was recognized on the All-ACC third team, while junior linebacker Oluwaseun Idowu and junior safety Jordan Whitehead received Honorable Mention All-ACC honors.

Conklin’s 2016 unit also boasted lofty national rankings in rush defense (16th, 119.6 yards per game) and defensive touchdowns (eighth, four TDs). The Panthers had a 43-42 win over eventual national champion Clemson in Death Valley to highlight an 8-5 season that culminated in the trip to the Pinstripe Bowl. In his first season as defensive coordinator, Pitt posted an 8-5 record and earned a berth in the Military Bowl.

Defensive end Ejuan Price enjoyed the finest two years of his career playing in Conklin’s defense. Price racked up 24.5 sacks over the 2015-16 seasons and was twice selected first team All-ACC. As a senior, he led the conference and ranked second in the country in tackles for loss (1.8 per game) en route to second-team All-America honors. Price was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 2017 NFL Draft. In the secondary, safety Jordan Whitehead was an All-ACC selection each of his first two seasons and was the league’s 2015 Rookie of the Year.

Conklin joined Pitt after building an impressive resume as FIU’s defensive coordinator for two years (2013-14). In his final season, he was nominated for the prestigious Broyles Award after overseeing a unit that ranked first nationally in fumble recoveries (19), second in defensive touchdowns (six), fourth in turnovers gained (33), eighth in turnover margin (plus-11 overall; 0.92 margin per game) and 35th in total defense (363.8 yards per game).

Prior to FIU, Conklin was the safeties coach at the University of Tennessee (2012) and defensive coordinator and safeties coach at The Citadel (2010-11). While at The Citadel, Conklin coached cornerback Cortez Allen, a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2011-15.

Conklin’s defenses at The Citadel annually ranked among the best in the Southern Conference. The Bulldogs were especially stingy in scoring defense in 2011, holding their opponents under 20 points in seven of 11 contests (64%).

From 2007-09, Conklin coached the defensive backs at Wofford. He added special teams to his responsibilities in his final season working with the Terriers.

In Conklin’s initial two years, Wofford had 33 interceptions. The Terriers led the Southern Conference in 2007 with 20 interceptions and ranked second in 2008 with 13. Wofford advanced to the FCS Playoffs in each of those seasons. In 2007, the Terriers won the second Southern Conference title in school history and led the league in scoring defense. After an historic win at Montana in the first round of the playoffs, the Terriers were defeated in the quarterfinals by Richmond. Cornerback Brian Kemp was named second team All-Southern Conference.

The 2008 season was capped with a loss to James Madison in the first round of the playoffs to end the year at 9-3. Safety Jason Leventis and cornerback Mychael Johnson earned second team All-Southern Conference honors as the team was second in the league in interceptions. While working with the specialists in 2009, punter Chris Tommie was named first team All-Southern Conference with a 43.8 average.

Conklin’s coaching career was launched at South Dakota State, where he served as a graduate assistant in 2003 and 2004. He then was promoted to a full-time post with the Jackrabbits, coaching the secondary and special teams in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, SDSU finished 21st in the nation and ranked second in the conference in pass defense.

Conklin is a 2003 graduate of Dakota State University. He was a starting linebacker and Academic All-American for the Trojans. A native of Gillette, Wyoming, Conklin was born June 19, 1979.

In addition to his bachelor’s in physical education from DSU, Conklin also earned a master’s in sport administration from South Dakota State. He and his wife, Molly, have three children - sons Clark and Davis and daughter Millie. His brother-in-law, Al Clark III, was a four-year letterman at Wofford and graduated in 2002, while his father-in-law, Al Clark, Jr., was also a four-year football letterman at Wofford and graduated in 1976.