As Chino Fontenette enters his second season as the Louisiana Tech running back's coach, he does so looking for an encore to what was a highly-successful first year in the role.
Fontenette, who came to LA Tech as a graduate assistant in 2007 before being promoted to his full-time role prior to last season, had the luxury of coaching the highly-successful tandem of Daniel Porter and Patrick Jackson in 2008.
Porter and Jackson were the offensive workhorses and helped lead LA Tech to a second-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference and a 17-10 win over Northern Illinois in the 2008 Independence Bowl, the program's first bowl victory in more than 30 years.
Along the way, the Tech ground game ranked second in the WAC and 27th in the country with almost 2,500 yards and 23 touchdowns. Porter earned first team All-WAC and first team all-state honors after rushing for 1,163 yards and nine touchdowns during his junior campaign, only the eighth Bulldog to ever record a 1,000-yard season.
At one point in the season, Porter recorded four straight 100-yard performances, including a career-high 189 yards in a win over Fresno State, marking the first time a LA Tech back had accomplished the feat since current Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats did it in 2003.
In addition to Porter's impressive season, Jackson also proved valuable rushing for 653 yards and eight touchdowns and giving LA Tech one of the toughest one-two combinations in the WAC.
During his first year with the Bulldog program as a graduate assistant, Fontenette was responsible for handling defensive breakdowns, working closely with Tech offensive coordinator Frank Scelfo on gameplans, working with the scout teams and serving as the primary signal caller during games.
Fontenette came to Louisiana Tech after spending two seasons at Tulane University, where he served as the offensive graduate assistant for the Green Wave program, working closely with Scelfo. While with Tulane in 2006, he helped lead the Green Wave to several big wins, including a stunner over SEC foe Mississippi State.
He is no stranger to Ruston as he and Scelfo were part of the Green Wave staff that had to make Louisiana Tech their temporary home in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina.
Fontenette's relationship with Scelfo started when he was recruited out of high school to play at Tulane where he was a member of the Green Wave team for five years before becoming Scelfo's graduate assistant.
The 27-year-old played football at Tulane from 1999 through 2003 and was considered one of the most versatile players to wear the Green Wave uniform, playing running back, receiver and quarterback while also serving on special teams units. Fontenette helped lead the 2002 squad to an 8-5 season that ended in a victory in the Hawaii Bowl.
He played in all 12 games as a senior, and posted a big performance against Southern Miss with eight carries for 32 yards and three catches for 48 yards. He also played in all 13 games as a junior when he moved into a vital role as the team's holder for place kicks.
Fontenette earned a double major from Tulane in media arts and marketing in 2003 where he was named to the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll.