Head Strength Coach
Matt Hickman begins his first year on Rick Stockstill’s staff as the football programs head strength and conditioning coach.
Hickmann makes his way to Murfreesboro after spending the previous two years at NC State as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for football. The high-energy coach said he is eager to make an immediate impact at Middle Tennessee.
Hickmann is a 2008 graduate of Cumberland (Tenn.) University with a B.S. degree in fitness and wellness, with a minor in strength and conditioning. He played defensive back, lettering three seasons and earning all-conference honors.
Following graduation he interned at Cumberland University working with football and then joined the Vanderbilt University strength and conditioning program, working specifically with the Commodore football and baseball programs.
In 2010, Hickmann was named Director of Strength and Conditioning at Cumberland, where he worked with all university sports, including the Bulldogs’ 2010 conference championship and top-25 football team (NAIA), 2010 national championship baseball squad, and two All-American wrestlers, including a 157-pound national champion.
He spent one year at Furman University, assisting with football and was the Director of Strength and Conditioning for women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, and men’s and women’s tennis. Hickman also spent three seasons at Georgia Tech, working with football from 2012-2014, 2014 Orange bowl Champions, and assisting in every aspect of player development.
Hickmann spent one year as Director of Performance at PLAE/PLAE HARD where he directed and organized a training facility working with general population and training youth sports teams, programming long term athletic development. He also programmed and worked with professional testing labs responsible for testing the flooring products the company produced.
Hickmann also trained mixed martial arts athletes and competed at the amateur level earning a 3-0 record. A native of Fort Myers, Fla., Hickmann is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), a Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified (SCCC) through the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCa), and a PN Level 1 Certified Coach through Precision Nutrition.
Hickmann, who is a certified John Maxwell leadership coach and speaker, is in the process of completing his BioForce Conditioning certification.
Director of Operations
Brent Brock, a head coach in the Georgia high school ranks for 14 years and a former teammate of head coach Rick Stockstill, will be beginning his 13th season at Middle Tennessee with the 2018 campaign.
Brock, who was director of player development from 2013 to 2016, was elevated to director of football operations in 2017. In his new role, Brock oversees the daily internal operational functions of the football program while working closely with Coach Rick Stockstill. He is instrumental in team travel, recruiting weekends, the team banquet and handling life skills events, and all community service projects.
Brock coached the tight ends his first three years at MT before taking over the inside receivers from 2009 to 2011. He spent the last seven games of 2011 and all of 2012 coaching the running backs.
Brock enjoyed a productive first full year leading the running backs in 2012 as Benny Cunningham earned second team all-conference honors and Jordan Parker was voted to the all-freshman team. Cunningham became the first back at MT to record two 200-yard rushing games since 2001 and Parker went on to set the freshman rushing record with 851 yards.
In 2011, Brock helped the receiving corps snag a single-season school record 299 passes while registering the third-most touchdown receptions with 21.
Brock’s receivers were part of a fast-paced offense in 2009 that rang up a school record 3,064 yards of passing along with a record setting 25 touchdowns. In all, 17 receivers caught a total of 238 passes, which is the fourth most in Blue Raider history.
Under Brock's leadership in 2006, the tight ends were a key ingredient for the Sun Belt Conference's top scoring offense and the league's number two-rated team in passing efficiency. The group came up with 17 receptions on the season and two of the team's nine touchdown receptions. The unit followed that up with 23 receptions and two scores in 2007.
Brock came to Middle Tennessee after serving the previous four years as head coach and athletic director at Jackson County High School in Jefferson, Ga. Brock had the privilege of coaching in the GHSA North/South All-Star game (1995) and the Georgia/Florida High School All-Star game (1997). He also has 14 years of experience as an athletic director on the high school level.
Brock got his start in coaching as a volunteer assistant at Godby High School in Tallahassee in 1981 and then left the following season to join Jim Hughes' staff at Thomasville High School in 1982.
Brock followed Hughes to Colquitt High School in 1983, where he helped coach the Packers in the 1991 1-AAAA state championship game. During his nine seasons at Colquitt, the Packers made the region playoffs eight times, were region runner-up three times, and received the region's all-sports trophy on three occasions. Brock served as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and strength coordinator during his time at Colquitt.
He earned his first head coaching job in 1992, when he took over the Worth County High School program in Sylvester, Ga. He took a struggling program that went 1-9 his first year to an 8-3 mark and back-to-back playoff appearances in his third and fourth seasons.
In 1996, Brock took over head coaching and athletic director duties at Fitzgerald High School in Fitzgerald, Ga., where he had the challenge of rebuilding a program that had just 40 players his first season. With hard work and determination, Brock fielded 70 players and helped turn the program around during his short tenure. Under his reign, FHS took home the sportsmanship trophy for 2-AAA in 1996 and 1997.
Before taking over at Jackson County, Brock spent two years as offensive coordinator/strength coach at Westside High School under Robert Davis. Westside, only four years old at the time, made it to the semifinals of the state at the Georgia Dome in 2002 and finished with a no. 4 state ranking. In 2001, Westside advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.
The Albany, Ga., native received his B.S. degree in health/physical education at Florida State in 1982, his master's degree at Albany State, and his Ed.S. degree from FSU.
As a player, Brock played four years for Coach Bobby Bowden at Florida State as an offensive lineman. He was a member of the 1977 Tangerine Bowl team and the 1980 and 1981 Orange Bowl teams.
Brock is married to the former Missie Milton of Albany, Ga.
Video Coordinator / Associate Director of Operations
Erik Bartlett, a graduate of Middle Tennessee, is in his eighth year as coordinator of video operations for the Blue Raider football program. Bartlett became just the third full-time coordinator at Middle Tennessee when he was hired in July 2011.
Bartlett added the title of Associate Director of Football Operations in 2017 where he works closely with director Brent Brock and assists with summer camps.
Bartlett is in charge of weekly motivational highlight tapes for the football program, and assists in scoreboard productions for basketball and special events held in the Murphy Center. His other duties with the football program consist of setting up meeting rooms at the hotel during home and away games, making highlight tapes for NFL draft prospects, and handling all video for the coaches’ meetings on a daily basis.
His team also makes sure that all practices are filmed and broken down by offense, defense, and kicking game, for the coaches to look at after practice.
Bartlett, who heads up six student assistants, made his way back to Middle Tennessee after three years at nearby Blackman Middle School. At BMS he served as the in-school suspension teacher but when the full-time video job opened at MT, Bartlett jumped at the opportunity.
Prior to working at BMS, Bartlett worked as a video student assistant for the Blue Raider football program for five years beginning in 2003. He later graduated from Middle Tennessee with a degree in physical education in 2008.
Bartlett attended Blackman High School in Murfreesboro where he played football and basketball. One of his basketball teammates was Tampa Bay Ray’s standout pitcher David Price, and the son of his quarterback coach at Blackman was a student video assistant who was a senior at Middle Tennessee when Bartlett was a senior at Blackman.
Erik’s parents are Ken Bartlett, a former Nashville Banner sportswriter, and Debbie Bartlett, former secretary to Blue Raider basketball coach Kermit Davis.
Erik, and his wife Amy, reside in Murfreesboro and are expecting their first child.
Erik, and his wife Amy, reside in Murfreesboro.
Keith Bunch is in his fifth year at Middle Tennessee as the head football athletic trainer for the Blue Raiders in 2018. Bunch made his way to Murfreesboro after seven years at Louisiana Tech where he was an assistant athletics director and headed up the University’s sports medicine department.
Bunch arrived at Louisiana Tech during the summer of 2007 following a two-year stint as the associate head athletic trainer at Presbyterian College where he worked primarily with the Blue Hose football program. Prior to his time at PC, Bunch worked one year at Carolina Sportscare and Physical Therapy Clinic in Beaufort, S.C., while working with the area high school outreach program.
The 2002 graduate of the College of Charleston ran a sports medicine department that handled all 16 NCAA sanctioned programs at Louisiana Tech.
Bunch was instrumental in spearheading a number of improvements in the Sports Medicine Department at LA Tech. Some of the improvements included renovations and upgrades to the athletic training rooms in the Charles Wyly Athletic Complex and the Thomas Assembly Center, the creation of additional positions within the sports medicine staff, and the creation of Docs for Dogs -- a team of local specialty doctors that served all of the Bulldog student-athletes.
Bunch earned his undergraduate degree in athletic training at the College of Charleston where he worked with the Cougars’ women’s soccer and baseball programs. While working on his bachelor’s degree, Bunch completed a pair of internships with The Citadel football program in the fall of 2001 and Wando High School during the spring of 2002.
The Lodge, S.C., native earned his master’s degree in higher education administration with a minor in sports management from Auburn in May of 2004. Bunch worked closely with the Tigers’ football program during that time.
Bunch is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and the Tennessee Athletic Trainers’ Society (TATS). Bunch is married to the former Elizabeth Snyder of Oklahoma City, OK.
Assistant AD / Equipment Operations
Larry Maples is in his third season in 2018 as an assistant athletic director for equipment operations at Middle Tennessee.
Maples oversees the equipment ordering of all athletic teams at Middle Tennessee, leads a staff of 12 students, handles the logistics for all road games and prepares the practice facility and his staff for all Blue Raider football practices.
The Memphis, TN, native made his way to Murfreesboro after spending time as a supply chain engineer for Mueller Industries. He has also worked as an industrial engineer for Electrolux Home Cooking Products.
From 2013 to 2014, Maples served as the assistant equipment manager for the Blue Raiders where he helped coordinate all the day-to-day operations. He also assisted in the design and ordering of new Nike Pro Combat apparel while coordinating the logistics for all road games.
Maples, who is married to the former Carmen Merritt, earned his undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee in Engineering Technologies (2013).
Tyler Boyles, a four-year letterman on the basketball team at Shawnee State, is in his fourth year on Rick Stockstill’s staff entering the 2018 season. Boyles worked his first two years as a graduate assistant and was moved to quality control prior to the 2017 campaign.
After working in 2013 as an offense/football operations intern at Eastern Kentucky, Boyles moved to LaGrange College in 2014 where he served as the quarterbacks coach and director of football operations.
Boyles played in 112 games with 79 starts as a shooting guard at Shawnee State and was voted a team captain for two years. Boyles received the 2013 Mid-South Conference Champions of Character award and was a three-time Academic All-Conference selection.
Boyles finished his career tenth all-time in career scoring (1,175 points) at Shawnee State, averaging 10.5 points per game.
The Raceland, Ky., native earned his B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Shawnee State in 2013 and his M.S. in Physical Education with a concentration in Sports Administration from Eastern Kentucky in 2015.
Boyles, and assistant athletic director Bethany Thurston are scheduled to be married in March.