Zak Willis, who has nine years of head coaching experience at the collegiate level, enters his second year as a graduate assistant at Michigan State, his first in an on-the-field capacity. Willis will assist the Spartan offensive staff, working primarily with offensive line coach Dan Roushar.
In six years as the head coach at Newberry College from 2003-08, Willis led the program to a 39-25 record. His winning percentage of .609 is the highest of any football coach in Newberry history. Willis directed the Indians to their best season in school history in 2006, as Newberry finished the season with an 11-2 record and captured its first-ever South Atlantic Conference Championship. The Scarlet and Gray made their first appearance in the NCAA Division II Playoffs, advancing to the quarterfinal round. For his efforts, Willis was named the SAC Coach of the Year in 2006. He also led Newberry College to a 9-2 record and No. 18 ranking in 2007.
Willis brought the Indians their first winning season in 20 years in 2005 after going 5-4. In his final three years at Newberry, the team accumulated a 26-8 mark (.765).
Prior to coaching at Newberry College, Willis was the head coach for three seasons at Pikeville (Ky.) College. Willis was a graduate assistant at South Carolina for four years before coaching at Pikeville, serving under head coaches Brad Scott and Lou Holtz as the tight ends coach and assistant to the recruiting coordinator.
Willis began his collegiate coaching career at Greenville (Ill.) College, where he was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator from 1992-96.
He is currently pursuing a master's degree in kinesiology at Michigan State.
Willis is married to the former Sara Ratliff. The couple has a son, Zackary, and a daughter, Reagan.