Recruiting Areas: Central Pennsylvania, (McKean, Potter, Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Clearfield, Centre, Cambia, Blair, Huntingdon, Mufflin, Juniata, Perry, Cumberland, Somerset, Bedford, Fulton, Franklin, Adams), Northern Maryland (Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Fredrick, Montgomery, Carrol, Howard, Baltimore and city, Harford, Cecil, Kent), Illinois (Chicago), Indiana (Indianapolis), Michigan (Detroit)
Gunnard Twyner is in his first season as the wide receivers coach on John Garrett's coaching staff. Twyner played with three different teams in the NFL and has previous collegiate coaching experience at Western Illinois University and Dodge City Community College.
"I am thrilled to add Gunnard Twyner to our coaching staff. To bring on a coach with a professional playing background who has competed at the FCS level is a fantastic advantage for our players and our program," said Garrett, the Fred M. Kirby II '42 Head Football Coach Lafayette head football coach. "Gunnard can teach from the perspective of an NFL player.
After completing his playing career, he was a successful coach at the high school and collegiate levels and also added NFL coaching internships. I've known Gunnard since I signed him to the Cincinnati Bengals as a free agent. He went on to have a five-year NFL career as a receiver and on special teams in the return game and in the punt block and kick coverage units, all experiences that will make him a great addition to our special teams units."
Twyner was the wide receivers coach from 2013-16 at Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kan. where the team is coming off a 2016 season in which it finished 15th in the final national poll. From 2010-13, Twyner was the wide receivers coach at his alma mater, Western Illinois University. During his coaching tenure in Macomb, Ill., one of Twyner's receivers earned All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team honors each season.
Twyner and his two all-conference receivers, Lito Senatus and Terriun Crump, hold down the second, third, and fourth spots all-time in receiving yards at Western Illinois where Twyner was an All-Gateway Conference First-Team selection from 1993-95 before graduating in 1996 with a degree in Graphic Design.
In his junior season of 1994, Twyner was named Honorable Mention All-America. He ranks third in career receptions (144) and receiving yards (2,243) at Western Illinois where his records of four touchdown receptions in a game and 33 consecutive games with a catch still stand. Twyner also ranks sixth all-time with 14 touchdown catches and ninth with an average of 15.6 yards per catch. Twyner is listed in four different season top-10 receiving categories as well.
Following his graduation, Twyner played in the NFL from 1996-99, initially signing as a free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals for the 1997 season when Garrett was the team's wide receivers coach. He played with the New Orleans Saints from 1997-99 and attended the Jacksonville Jaguars training camp in 2000.
Twyner also played five seasons in the Arena Football League. During his rookie year with Tampa Bay in 2001, he set an AFL rookie season record for touchdown receptions as the team advanced to the second round of the playoffs. He also played with Buffalo and Columbus before concluding his professional playing career in 2004.
His coaching career began while he was still playing professional football, as Twyner was the wide receivers coach at Estero (Fla.) High School from 2002-03. A move to Maryland continued his coaching journey, serving as a volunteer wide receivers coach at Seneca Valley High School from 2003-05 and as a volunteer offensive coordinator at Churchill High School in Potomac, Md. from 2005-06.
In 2006-07, he garnered his first head coaching assignment at John F. Kenney High School in Silver Spring, Md. Taking over a program that had not won a game in four seasons, Twyner turned the 2006 squad into a 10-2 team that advanced to the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs. He was named the Maryland Coach of the Year, and the following season JFK went 9-3 and again advanced to the playoffs.
In the summer of 2009, Twyner participated in the NFL's Minority Coaching Internship, working as an assistant quarterbacks coach with the Indianapolis Colts under quarterback coach Frank Reich. He had a similar experience with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the summer of 2013 as an assistant wide receivers coach.
A native of Davenport, Iowa, Twyner has two daughters, Kelise and Maleah.