Ashton Aikens is in his first season as Western Michigan’s wide receiver coach. He comes to the Borncos after serving as the Southern Illinois wide receiver coach for three years.
While with the Salukis, Aikens saw the offense explode nationally, ranking in the top 10 each of the last two seasons in passing offense. The team was tops in the Missouri Valley Conference in both total offense and scoring offense the last two seasons.
In 2016, Southern Illinois was the only program in FCS football with four 500-yard receivers during the regular season. Under Aikens's guidance, Billy Reed became a two-time All-MVFC receiver on the field and a two-time Academic All-District selection for is work in the classroom. Reed ended his career ninth at SIU in career receptions and sixth in career receiving yards.
In his first season at SIU, Southern Illinois caught a program record 29 touchdowns. The next season, the Salukis broke the program record for receiving yards per game in 2015 and then broke that record again just one year later.
Receiver Jimmy Jones earned a spot on the MVFC All-Newcomer team in 2015. Jones led all MVFC freshmen in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns per game.
In his first season at Southern, Aikens helped a pair of the best receivers in school history cap historic career. LaSteven McKinney finished his career third in program history with 149 receptions, while MyCole Pruitt set the school record with 221. Pruitt ranks second in school history with 2,601 career receiving yards, and McKinney ranks 12th with 1,407.
Prior to going to SIU, Aikens spent the previous two years coaching at Northwestern in charge of special teams quality control.
Prior to his return to Northwestern, Aikens spent two years as an assistant coach at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill. He spent his first year there as a graduate assistant coach working with wide receivers and tight ends and also assisting with special teams coordination. In 2011, he became a full-time assistant as the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator.
Aikens was a four-year wide out at Northwestern under head coach Randy Walker after playing running back at Detroit Country Day High School.
He and his wife, Carla, were married in July of 2011. They have two sons Ashton and Robert and a daughter, Annika.