John Bland is entering his 8th season as the head football coach for the Patriots, having finished the 2012 campaign 10-2 overall and 4-1 in the Eastern Division. The team finished second in the eastern division and earned a final National ranking of 7th. That ranking secured a home playoff spot which resulted in a victory in the 1st round of the National Playoffs. The Patriots had 14 players represented on the All MSC-East Team and 2 Conference Players of the Year.
From 2006 through 2012, Bland has lead the Patriots to 4 conference championships, 5 NAIA Playoff appearances, captured the Brass Lantern 6 out of 7 times, has been named MSC Coach of the Year 4 times and Regional Coach of the Year once in 2008. His total record at Cumberlands is 57-20 and his overall record as a head coach is 62-25. Since 2006, there has been 91 All Conference players, 19 All-Americans, 8 Conference Players of the Year, 45 Academic All-Conference selections, and 12 Academic All-Americans. In 2009 and 2010, the American Football coaches Association(AFCA), selected P.J. Hughes ('09) and Madison McCalmon ('10) to the All State Good works team.
T-2nd in MSC East
MSC East Champs, Lost in 1st round
MSC East Champs, Lost in 2nd Round
MSC East Champs, Lost in 1st Round
MSC West Champs, Lost in 1st Round
T-2nd MSC West
2nd MSC East
Overall Record at Cumberlands
Bland came to the Patriots after spending five years as the quarterbacks coach at NCAA Division I-A Rice University in Houston, Texas. While at Rice, Bland under Ken Hatfield's reign, was instrumental in assisting the Owls' in gaining the most wins in a season since 1953 with an 8-4 record in 2001. Since that time, Rice was sixth in the nation in rushing in 2002, second in 2003, and led the nation in 2004. Bland's quarterbacks accounted for almost one-third of the team's rushing totals during that time and in 2003 his quarterback was the first in Rice history to rush and pass for 2000 yards in a career.
Prior to Rice, Bland coached at NCAA Division II Southern Arkansas University. Bland served as an assistant coach from 1994-1999 and was promoted to head coach in 2000. While there, Bland's offense broke several school and conference records, led the conference in scoring in 1998 and 1999, and was among the conference leaders in most offensive categories. In 1997, the Muleriders won the Gulf South Conference championship and were ranked 10th nationally.
Bland also gained invaluable experience at Central High School in Columbia, Tennessee where he served as an assistant coach for two years. In graduate school, at Auburn University, he worked as a graduate assistant under Pat Dye and while completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Arkansas he served as a student assistant.
Bland spent his collegiate playing days at the University of Arkansas where he was a four year letterman as a quarterback. While in Fayetteville, Bland helped the Razorbacks to four consecutive bowl appearances in the Holiday, Liberty, Orange, and Cotton Bowls. He was named the permanent captain for the 1988 Southwest Conference Championship squad that competed in the Cotton Bowl.
Coach Bland holds a master's degree in Kinesiology from Auburn University and a bachelor's degree, also in Kinesiology, from the University of Arkansas. Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, Bland is a graduate of Farragut High School where he was an All-State recipient playing at the quarterback and defensive back positions.
"I am thankful to God to have been given the opportunity to coach and have such a supportive family. I believe University of the Cumberlands is a quality university in a nice, small town and a great place to raise a family. My passion and calling, I feel, is to help mold young men into leaders of our community. At Cumberlands, the environment allows me the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the student-athletes lives. The chance to see young men develop spiritually, academically, and athletically is one of the most appealing aspects," said Bland.
UC Athletic Director Randy Vernon stated, "We are very happy and fortunate to have Coach Bland on our athletic staff. His qualifications and experience are second to none and Cumberlands football program will benefit under his leadership. He is a quality individual and his morals and standards are a perfect fit for what University of the Cumberlands is trying to pass along to our student-athletes."
Coach Bland and his wife, Candis, reside in Williamsburg with their three children, Shreve, Jade, and Bo.