TAMPA - University of South Florida head coach Skip Holtz added two new graduate assistants to his staff. Kurt von Bargen, who most recently served as the video coordinator and assistant director of football operations at Dartmouth, will work with the defense, and Chris Chestnut, who spent two seasons as running backs coach at Campbell, will serve with the offensive staff.
A 2009 graduate of East Carolina with a degree in health
education and promotion, von Bargen was a member of the Pirate football team
that won a Conference USA title in 2008 and played in three bowl games during
his five seasons on the roster. In 2007, he was named East Carolina's scout
team special teams player of the year, then followed that up with the scout
team defensive player of the year in 2008. In both of those seasons, he was
nominated by the school for the Rudy Award, given by the NCAA to Division I
players who demonstrate exemplary character, courage, contribution and
commitment as members of their team.
After earning his degree, von Bargen joined the coaching staff at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy as the outside linebackers coach while coordinating the video needs. After one season with the Bears, he was hired at Trinity College to coach the outside linebackers and act as the video coordinator.
Chestnut has three years of collegiate coaching experience, spending two seasons at Campbell coaching running backs and one year at Ellsworth Community College working with wide receivers.
Chestnut began his coaching career at Northern Durham High School from 2004-08. He spent five years working in various coaching positions, including passing game coordinator (2006-07), special teams coordinator (2006-08) and strength and conditioning coach (2004-08). Chestnut also worked with the track and field program, who won four straight conference titles while he was coaching.
The Durham, N.C. native began his collegiate playing career for College of the Canyons in Valencia, Calif. Chestnut led the team in receiving in each of his two years and was named first-team Western State Conference as a sophomore. He then transferred to Western Michigan, where he started all 11 games as a junior. He was a two-year letterwinner at WMU and served as a team captain as a senior. He ended his career with the Broncos with 30 catches for 412 yards.
Chestnut played professionally in the Arena Football League from 2004-2006. He was in camp with the New York Dragons in 2004 and spent two years playing for the Las Vegas Gladiators (2004-05) and a year for the Georgia Wildcats (2006).
Chestnut received his bachelor's degree in student integrated curriculum from Western Michigan in 2008. He is engaged to Maria Holloway and they have two sons, Jaylon and Carter.