Norfolk State football announces Hiring of Buggs, Tenuta

Posted at 1:56 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 13:56:31-05

NORFOLK, Va. ( – Norfolk State football coach Latrell Scott announced Tuesday two new members of his coaching staff with the addition of Spartan alum Kermit Buggs as defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach and former Spartan assistant Zach Tenuta as linebackers coach/run game coordinator.

Buggs, who played quarterback at NSU from 1990-93, most recently served as head coach at King’s Fork High School in Suffolk during the 2019 season. Before King’s Fork, Buggs spent 16 seasons in the college ranks. From 2014-18, Buggs was the safeties coach at Old Dominion. He also held the title of assistant defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at the end of his tenure. While at ODU, Buggs helped lead the Monarchs through their transition to the Division I FBS level, which included a 10-win season and the school’s first-ever bowl berth and win in 2016.

Buggs’ prior collegiate stops include a year as running backs coach and special teams coordinator at UConn (2013), defensive coordinator at Lock Haven (2012) and a lengthy stint at Penn State from 2003-11. Buggs started his career at Penn State as an offensive graduate assistant, working with the tight ends and running backs. He then served as coordinator of player personnel and development in 2006 before assuming the role of safeties coach from 2007-11.

Buggs was part of two 11-win teams while coaching the secondary and helped the Nittany Lions win a pair of bowl games. In all, he coached in seven bowl games at Penn State.

Buggs began his career as a high school coach, leading Surry County to a 14-0 record and state championship in his first season. He produced a 34-14 record in four years (1999-2002) as head coach at Surry.

A 1995 graduate of NSU and native of Hampton, Buggs left NSU as the school’s all-time leading passer. He still ranks sixth in passing yards (3,874) and third in passing touchdowns (37) in Spartan history.

“We’re very excited to have coach Buggs join the program. He is a coach I’ve known as long as I’ve been in the business, and when an opportunity presented itself on our staff, he’s the first one I called,” Scott said. “He will be a great asset to the team in coordinating the defense and recruiting. It’s great to bring a Spartan back home to NSU.”

Tenuta returns to the Spartan staff after a year as a defensive quality control assistant at Texas-El Paso. Previously, Tenuta spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons as a defensive assistant coach for the Spartans, coaching the defensive line in 2017 and the outside linebackers in 2018.

In 2018, the Spartans ranked third in the MEAC in total defense. In 2017, Tenuta worked with a pair of All-MEAC performers at NSU in Chris Lee and Nigel Chavis, who earned first and third-team all-conference honors, respectively. Both ranked among the MEAC’s top 12 in sacks that season.

Before heading to NSU, Tenuta was at Chowan University, where he served as the defensive line coach in 2016. In his one year with the Hawks, Tenuta mentored two All-CIAA players. Prior to Chowan, Tenuta spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Virginia (2014-15), working with the defensive ends.

Tenuta’s first coaching job came at Middle Creek High School in Apex, N.C. He served as the defensive ends and linebackers coach in his lone season with the Mustangs as the team posted a 12-3 record and advanced to the 4AA state semifinals.

Tenuta competed as a tight end at Marshall University from 2008-10 before completing his athletic career at the University of Akron.

“Zach has a ton of familiarity with program, having coached here two years before,” Scott said. “Zach had the opportunity to work at the FBS level last year, but when we had the chance to bring him back and increase his role, we jumped at the chance. He understands our defense and will help create continuity with what we’ve done on that side of the ball.”

The Spartans begin spring practice on March 17.