Blue Jays Welcome Greyhounds to Homewood For Key Centennial Game
Updated August 10, 2017
Mark Nastase enters his 18th season as an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins and will work under the direction of defensive coordinator Mickey Rehring. Arguably the most versatile member of head coach Jim Margraff's staff, Nastase has coached virtually every position during his tenure at Homewood and will coach an experienced and talented defensive line in 2017.
Nastase returned to Homewood in 2010 after a three-year hiatus and coached the JHU defensive backs that season before taking over with the defensive ends in 2011 and 2012 and the strong safeties from 2013-15. In the seven years since he returned, the Blue Jays have compiled a 71-10 record, claimed seven Centennial Conference titles, advanced to the NCAA Playoffs six times (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) and won an ECAC Championship (2010).
Nastase coached a pair of ends - Kale Sweeney and Tyler Brown - to First Team All-Centennial honors in 2011 as the duo bookended a disruptive defensive line. Sweeney also earned Second Team CoSIDA Academic All-America and Second Team d3football.com All-Region honors.
Michael Longo added a nod as an Honorable Mention All-Centennial performer in 2012 under Nastase's guidance, while John Arena played under his direction in 2013 and earned First Team All-Centenniaal Conference, First Team All-ECAC and Third Team D3football.com All-South honors. Arena was also honored as a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete and Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, a First Team Capital One Academic All-American and the NCAA Division III Capital One Academic All-American of the Year. In 2014, it was then junior Brady Watts adding his name to Nastase's list of honored pupils as he grabbed First Team All-Centennial honors.
"Nasty" had all three starters in his secondary honored in 2010 as juniors Michael Milano and Sam Eagleson grabbed All-Centennial honors, while senior D.J. Hartigan earned Second Team CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
After spending his first three years as the Blue Jays' quarterbacks coach, Nastase made the move over to defense in 2000 and coached the Blue Jay defensive linemen for three years. He then spent four seasons as the strong safeties coach as the Blue Jays transitioned to the 4-4-3 alignment.
The Blue Jay defense was among the best in the nation during Nastase's early time working with the group as the 2001 squad led the nation in pass efficiency defense and went the entire season without allowing a touchdown pass. In 2002, Hopkins allowed just 2.8 yards per rush and less than 96 yards per game on the ground, and in 2003 JHU once again led the nation in pass efficiency defense, while ranking among the national leaders in scoring defense (7.0 ppg) and total defense (242.4 ypg). The 2004 Blue Jays allowed more than 17 points just once on the year and finished second in the Centennial in rushing defense and third in total defense.
The effort of the Blue Jay defense in 2005 cannot be overstated as Hopkins was held to 14 points or less six times that season, but still managed to win eight games on the strength of a defense that ranked among the national leaders in scoring defense (11th • 13.4), rushing defense (19th • 95.3) and total defense (26th • 269.4).
During his three years as quarterbacks coach he helped lead a Blue Jay offense that averaged 26.4 (1997), 28.8 (1998), and 24.8 (1999) points per game. Hopkins' average scoring totals in 1997 and 1998 rank among the top scoring averages in school history. In addition, JHU produced a pair of quarterbacks who combined to throw for over 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns from 1997-2000.
A 1978 graduate of Nebraska, Nastase played defensive back for the `Huskers for two years. He spent 32 years working for the Department of Defense before retiring from that position.