ThunderWolves Football Camps
Defensive Coaching Staff
Middle Tennessee State '91
Hunter Hughes is entering his sixth season as CSU-Pueblo’s defensive coordinator.
Helping to forge the CSU-Pueblo defense since the program's reboot in 2008, Hughes has consistently put defenses on the field that only lead the RMAC, but rank among the top units in the nation.
One of the most decorated Division II coordinators in the nation, Hughes was the recipient of the FootballScoop.com Division II Coordinator of the Year award in 2011, due in large part to the performance of CSU-Pueblo's punishing defense during its 11-0 regular season. The ThunderWolves allowed a national-best 10.33 points per game in 2011 and intercepted the ball 26 times, also best in the country.
The performance of the 2011 team under Hughes' leadership was certainly not an anomaly - in the ThunderWolves' first four years of existence as a program, the team finished in the top 25 nationally in points allowed three times (including a finish of 9th in the nation in 2010).
Arguably, Hughes' best single season performance as a coach was in 2008, when the squad allowed the 37th-least points in the nation despite having one of the country's most anemic offenses during the program's first season of competition.
Hughes rose through the ranks as a coaching assistant with two of the most prestigious Division I football programs in the country - University of Colorado and the University of Tennessee.
With the University of Colorado, Hughes was a defensive graduate assistant from 2003-2006, assisting in coaching various defensive positions as well as assisting in recruiting prospective CU students east of the Mississippi River. With the University of Tennessee, Hughes also served as a defensive graduate assistant, focusing chiefly on linebackers and defensive backs.
Hughes received his Master’s in physical education and sport management from Middle Tennessee State University in 2001.
Defensive Backs Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Donnell Leomiti is entering his sixth season as CSU-Pueblo’s defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator.
Leomiti has coached up an incredibly efficient defensive backfield in his first five seasons with the Pack, coaching three All-Americans (Mark Sterling and Stephan Dickens in 2011 and C.J. Roberts in 2012), and four All-Region selections (Roberts, Sterling, Dickens, and Grant Crunkleton in 2010) and a total of 13 All-RMAC selections in five seasons.
A ball-hawk secondary has been a hallmark of the CSU-Pueblo defense under Leomiti, as the Pack defense has been ranked in the top 15 nationally in interceptions in each of the past four seasons, including three straight top ten finishes from 2009-11. In 2011, Leomiti’s defensive backfield was the best in the nation, ranking first in interceptions and turnover ratio as the CSU-Pueblo defense held opponents to the third-lowest points per game figure in the country. In 2010, CSU-Pueblo ranked third in total picks.
Prior to arriving at CSU-Pueblo, Leomiti had been the defensive technical intern at CU in 2005 and 2006. At CU, his responsibilities included working with the secondary as well as on-campus recruiting.
Leomiti arrived at CU after serving as a high school assistant coach from 1999-2004. He spent 1999 and 2000 at Denver North High School, and then followed that up with a four-year stint as linebackers coach at Boulder High School.
As a CU player, Leomiti was a member of many great teams in the mid-1990s. Starting out as a receiver at CU, he saw action in 11 games, including the Fiesta Bowl, as a true freshman in 1992. He moved to safety the following year, starting at strong safety as a junior and senior. He had 159 career tackles, including 98 as a senior (the third most on the team), along with three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and seven pass deflections. Two of his biggest plays came his junior year (1994): he returned an interception for a touchdown at Missouri and had a key fumble recovery in the fourth quarter at Michigan, a big play in the game now referred to as both "The Miracle in Michigan" and "The Catch."
Born in Santa Ana, Calif., he graduated from Leone High School in Pavaiai, American Samoa, in 1992 where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball. He was a two-time Ashaa League most valuable player on offense, earning the honor his junior and senior years. He is married to former CSU-Pueblo All-American cross country athlete, Lauren Dunsmoor. The couple has four children: Donnell Jr., Siliaga, Malekai and Kai'ani.
Defensive Line Coach
Paul Creighton is entering his third season as the defensive line coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
In his first season helming the CSU-Pueblo defensive line, the ThunderWolves promptly put together its best season in school history in terms of team defense. The unit led the nation in scoring offense (leading to a national coordinator of the year honors for defensive coordinator Hunter Hughes) and on the defensive line, senior Grant Jansen was named All-American.
In his second year in 2012, the CSU-Pueblo rush defense was again a top 20 unit, allowing just 108 yards per game and just eight rushing touchdowns, sixth-least in the country.
Creighton came to CSU-Pueblo after serving as the defensive graduate assistant at the University of Colorado during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Creighton returned to his alma mater of Colorado after a stint at Auburn University where he was the graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach for two years, working with some athletes that went on to win the 2010 NCAA FBS National Championship.
Originally a walk-on at Colorado where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2006, he was placed on scholarship after just one semester. He ultimately played in 47 games at CU at tight end, fullback and special teams, seeing action in two bowl games.
A Tecumseh, Neb.-native, he graduated from Niwot High School in Niwot, Colo. in 2002. He is married to the former Kathleen Almon.
Assistant Defensive Line Coach
Craig Ward is entering his sixth season as an assistant defensive line coach at CSU-Pueblo.
In his time at CSU-Pueblo, the ThunderWolves have morphed into the top defensive unit in the nation and have two All-Americans on the defensive line (Chase Vaughn in 2008, Grant Jansen in 2011) to its credit.
A former all-conference linebacker at then-University of Southern Colorado from 1979-82, Ward boasts a 100-tackle season to his credit during his collegiate days. He also played for one season in the USFL with the Michigan Panthers in 1983.
Ward, a 2012 graduate of CSU-Pueblo, and his wife, Annette, have eight children: Shawana, Millie, Anna, D.J., Kimmy, Josh, Patrick and Anthony.