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Falcons announce Bill Walsh coaching fellows


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons have added four coaches as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship leading up to the 2023 season. Jimmy Beal, Yosef Fares, BJ Johnson and Kevin Whitley will join the Falcons coaching staff during various parts of the offseason program.

Beal comes to Atlanta after recently being named San Diego State University's running backs coach on April 17, 2023. Prior to joining the Aztecs, Beal spent the last three years (2020-23) at his alma mater, Montana State as their running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Over the last two seasons (2021-22), the Bobcats ranked second among all FCS teams in yards per carry (5.8), third in rushing yards (7,662) and rushing yards per game (262.4). In 2019, he served as the running backs coach and pro liaison at South Dakota State University. He also spent nine years (2010-19) at Northern Arizona University in a variety of roles such as running backs coach, tight ends coach, assistant recruiting coordinator, pro liaison and camp director. Beal coached defensive backs at Redlands (Calif.) University in the Spring of 2010, was a graduate assistant at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas (2009) and coached running backs at Rocky Mountain College from 2007-09. He also played running back at Montana State from 2002-05 and Rocky Mountain College from 2005-07.

Fares is the head coach at Justin Garza High School in Fresno, Calif., where he's coached for the past three seasons. Fares returns to Atlanta after participating in the 2022 Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship with the Falcons. Prior to coaching at Justin Garza, Fares spent one season (2020) as the head coach at Bullard High School in Fresno, Calif., and three seasons (2016-19) as the head coach at Madera (Calif.) High School. He's also served as a varsity wrestling coach and a strength and conditioning coach at Bullard High School. Fares began his coaching career as an assistant junior varsity football coach at Bullard in 2003 after earning a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from California State University in Fresno, Calif., and earning his Master of Education from National University in Fresno, Calif.

Johnson currently serves as the wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Georgia Southern University where he recorded 93 receptions for 1,388 receiving yards and six touchdowns over four seasons from 2013-17. Prior to his time at Georgia Southern, Johnson spent the 2022 season as the wide receivers and punt returners coach at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C. In 2022, Johnson coached two receivers (T.J. Luther and Cutrell Haywood) to first-team All-Big South honors while Luther was named third-team All-American by Phil Steele. Johnson served as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech (2021) and Colorado (2020) while also serving as the wide receivers coach at Savannah State University in 2019. Johnson began his coaching career as the assistant wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Woodruff (S.C) High School where he played wide receiver from 2008-11.

Whitley joined Georgia Southern's coaching staff in 2019 as a cornerbacks coach and currently serves as the assistant head coach/cornerbacks. Prior to joining Georgia Southern's coaching staff, Whitley worked 25 years in Dekalb, Fulton and Henry counties as a coach and teacher for Stockbridge High School (2009-19), Creekside/North Springs High School (1998-2009) and Redan High School (1996-97). In his final four seasons at Stockbridge High School, he posted a combined 49-5 record (.907) with three regional titles and 18 all-state players. In 2018, Whitley was a participant in the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship with the Seattle Seahawks. Whitley earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Georgia Southern, where he played football from 1988-91 and helped lead the Eagles to two national championships (1989-90). Whitley played professionally in the NFL with the New England Patriots in 1992, and in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts from 1993-95 as a defensive back.

Six coaches on the Falcons' current staff have previously taken part in the Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship.


Team – Year(s)

Frank Bush

Houston Oilers – 1989, 1990

Mario Jeberaeel

Falcons – 2021

Steven King

Raiders – 2017, Lions – 2020

Nick Perry

Ravens – 2019

Michael Pitre

Chiefs – 2017

Marquice Williams

Bears – 2013, 2014, Lions – 2015

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