Can anyone stop the Toledo Rockets from winning the Mid-American Championship for a second consecutive season? Behind head coach Jason Candle, the Toledo coaching staff boasts the consistency, excellence, and experience to ensure that the Rockets are continually one of the teams to beat in the MAC.
Toledo Rockets Coaching Staff
Head Coach, Jason Candle
Since leading the Rockets to a victory over Temple in the 2015 Boca Raton Bowl, Jason Candle has been the shining light of Toledo football. He has become the epitome of consistent success, leading the program to two MAC titles during his tenure while compiling a 54-32 winning record, ensuring no MAC team has won more games than the Rockets since 2015.
In winning the 2017 MAC West Division en route to their first MAC title since 2004, Candle broke a nearly 20-year drought of outright divisional success and was rewarded as the MAC Coach of the Year. When Candle’s Toledo tasted MAC success in 2022, followed by beating Liberty in the Boca Raton Bowl, he became the first Rockets coach to accomplish the feat since 2001.
An offensive mind through and through, Candle was a standout WR at Geneva College and Mount Union as a player, earning all-conference honors in 2001. Following the end of his playing career, the Toledo head coach transitioned to coaching at his alma mater, where he was involved with four NCAA DIII title-winning teams. His full coaching résumé can be found below.
- Mount Union (WR coach, 2002-2006; Offensive coordinator, 2007-2008)
- Toledo (SWR/TE coach, 2009; WR coach, 2010-2011; OC and WR coach, 2012-2013; OC, QB Coach, and Associate head coach, 2014-2015; HC, 2015-2023)
Defensive Coordinator, Vince Kehres
Another member of the Toledo coaching staff with ties to Mount Union, defensive coordinator Vince Kehres joined the program in 2020 after spending 21 years in multiple different roles at his alma mater — culminating in seven years as the head coach for the Purple Raiders. He led the team to two NCAA DII titles, and his 95 wins were more than any other head coach in that span.
Following that incredible performance as a head coach was a tough act to follow, but Kehres has somehow raised the bar with his contributions as the defensive coordinator for the Rockets. He rapidly transformed a unit that, in 2019, ranked 10th in the MAC for scoring defense into one that has finished in the top three of the conference in the last three seasons.
Kehres has his roots on the defensive side of the ball. He was an all-conference defensive end for Mount Union during his playing days and was part of dominant defenses that won consecutive DIII titles. In addition to his role as defensive coordinator, Kehres doubles up as the linebacker coach for the Rockets. You can find his full coaching résumé below:
- Austintown Fitch HS (assistant coach, 1999)
- Mount Union (DL coach, 2000-2004; DC, 2015-2012; HC, 2013-2019)
- Toledo (DC and LB coach, 2020-2023)
Co-Offensive Coordinators, Mike Hallett and Robert Weiner
A former defensive lineman at Mount Union, Mike Hallett joined the Toledo coaching staff in 2016 as the offensive line coach and was promoted to co-offensive coordinator in 2020. He began his coaching career at the high school level in Ohio, transitioning to the college level with Wooster in 1997.
After spending two seasons there, he moved to an assistant role at Thomas More before taking over as head coach in 2004. After three seasons with the Saints, he took the head coaching job at Heidelberg, where he led the Princes to 55 wins and a place in the 2012 NCAA DIII playoffs. Under Hallett, the Rockets have never finished lower than fourth in the MAC for scoring offense.
Hallett is joined as co-offensive coordinator on the Toledo coaching staff by Robert Weiner. He joined the Rockets in 2020 for what was his first-ever college football coaching role. In addition to his role as co-offensive coordinator, Weiner is the Toledo quarterback coach and has overseen the development of 2023 starting quarterback Dequan Finn — one of the MAC’s best.
Although Toledo was his first college football coaching appointment, Weiner has an impeccable résumé of success going back over 30 years. He began his coaching journey at his high school alma mater, Tampa Jesuit, where he served as an assistant coach. However, his success came at Tampa Plant, where he was a two-time Florida High School Coach of the Year.
Special Teams Coordinator, Stanton Weber
While there is consistency at most positions on the Toledo coaching staff, the Rockets welcome Stanton Weber to Ohio as their special teams coordinator for the 2023 college football season. A special teams captain at Kansas State as a player, he got his first coaching role with the Wildcats before spending two seasons learning under Shane Beamer at South Carolina.
Safeties Coach, Ross Watson
Toledo safeties coach Ross Watson briefly crossed paths with head coach Candle when the two played at Mount Union in 2002. Following his career as a cornerback, he embarked on his coaching career with the Purple Raiders — a career that has seen stints at Nebraska, FAU, Youngstown State, and Northern Illinois.
MORE: MAC QB Rankings 2023
Watson joined the Toledo coaching staff in 2016, working with the program’s safeties. Over time, he added co-defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator duties — dropping the latter following the hiring of Weber for 2023. He has been instrumental in the development of standout Rocket defensive backs like Tycen Anderson, Nate Bauer, and DeJuan Rogers.
Running Back Coach, Nate Cole
Nate Cole literally bleeds Toledo midnight blue and gold. A three-year starter on the offensive line, he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant on the Toledo coaching staff in 2011. After a two-year sojourn, he returned to the Rockets as the Director of Player Personnel in 2016 before becoming the RB coach in 2019 — helping mold Bryant Koback and Jacquez Stuart.
Wide Receiver Coach, RJ Fleming
Another new addition to the Toledo coaching staff for 2023, RJ Fleming becomes the Rockets’ WR coach after spending 2022 as the Texas State RB coach. Despite that role, his background is in pass-catching, snagging 46 receptions for 421 yards during his playing career at Arkansas State. He has familiarity with the MAC too, spending 2021 coaching wide receivers at Eastern Michigan.
Defensive Line Coach, Frank Okam
After spending the last three seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders (2022) and Carolina Panthers (2020-2021), Frank Okam brings NFL experience to the Toledo coaching staff for the 2023 season. He’s no stranger to the college scene, however, having coached at Baylor and Rice. Oh, and he was a national title winner and Freshman All-American with the Texas Longhorns as a player.
Cornerback Coach, Corey Parker
After finding success as a defensive back coach turned defensive coordinator turned state title-winning head coach at the high school level, Corey Parker transitioned to the college level in 2022 with the Rockets. After joining the Toledo coaching staff as the cornerback coach, Parker was instrumental in helping Quinyon Mitchell lead the nation with 25 passes defended last fall.
Tight End Coach, Mark Staten
Mark Staten has his football origins in the MAC, having been an all-conference defensive tackle for Miami (OH) in his playing days. He cut his coaching teeth in the Big Ten as a graduate assistant at Ohio State, with a three-year stint at Cincinnati sandwiched between his time with the Buckeyes and a 13-year spell with Michigan State. He coaches TEs and OTs for Toledo.