HARRISONBURG, Va. – Head Coach Mike Houston announced Tuesday the hiring of Warren Belin, as he will serve as the inside linebackers coach for the Dukes in 2018.

Belin brings 27 years of coaching experience to Harrisonburg, which includes 25 years at the Division I level and two years in the National Football League.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to hire someone the caliber of Warren Belin” Houston said. “The combination of his experience, the institutions and organizations he’s been a part of and his positive reputation makes him a fantastic hire, and we cannot be more excited to add him to our coaching staff. We’re excited to welcome Warren, his wife Yolanda and his three daughters, Camryn, MacKenzi and Morgan, to our JMU football family.”

“Having the opportunity to sit down with Coach Houston and see his vision for winning championships on and off the field at James Madison got me excited to be a part of the program,” Belin said. “The vision is clear; he wants to win championships and that’s been my vision for 28 years in this profession. I want to help young men become men who will be able to carry on in their lives as champions. Football is important, but living their lives outside of football is very important. Having that value and carrying on those traditions at JMU, I thought would be a great opportunity at this time in my career to be a part of it and I’m looking forward it.”

Most recently, Belin spent the past season at Vanderbilt, where he was outside linebackers coach. He coached Charles Wright to Associated Press Second Team All-Southeastern Conference accolades after he ranked second in the conference with 9.0 sacks.

Prior to his year-long stint with the Commodores, Belin spent four seasons at his alma mater, Wake Forest, where he was linebackers coach from 2013-15 and director of recruiting in 2016. He coached Brandon Chubb to All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors before he was picked up as a free-agent selection by the Los Angeles Rams. Belin also worked with Marquel Lee, a fifth-round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2017.

Belin was linebackers coach for the Carolina Panthers for two seasons (2011-12). During his time in Charlotte, he guided a Panther to the team lead in tackles each season. James Anderson had franchise-record 174 tackles in 2011 and Luke Kuechly registered a NFL-best 165 in 2012 as a rookie. Kuechly was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the AP, Pro Football Writers of America and Pro Football Weekly that season.

Before making the two-year jump to the NFL, Belin spent the 2010 season at Georgia under head coach Mark Richt. That year, he mentored Akeem Dent to All-SEC honors after ranking second in the league with 126 tackles. He was later drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft by the Atlanta Falcons.

Prior to UGA, Belin spent eight years at Vanderbilt (2002-09) in his first of two stints in Nashville. Belin coached the linebackers in each of those eight seasons while also serving as special teams coordinator for two seasons (2006-07) and recruiting coordinator in his final two seasons (2008-09). He was part of VU’s 2008 Music City Bowl championship. Belin coached Hunter Hillenmeyer to a nation-leading 168 tackles in 2002 before being drafted in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He also worked with New York Giants 2008 draft pick Jonathan Goff and Buffalo Bills free-agent pickup Marcus Buggs during his time there.

Belin has also had collegiate coaching stops at SMU (1997-01 – LB Coach), William & Mary (1995-96 – LB/DL Coach), Cornell (1993-94 – LB Coach; 1991 – LB Coach/JV Head Coach) and ETSU (1992 – LB Coach).

“Looking where he’s been, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest are two schools that really stick out,” Houston said. “He will understand some of the kind of academic-caliber student-athletes we are going to recruit to James Madison. With his thoroughness, detail and knowledge against significant FBS and NFL experience, he’ll be able to bring fresh ideas and perspectives into our staff room that will certainly be a great plus for our entire program.”

“I like to consider myself someone who pays attention to detail,” Belin said. “I will demand a lot of my players both on and off the field in how they carry themselves as young men and as student-athletes. I’m a guy who likes to have fun and gets to know my players. Three pillars I base my coach-player relationship on are having an honest relationship, fairness in how I treat my players like young men and 100 percent effort and attitude in the way they come to work every day and carry out their lives every day. Each and every day, I’ll ask our players to give their very, very best and to be champions on and off the field.”

He was a four-year letterwinner at Wake Forest from 1987-90, finishing his career with 236 tackles in 30 starts. Prior to college, he was a standout at Forest Hills High School in Marshville, N.C., helping his team to the 2A state championship in 1984.

Belin and his wife Yolanda have three daughters, Camryn (15) and twins MacKenzi (13) and Morgan (13).

Belin replaces Byron Thweatt, who departed JMU after two seasons for the same role at Marshall. Belin will begin his duties on February 19.

Belin Coaching File

  • 27 years of coaching experience
  • 25 years as a Division I coach, 2 in the NFL
  • B.S., Health & Sports Science – Wake Forest (1990)



Outside Linebackers


Wake Forest

Linebackers/Director of Recruiting


Carolina Panthers (NFL)







Linebackers/Special Teams/Recruiting Coordinator





William & Mary

Linebackers/Defensive Line









Linebackers/JV Head Coach & Defensive Coordinator

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