- Florida - Broward, Dade County
- North Carolina
Donovan Varner enters his second season with Rhode Island in 2019. He joined Jim Fleming's staff as the wide receivers coach in January of 2018.
In his first season, Varner coached junior Aaron Parker to CAA Football First Team All-Conference and New England Football Writer's Association All-New England recognition. Parker led all CAA Football players in receiving yards, receiving yards per game and touchdown receptions in the regular season, finishing with 61 catches for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was 15th in the nation with 10 touchdown catches and became the seventh player in program history with at least 10 in one season. He also was 24th in the nation with 955 receiving yards, the sixth most in a season by a Ram.
Before coming to Rhode Island, Varner spent two seasons as an offensive graduate assistant coach at East Carolina, working closely with the wide receivers there. He worked weekly on film breakdown, scouting reports and offensive installs and also served as the academic liaison for the wide receiver position group. In addition to his wide receiver responsibilities, Varner coached on special teams, working directly with the snappers and holders. While at East Carolina, he coached All-American wide receiver Isaiah Jones, the NCAA Division I football career leader in receptions and one of three finalists for the 2016 Biletnikoff Award. He also worked with wideout Trevon Brown, a Second Team All-AAC honoree. He recruited in North Carolina and Florida (Miami/Broward).
Before his time at East Carolina, Varner was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for two seasons at Gulliver Preparatory High School in Miami, Fla. He handled play-calling for the offense while developing, promoting, and supervising all facets of the football program, from practice and game management to academic support, mentoring, and supervision of 40+ student athletes
During his playing career at Duke, Varner was a First Team All-ACC wide receiver in 2009 and won the team's Most Outstanding Wide Receiver honor in 2009 and 2011. He was a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll and earned his degree Sociology, Markets and Management Certificate in 2012. He played in the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013.