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Eastern Michigan's Chris Creighton will be OC, too; ex-Michigan assistant joins staff

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Eastern Michigan football Chris Creighton didn't have to go far to find his new offensive coordinator.

He actually hired himself.

Eastern Michigan head coach Chris Creighton will double as the Eagles' offensive coordinator.

With longtime assistant Aaron Keen leaving earlier this month to become head coach at Washington University in St. Louis, Creighton decided he would fill the role internally. Like, really internally.

While it's a new setup for him at EMU, he said he's called plays most of his career, including at head-coaching stops at Wabash and Drake. He had two prior stints as an offensive coordinator, too.

"I have done it every year since I was 25," Creighton said.

Told it's an intriguing situation, Creighton quipped, "I hope you say that in December."

He said plays still will be called somewhat by committee, with James Patton taking over run-game duties, in addition to his duties coaching the offensive line.

Creighton finalized his 2020 staff Monday, with a big hire to boot: Brandon Blaney has been added as the tight-ends coach, coming from Michigan, where he was an offensive analyst under Jim Harbaugh.

Blaney was on Harbaugh's staff for the past two seasons, focusing on the offensive line, his last stop in a 24-year coaching career that's taken him through the Big Ten, Big 12 and the NFL. He was on national-championship staffs at Oklahoma (2000) and Youngstown State (1997).

"I have wanted to work with Coach Blaney since the late 1990s," Creighton said. "I am thrilled that it has worked out for him to join us here at Eastern Michigan. He has been successful at so many different levels.

"His expertise and genuine care for our players will serve us well."

Another intriguing addition to Creighton's staff is LaMarcus Hicks, who will coach cornerbacks. He spent two seasons in the NFL with the Lions, at safety in 2007-08.

As new Michigan State coach Mel Tucker tries to piece together his staff — he's already made three hires, including holdovers Mike Tressel and Ron Burton — the state's other Division I teams have pretty much finalized their staffs for 2020.

A look at those four programs:

Michigan

►Jim Harbaugh, head coach

►Don Brown, defensive coordinator/linebackers

►Josh Gattis, offensive coordinator

►Jay Harbaugh, running backs/special teams

►Brian Jean-Mary, linebackers

►Ben McDaniels, quarterbacks

►Sherrone Moore, tight ends

►Shaun Nua, defensive line

►Bob Shoop, safeties

►Ed Warriner, offensive line

►Michael Zordich, cornerbacks

Eastern Michigan

►Chris Creighton, head coach

►Neal Neathery, assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/linebackers

►Brandon Blaney, tight ends

►LaMarcus Hicks, cornerback

►Ben Needham, defensive line

►Jay Nunez, special teams/defensive tackles

►Darren Paige, wide receivers

►James Patton, run game/offensive line

►Mike Piatkowski, quarterbacks

►Fred Reed, pass game/safeties

►Sam Sewell, running backs

Central Michigan

►Jim McElwain, head coach

►Robb Akey, defensive coordinator

►Charlie Frye, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks

►Kevin Barbay, assistant head coach/wide receivers

►Mike Cummings, offensive line

►Justin Hinds, defensive line

►Cornell Jackson, running backs

►Keith Murphy, special teams/safeties

►David Rowe, cornerbacks

►Tim Skipper, linebackers

►Tavita Thompson, tackles/tight ends

Western Michigan

►Tim Lester, head coach

►Jake Moreland, offensive coordinator/offensive line

►Lou Esposito, defensive coordinator/defensive line

►Trevor Andrews, linebackers

►Mike Bath, running backs

►Eric Evans, pass game/quarterbacks

►Greg Harbaugh Jr., wide receivers

►Bill Kenney, tight ends

►Joe Palcic, special teams

►Dontae Wright, safeties

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984