Mike Menefee will mentor the safeties for the third season, and is in his fourth year on the Illinois State staff.
In 2007, Menefee guided both starting safeties, Jesse Caesar and Tom Nelson, to All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors. Caesar claimed first-team all-league honors, while Nelson was a second-team All-Valley Football selection.
A year prior, Nelson and the other starting safety, James Temple, earned All-Valley Football Honorable Mention honors. Also in 2006, Menefee's safeties were key contributors to the defense's 17 interceptions, the most by the Redbirds since the 1989 season.
Menefee previously served as the head coach at Edna High School in Edna, Texas. He and ISU head coach Denver Johnson were collegiate football teammates at Tulsa. Menefee started two seasons at free safety with the Golden Hurricane, after transferring from Kilgore Junior College.
Menefee, who became head coach at Edna midway through the 2000 season, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Tulsa in 1980, working with the defensive secondary. He coached the secondary at Texas A&M-Kingsville before getting out of coaching and returning to Edna in 1982. He joined the Edna coaching staff in 1999 and took over as athletic director and head coach during the 2000 season.
Menefee led the 2000 team, which had started the season 2-4, to a 3-1 finish. The Cowboys then went 5-5 in 2001, before snapping an eight-year playoff drought in 2002 with a 7-4 mark. Edna returned to the playoffs in 2003 with a 6-5 record.
During his prep coaching career, Menefee sent 18 of his players from Edna High School on to the collegiate level.
Menefee earned his bachelor's degree in education from Tulsa in 1981. He and his wife, Shelley, have two children, Garrett and Mary Kathryn.