Updated Jan 26, 2007 10:35:42
Dooley Completes Staff with Hiring of Russell
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley completed his coaching staff with the hiring of Eric Russell as the Bulldogs special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.
Russell’s hiring is pending approval of the Louisiana Tech Athletic Council and the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
The 39-year-old comes to Louisiana Tech after serving the past 13 years on the staff at North Texas where he served as the special team’s coordinator for the past five years.
“Eric comes highly recommended and has a history of producing aggressive and game-changing special teams play,” Dooley said. “He has developed strong recruiting ties in the state of Texas and is a perfect fit for our university.”
During his tenure at North Texas, Russell helped lead the program to four straight Sun Belt Conference titles and four consecutive appearances in the New Orleans Bowl from 2001 through 2004.
His Mean Green special teams units were annually ranked among the best in the Sun Belt Conference in punt returns, kickoff coverage and field goal percentage. North Texas ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt in net punting in 2002 and 2003 and No. 1 in kick returns in 2002.
The Mean Green ranked No. 1 in the country in punt return defense and No. 3 in kick return defense in 2003, and No. 5 in kick return defense in 2005.
During his time as special team’s coordinator, North Texas blocked 14 punts, including seven during the 2003 season.
Russell helped develop two of the top kickers in the programs history in Jason Ball, who set the school record for consecutive field goals made, and Nick Bazaldua, who became the school’s all-time scoring leader.
In addition to his special team’s duties, Russell served as the defensive tackles coach from 1994 through 2000 before taking over the North Texas defensive ends starting in 2001 and outside linebackers in 2006.
Russell coached 15 all-conference selections during his time at North Texas, including Adrian Awasom, who developed into a Lombardi and Hendricks Award candidate and who finished his career as the Sun Belt Conference’s all-time sack leader.
“I am very excited to be joining Coach Dooley and the Louisiana Tech family,” Russell said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for me and my family. Derek’s vision and direction for this program makes it an exciting time to be a part of Louisiana Tech football.”
Prior to joining the North Texas staff in 1994, Russell served as a graduate assistant at New Mexico in 1993 and at Idaho in 1991.
An all-state quarterback at St. Marie’s High School, Russell was named the Idaho Offensive Player of the Year as a senior before earning all-conference honors at Spokane (WA) Falls Community College in 1986-87.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations from Idaho in 1991.
Russell is married to the former Shannon Cook of Tyler, Texas, and the couple has a six-month old son named Hayden.