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Experienced Forest leads Bengal offense

By A.J. Speier
On April 21, 2012

 

After a long stint as offensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati, Greg Forest turned his wealth
of experience toward Buffalo State in an effort to help the Bengals' football team rebuild their program.
 
Forest began his tenure at Buffalo State as a volunteer coach in the spring while looking at other
coaching jobs. In the end, he decided to stay with the Bengals as quarterbacks coach in a part-time
situation.
 
The Bengals started slowly, but as the season wore on, Forest grew more comfortable with the offense
and made a switch at quarterback from Ryan Lehotsky to Casey Kacz. The team ended its season on a
high note, winning four of its last six games.
 
Because of the team's improvement on offense, Forest was promoted to offensive coordinator following
the season. As the architect of the Bengals' offense, Forest will oversee the development of each
position - which is a strength of his, according to head coach Jerry Boyes.
 
"Greg sees the whole picture because he's been involved in coaching virtually every position," Boyes
said. "Greg has been fortunate to be with some pretty good head coaches, too, and that's helped him
formulate his philosophies and approaches to issues and situations and everything that comes along the
road."
 
Forest began his coaching career at Grandview Heights High School helping out with the freshmen team
and eventually became a coach with the varsity team.
 
When he finished his four-year stint at the school, Forest decided to finish college at Ohio Northern with
the intent of earning a degree in sports management. He originally wanted to make the school's football
team as a defensive back, but head coach Tom Kaczkowski convinced him to continue his coaching
instead.
 
"He said, 'Well you can do one of two things,'" Forest said. "'You can either join the team where we
have 150 guys coming out in August and be one of the 150, or, if you're really serious about coaching, I
can use you as a coach because I have a spot where you can help us and get experience. You can work
on your degree at the same time and I'll find some money for you.'"
 
During his time at Ohio Northern, Forest needed an internship to finish his degree. After a failed attempt
to land one with the Dallas Cowboys, he chose a coaching/athletic director internship with Grand Valley
State. It was with the Lakers where he would form coaching relationships with current Notre Dame head
coach Brian Kelly and current University at Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn.
 
After his internship with Grand Valley State, he remained at the school, earning an eleven-year tenure
as the wide receivers coach on a two-time Division II national champion. During his time there, he also
mentored the top five wide receivers in school history, including three All-Americans, including David
Kircus, who was drafted into the NFL as a sixth-round pick by the Detroit Lions.
 
"I pushed David all the time," said Forest. "I talked about if this is really your goal, every second and
every day that you're not doing something else in your life, you better be working on that chance to
make it to the NFL, especially after the season was over and he was training to audition for the NFL
through his Pro Day."
 
His success at Grand Valley State earned him a coaching job at Central Michigan where he would end
up coaching the wide receivers, running backs and tight ends in separate years. His biggest achievement
during his time there was helping Ontario Sneed rush for 1,065 yards in his freshman season.
 
Forest became the quarterback coach with Cincinnati following his three-year stint with Central
Michigan and helped mentor quarterbacks Ben Mauk, who set a school season record with 31
touchdown passes and Tony Pike, who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers as a sixth-round pick.
 
In his three-year stint with Cincinnati, Forest will be remembered for the 2008 season where he went
through five different quarterbacks as the Bearcats won their first Big East championship before losing
in the Orange Bowl to Virginia Tech. The following year, Cincinnati went 12-1, winning another Big East
championship before losing their undefeated season in the Sugar Bowl to Florida.
 
The knowledge and experience Forest gained from his other coaching jobs should benefit not only
players, but the coaching staff as well.
 
"Having him around is better than any AFCL Clinic which is the biggest clinic in the country for football
coaches," wide receivers coach Matt Hanhold said. "It's like having a huge clinic here every day.
 
When he talks I'm like a human sponge," Hanhold continued. "I'm writing down everything that he's
saying and learning from him. I think with some of the things that Greg has brought to the table, it will
even further develop myself as a coach and the players that I work with. That championship way of
going about your business and presenting it onto the field to the kids has really transferred over to a lot
of our staff here."
 
A.J. Speier can be reached by email at speier.record@live.com.

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