Alvin Parker Alvin Parker, PhD, will be entering his third season at the helm of the football program at Virginia Union University.
Parker hoists an 11-3 CIAA record after two seasons, and 15-5 overall. Parker guided the 2019 Panthers to their first ever national ranking in the AFCA poll after being ranked 25th during week seven of the season, this after earning a top 25 ranking from Lindy’s magazine in the pre-season poll.
In his second season directing the program, Parker started the season off leading the program to a victory over FCS/Big South opponent Hampton University 36-17.
The impact he has had on the program in such a short time has been considerable. Following the spring 2020 semester, 47 football student athletes obtained above a 3.0 GPA, all of this culminated with a football student athlete being named the universities co-valedictorian (Emmanuel Antwi).
Parker coached the 2019 CIAA Special Teams player of the year Jefferson Souza. Souza was also named the Don Hansen Super region two Special Teams player of the year. He developed Khalid Morris who lead the league in passing yards per game and was also tied for first in passing TD’s. 2019 also saw Charles Hall lead the nation (NCAA) in yards per catch (25.9).
In June 2019, Parker was named the President of the CIAA Coaches association.
In his inaugural season as the head coach of the Panthers, Parker posted the best record of a first-year coach at VUU with an 8-2 overall mark. Recognized as one of the most gifted offensive football minds during his heralded career as an assistant coach, the Panthers had one of their most successful seasons in 2018.
Virginia Union ranked #1 in several categories in the CIAA including scoring offense (5th NCAA-45.2ppg), scoring defense (20th NCAA-18.9ppg) and rush offense (15 NCAA-253.3ypg). The Panthers also finished first in the league in sacks allowed, which was good for eighth in the NCAA.
They topped the nation in blocked kicks and set school records for rushing yards in a game (494 vs Lincoln) along with total and rushing touchdowns with twelve and nine in a single game, respectively.
A native of Washington, DC, and alumnus of Virginia Union, Parker was introduced as the 27th head coach in school history on December 18, 2017. During his introductory press conference, he spoke in depth about his love for his alma mater.
“There aren’t enough words to express what it means to be here, at a place I love, the one that embraced me as a young man and helped guide me into adulthood,” said Dr. Parker. “This is my dream job and I am excited to build on the legacy of this storied program.”
Dr. Parker’s has a philosophy of an aggressive tempo offense, and is also known widely for being a committed recruiter. He spent time on Lombardy Street as offensive coordinator and running backs coach for five successful seasons (1999-2003) which saw the Panthers win 38 games and advance to the three CIAA title games in four years (2000, 2001, 2003). During the first run as a coach at his alma mater, Parker called signals alongside his collegiate coach and mentor Willard Bailey a CIAA Hall of Famer and the conferences all-time winningest coach.
“I was always told that what Union makes, the world takes. We will embrace our position as the front porch of the University,” says Parker.
Over his previous stint on the Union staff, the Panthers won three CIAA Eastern Division crowns, captured the (2001) CIAA title and played in the 2001 Pioneer Bowl. Dr. Parker coached André Braxton, the CIAA’s all-time leading rusher and single season touchdown record holder, who would go on to be named the recipient of the (2000) Alonzo "Jake" Gaither Award as the top HBCU player in the nation, Braxton was an All-CIAA honoree all four years at VUU and named Player of the Year in 2000
“Dr. Parker won CIAA championships here at VUU as a player and later as an assistant coach under Willard Bailey,” said Virginia Union Athletic Director Joe Taylor. “He also won CIAA championships as the Associate Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator at Elizabeth City State University. While experiencing success on the field, he has earned his undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. An accomplishment that few football coaches in America have obtained.”
Before his successes as a coach and an academician, Parker was a standout student-athlete during his playing days at VUU. He earned offensive MVP honors in 1996 and 1998, still ranks in the top ten amongst the Panther greats in single season touchdowns scored and is the Gold Bowl record holder for the longest TD — a 79-yard reception.
His dedication and success as one of the nation’s top assistants has not gone unnoticed as he was named a finalist for the AFCA National Assistant Coach of the Year Award every year from 2013-2016.
Dr. Parker is very familiar with the landscape of the CIAA as he enjoyed successful stints at Saint Augustine’s University and at Elizabeth City (NC) State University. He served as the Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator at SAU for two season and helped orchestrate one of the biggest turnarounds in school history. The Falcons went from last in the CIAA in total offense (200.3 ypg) to putting up 335.5 yards per game good for 6th in the conference, improved their scoring average to 25.5ppg (18.1) and improved their overall touchdown output by +10 with 34 on the year.
Most significantly, the Falcons went from the bottom of the CIAA South, to a tie for first place in the division, just one game away from their first conference title appearance.
During his 13 years at ECSU, his offense stood out as one of the most prolific in all of NCAA Division II. Under his guidance the Vikings had 4 CIAA Title game appearances, 2 NCAA Playoff appearances, and 2 Pioneer bowl appearances. ECSU was crowned the 2012 Pioneer Bowl Champions with a 28-13 victory over SIAC power Tuskegee University in Columbus, Georgia.
During an eight-year span at ECSU (2006-2014), the Vikings were a whopping 48-15 in conference play and averaged over 30 points per game in CIAA contests. From 2010-2015 the Vikings were one of two teams to average over 30 points and over 400 yards per game.
The 2011 season was a historical one for ECSU as the Vikings were one of ten teams nationally who rushed for 36 touchdowns or more on the season. The Vikings potent rushing attack was led by tailback Daront’e McNeill who was named the 2011 CIAA Player of the Year
The previous year, Parker’s offense finished first in sacks against, second in pass completion percentage, total offense, and rushing offense. The "multiple-attack" offense averaged 194 YPG rushing on the way to setting the school record. The Viking's offense again took up more space in the record books when in his senior season McNeill, finished seventh in the nation in rushing became ECSU's single season rushing leader with 1321 yards. That year three ECSU runners averaged more than five yards per carry and a total of six offensive players received post-season honors.
In 2009, the Vikings tied for first in the CIAA Eastern Division. The offense finished 15th in the nation in scoring offense averaging 35 PPG. ECSU rushed for nearly 30 TD's which was amongst the highest in the Conference. Six members of the Viking's offense received post-season honors.
In 2008, ECSU won the CIAA Eastern Division title averaging 32 PPG. Senior quarterback Curtis Rich led the conference in all passing categories on his way to being named 2008 Offensive Player of the Year. Wide receiver Dexter Manley led the conference in all major receiving categories and was also listed in the top 5 nationally.
In 2007, the Vikings had a 2nd place finish in the CIAA Eastern Division.
The Vikings’ breakout season came in 2006 where ECSU’s offense finished second in scoring and in total offense in route to the CIAA championship game. Additionally, the Viking offense had a record-breaking year which saw 5 offensive players being recognized as First Team All-Conference. Sophomore Curtis Rich had one of the best seasons of any quarterback under Parker's guidance; he completed 52% of his passes and threw 21 touchdowns during the regular season. By the end of the season, Parker had taken an offensive line that featured 3 new starters and propelled it into one of the top units in the country. That offensive line featured All-American Ronnie McClary who blocked for the league's top reception leader Marvin Jackson, and the CIAA’s top scorer Chris Carter. Both Jackson and Carter ranked in the top for All-Receiving Categories.
Dr. Parker has coached 3 NFL players; Pete Hunter (Seattle Seahawks), James Atkins (San Francisco 49er's) and Jerome Leslie (Philadelphia Eagles) and nearly 150 All-Conference players, and 10 All-Americans
Parker received his M.S. degree in Sport Leadership/Athletic Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, and his B.S. degree in Mass Communication/Journalism from Virginia Union University. He obtained his Doctorate in Education/Sport Management from Northcentral University in 2017.
Off the field, Parker is an advocate for community development; in 2003 he started HOME TEAM Foundation INC, a non-profit organization geared towards helping underprivileged youth both athletically and academically. Parker is also the author of the book “Stronger than Pride”.
Parker and his wife LaToya reside in Richmond. He is the proud father of a son Alan and daughter Lani.
Edward Pointer returns to his alma mater after spending the last two seasons at Saint Augustine’s University, the last as their Defensive Coordinator. Under Coach Pointer’s guidance the falcons’ defense finished in the top 3 in the CIAA in points per game in conference, tied for 1st place with 31 sacks, and placed multiple players on the all-conference team.
Coach Pointer is no stranger to the VUU sidelines. This is his third stint at VUU. He spent three seasons as the linebacker coach, two as the Defensive Coordinator at VUU (2008-2010) and he also spent six seasons at VUU as the linebackers coach at VUU (1998-2003), during which time the Panthers won the CIAA Championship in 2001. Prior to that, Coach Pointer spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Elizabeth City State University (2005-2007). During his coaching career, he has coached 14 All-CIAA players, two All-Americans, and two NFL players. In addition, he has coached in four CIAA championship games (2000, ’01, ’03, and ’06).
Coach Pointer is a native of Richmond, VA, native who played linebacker for Virginia Union University in the 1994-97 seasons. At the conclusion of his college career, he signed to play for the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes. His professional football career was cut short due to a leg injury.
In his spare time he enjoys reading, listening to music, and spending time with his daughter. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Information Systems from VUU in 2000.
Coach Diego Ryland a US Army Retiree is in his second season as Running Backs Coach at Virginia Union University. This past season he helped the top rushing offense in the CIAA led by All-American running back Tabyus Taylor. The running attack led the top offense in the CIAA finish with an 8-2 record. The offensive average a conference leading 45.2 points, 450.6 total yards and 253.3 rushing yards a game. He coached, mentored and trained 13 running backs and fullbacks to include an All-American/All- Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) selectee and NCAA’s Division 2 football leader in All-Purpose yards for 2018 football season. Taylor, also led the CIAA in total All-Purpose, rushing yards and scoring offense while being VUU's top receiver for most of the 2018 football season.
Prior to coming to Virginia Union University, Ryland was an Assistant Coach (Running Backs) at Hampton University under Coach Connell Maynor. At Hampton University he mentored All-MEAC running back Yahkee Johnson formerly of LC Bird High School here in Richmond. Ryland obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy, and he is currently in-pursuit of his Masters in Sports Administration from United States Sports Academy.
Ryland has 4 children Niambi, Diego, Kyree and Ryan.
Monterio Hand enters his first year as the Wide Receiver s Coach at Virginia Union University. Hand was previously at Elizabeth City State for 13 years as a Wide Receiver coach, Special Teams Coach and Recruiting Coordinator.A native of Winton NC. Hand Played at ECSU from 1998_2001. Hand received All Conference recognition as well as Vikings Offensive MVP. Hand also led the Conference in receptions. Hand coached several All Conference players such as Chris Carter, Billy Wiggins, Marvin Jackson(2006). Dexter Manley and Reggie Smith(2009). Keith Strickland TE s Karvin Gwaltney in (2009,2010). Victor Tabbs (2014,2015,2016). Hand was apart of five Division Championships and Coached in Four Conference Championships. Two bowl games and NCAA Divison II playoffs games. Hand is always looking for ways to make his players better on and off the field. Coach Hand is a member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).Hand is also a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity Inc. Hand has a B.S degree in Criminal Justice from Elizabeth City State University.
Luke Bengtson joined Virginia Union University as Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach in Spring of 2022. The Virginia Union offense averaged 40.5 PPG which was 1st in the CIAA and #5 Nationally. The Quarterbacks led the CIAA in Touchdown Passes, Quarterback Rating (#17 Nationally) , and 3rd down Conversion rating(#16 Nationally. They ranked 2nd in the CIAA in completion percentage and Senior Quarterback Jahkari Grant accepted an invite to play in the HBCU legacy Bowl in Selma, Alabama as well as was named MVP of the Virginia State game.
During the 2020/2021 Seasons, Bengtson served at Millikin University as the Big Blue’s Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach.
Under Bengtson’s direction, the Big Blue Offense has turned in record setting performances.
Big Blue Offense Under Bengtson:
Fall 2021 Season
• Top Half of CCIW in Yards Per Game, Rushing, Passing (Fourth), Sacks Allowed (Third), 1st Downs, 3rd Down Conversions, Red Zone Offense
• Quarterback was Third leading Passer in Conference
• Conference Season Second Best 651 Yards Total Offense Week 4
• Coached the 2nd Leading Receiver in Conference, Eighth and Ninth Leading Receiver in Conference
• Set Single Game Individual Passing Record in Millikin History Week 4 (391 Yards) and Single Game Team Total (431 yards)
• Beat Augustana in consecutive years for first time in 20+ years
Spring 2021 Season
• 32.3 Points Per Game Average (Third Most at Millikin in 17+ Years)
• 451 Yards Per Game Average (First at Millikin in 17+ Years)
• 313.3 Yards Per Game Passing
• 8:1 Touchdown to Interception Ratio
• Averaged 24 First Downs Per Game
• Offensive Line D3Football National Team of the Week 1
• Wide Receiver Named to National Team of Week 2
• Beat Rival Illinois Wesleyan for 1st time in 11 years
Bengtson brought over 11 years of coaching experience to Millikin most recently serving as the tight ends coach at NCAA Division II Chadron State. Bengtson was heavily involved in the overall game planning on offense at Chadron State with specific responsibility for Red Zone game planning. In 2019, Chadron State was ranked 23rd nationally in Red Zone offense. Chadron State’s offense averaged 457 yards per game scoring 37 points and converting 23 first downs per game. Chadron state was ranked in the Top 25 nationally in all three categories and second in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC).
Other recent position include serving as the Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 2018 and Special Teams and Passing Coordinator\Wide Receivers Coach at Fairmont State University in 2017.
Bengtson has coached in all three NCAA Divisions including the University of Arkansas (2014 season) where he served as Offensive Quality Control\Assistant Tight Ends Coach. Bengtson has coached all of the offensive position groups and has coached several players that went on to play in the National Football League. In 2015, Bengtson was the Tight Ends Coach at Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines, Iowa when the program won the Iowa 4A State Championships with a 13-0 record.
After being a two-time All-State wide receiver in high school at Johnston High School in Iowa,
Bengtson played collegiately for two seasons at Northwest Missouri State University where he was a wide receiver on the 2005 national runner up team. He finished his collegiate career at St. Cloud State University.
Bengtson earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Health Education at St. Cloud State. He has a Master of Science in Sports Business and Athletic Administration at the University of Central Missouri.
Luke and his wife, Witnee, were married in January of 2022.
What Former Players Say About Coach Bengtson:
“Coach B is a coach I will remember and look up to for the rest of my career as he has taught me a lot about the game of football and coaching. But what I will cherish the most are the talks about everyday life we had. I didn’t have that relationship with every coach I’ve had and I really appreciated that."
Jahkari Grant, Quarterback, Virginia Union
"Coach Bengtson is a man who is respectful, caring, and an awesome person to have in your circle. He has always been someone who puts the players first. "Players win the game." That was his main quote to us after every single practice and preached that saying every single day. He cares about players growing into mature young men, he has taught me so many life lessons that I will take into the real world and cherish for the rest of my life. The meals, talks, and memories we've created over the last 2 years, are what a coach and player relationship should be. He helped us to beat our rival, Illinois Wesleyan, for the first time in 11 years. 11 long years of losing to your rival, is the worst feeling in the world, but we as a team, believed in his play-calling and trust in us to help us pull out the upset. He understands the game of football and is one of the hardest working coaches I've ever met in my life to make sure we had the best game plan to defeat our opponents. I'm blessed to have him as a coach and I hope nothing but the best for this man for the rest of his coaching career!"
Cal Pohrte, Quarterback, Millikin University 2021
"When Coach Bengtson came to Millikin my Junior Year, I knew we got a great coach after talking with him for 10 minutes. I learned a lot from Coach B not only about football, but life. Coach B is a great man and a great football coach, he’s the kind of guy every staff needs. It’s been my pleasure to play for Coach B and I will cherish the relationship we built in my last 2 seasons at Millikin."
Brandt Williamson, Offensive Line, Millikin University 2021
“When Coach Bengtson came in I was blown away. Coach Bengtson is more than just a great coach. He taught us about life and explained to us that football will end and prepared me for the real world. On the field he taught me stuff about the game I never even thought of. He showed us how to watch film and understand a defense and the concepts we were using to attack them. He taught us the reads the quarterbacks were taking and the checks the Offensive Line were making. Coach Bengtson is more than just a great coach, he is a great human who elevated our program. Coach B is a coach I will stay in contact with the rest of my life.”
Matt Vargas, All Conference Tight End, Chadron State College 2019
“Coach Bengtson was a tremendous mentor to me while I was on campus. Although I did not have the opportunity to be coached directly by him as my position coach, I still had the opportunity to learn from him. He always had a great attitude when he was around campus and understood the game inside and out. I could tell that when he stepped on campus he had an array of knowledge to bring to the team and any position he coached. I was extremely excited myself after looking at Coach’s track record and just knowing where he had been and the accomplishments he achieved. When I would meet with Coach Bengtson over our offense he was able to break it down so I was able to understand it better. What I enjoyed most was having him up in the box being able to see the whole field and helping our OC call the plays. He understands the game far beyond anyone else I have seen and I could not be more grateful to have the opportunity to play for him.”
Cole Thurness, All Conference Wide Receiver, Team MVP, Chadron State College 2019
“Coach Bengtson is one of the hardest working coaches I’ve been around, always put in countless time and effort outside regular hours to make sure we were as prepared as possible. Expected the best out of his players and pushed us when necessary. Beyond that he took an interest in life outside of football, always checking in making sure everything was good.”
Jack Connelly, Quarterback, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse 2018
“To one of my favorite guys Luke Bengtson. You were more than just a great coach you were one of my role models. The first conversation we had I knew there was something different about you. Coach B always kept his word and made me understand there’s more to life than just football. Which I respected even more about him. Even with all the hype surrounding me you always found a way to keep me grounded by letting me know that there is still more work to be done if you want to be great. Coach B I appreciate you for being a great mentor and coach to me continue to be great and turn boys into men.”
Jamorris Warren, All American Wide Receiver, University of Central Missouri 2010
“Coach Bengtson was one of my favorite coaches I ever had. He taught me how to work and practice hard, but also taught me life lessons in the process. He is the type of coach you will want to have a relationship with after football, because he will always have your back and be there for you whenever you need him the most. “
Quentin Chavis, Quarterback, Greensboro College 2016
“One of the best coaches that I had the pleasure of being under would be Coach B. Every day he came with the same energy and enthusiasm to the field. He made sure that as an entire receiver core, that we did our job day in and day out. He wanted us to play to the best of our abilities. He was also a good person to talk to off the field and communicate with. He made sure I was always good no matter what. He’s a great person and I would suggest him to any university or job.”
Dana Jackson, Wide Receiver, Fairmont State University 2017