Defensive Coaching Staff
Xavier Adibi | Defensive Coordinator
Xavier Adibi was hired as defensive coordinator for the Lions in December 2018. He was a defensive analyst at Arkansas in the 2018 season.
Adibi was a college standout at Virginia Tech, earning first team AFCA All-American and first team All-ACC honors in 2007, after earning second team All-ACC honors in 2006.
He was drafted by the Houston Texans in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft and had a five-year NFL career, playing for Houston, Minnesota, Chicago, and Tennessee.
Jaylon Finner | Safeties
Jaylon Finner serves as the Safeties Coach for the Lions. He has collegiate and high school coaching experience. He previously served as a graduate assistant at Ball State and Rice Universities. He has also served as an assistant coach at Parish Episcopal School of Dallas.
Finner was an outstanding collegiate and high school athlete. As a college athlete, he played for David Bailiff at Rice University from 2011-15. As an outstanding defensive back, he helped lead the 2013 Owls to their first Conference USA championship. This marked the team’s first league title in 54 years. In addition, he played on three consecutive bowl teams (2012, 2013, 2014) under the record setting head coach. In high school, he was a three-year letter winner and two-time All-District Safety at Elkins High School. He helped lead EHS (2009) to the first playoff game in nine years.
Finner received his Bachelor’s Degree from Rice University (2015). He is single and enjoys traveling, fishing, and spending time with family.
2019-Current: Safeties, A&M-Commerce
2018-19: Defensive Graduate Assistant, Ball State University
2016-17: Defensive Graduate Assistant, Rice University
2015: Assistant Coach, Houston Episcopal High School
Willie Mack Garza | Defensive Backs
Willie Mack Garza joined the Lion football staff in January 2018 and will coach the defensive backs. Garza brings 18 years of coaching experience with him to the Lion staff.
He was the defensive backs coach at Dixie State in 2017 after serving as the secondary coach at Lamar in 2016, and linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Prairie View A&M in 2015.
Prior to his stop at Prairie View, Garza spent two seasons at Pearl River Community College where he served as the team’s defensive coordinator. During his time at Pearl River, Garza helped construct one of the nation’s top defensive units. PRCC ranked fifth nationally in scoring and 10th in pass defense. Six of Garza’s players went on to sign scholarships with four-year institutions.
A native of Refugio, Texas, Garza has coached at the highest level college football has to offer as the defensive backs coach at the University of Southern California under former head coach Lane Kiffin for one season in 2010. Prior to his stint at USC, Garza spent 2009 as the defensive backs coach at Tennessee also under Kiffin. The Volunteers were 12th nationally in both pass defense and pass efficiency defense as they finished second in the SEC East and made an appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Before moving to Tennessee, Garza spent four years (2005-09) at North Dakota State as the secondary coach for one season and the defensive coordinator in his final three. NDSU compiled 35 wins under his watch. The Bison recorded 10-1 seasons twice and defeated three FBS schools, including Minnesota, Central Michigan and Ball State.
Garza began his coaching career at Texas, his alma mater, as a graduate assistant working with the cornerbacks and special teams for three years (1994-96). The Longhorns played in the 1994 Sun Bowl, 1995 Sugar Bowl and 1997 Fiesta Bowl.
He then was the defensive backs coach at Western Michigan for four seasons (1997-2000). In 2000, the 9-3 Broncos were 13th nationally in pass defense and played in the Mid-American Conference championship game. He spent the next three years (2001-03) coaching cornerbacks at TCU. In 2002, two-time all-league cornerback Jason Goss tied the school season record with eight interceptions. The Horned Frogs won the 2002 Conference USA title and played in three bowls.
Garza is a member of the Texas High School Hall of Fame after his stellar prep career at Refugio High School where he earned Parade All-American, All-State, and All-Decade (1980-1990) honors on the gridiron. In his senior season in 1988, Garza rushed for an amazing 2,954 yards and scored a then-national record 56 touchdowns (336 total points). In addition to football, Garza was also a track and field standout at Refugio, running the 100, 200, and a leg of the 400-meter relay, as well as one of the state’s top long jumpers. RHS won the Texas state title his junior year. Garza was inducted into the prestigious Texas prep Hall in 2001.
Garza was a four-year (1988, 1990-92) starter at cornerback and safety at Texas under then-head coach David McWilliams. He was a Freshman All-American and the Southwest Conference Newcomer of the Year in 1988. The Longhorns went 10-2 and played in the Cotton Bowl in 1990.
He received his bachelor's degree in social work from Texas in 1993.
Casey Walker | Defensive Line
Casey Walker joined the Lion Football staff in January 2019 and will coach the defensive line. Walker, former member of the Super Bowl XLIX champion New England Patriots, served at Oklahoma Baptist in 2018 as defensive line coach after a year of coaching at Garden City Community College and Central Oklahoma.
Walker was born in Dallas, Texas where he attended Garland High School located in Garland, Texas. He went on to receive a full scholarship to play at the University of Oklahoma under Coach Bob Stoops, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Multi-Disciplinary Studies with a focus on Communication. Upon graduation, Walker became an NFL free-agent and was signed by the Carolina Panthers. The following year, Walker was signed by the New England Patriots, where he played on the Super Bowl XLIX winning team. During his time in the league, Walker also played with the Baltimore Ravens, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Buffalo Bills.
Walker is married to his wife Kelsi. They have two daughters, Kobi and Kennedi.
Dylan Bowman | Graduate Assistant
Dylan Bowman serves as Defensive Graduate Assistant and Assistant Linebackers Coach for the Lions. He served as a Defensive Graduate Assistant and the Cornerbacks Coach at East Texas Baptist University in 2018.
Bowman was a four-year starter at safety for East Texas Baptist University. He earned freshman All-American honors and helped the Tigers win the 2015 American Southwest Conference championship, marking the team’s first conference title since 2003. Bowman also played and lettered on the East Texas Baptist University baseball team for two years.
Bowman played his high school ball at Gilmer High School. He was a three-year letterman and an All-District safety and punt returner. During his high school career, Bowman helped the Gilmer football team win a state championship, a runner-up state championship and three district championships
Bowman received his bachelor’s degree from East Texas Baptist University (2017).