Russ Huesman - HEAD COACH
Very few individuals can impact a program the way Russ Huesman has influenced Chattanooga Mocs football over the last two seasons. Hired on Dec. 22, 2008 as the 22nd head coach at UTC, Huesman has orchestrated one of the greatest turnarounds in NCAA history, guiding his alma mater to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years.
A 1983 graduate of UTC and a former defensive back for Chattanooga, Huesman used his 25 years of coaching experience to change the culture of Mocs football - academically, athletically and socially.
On the field, UTC has posted back-to-back 6-5 seasons for the first time since 1990 and 1991. The six wins in 2009 equaled the number of victories the Mocs posted in the three previous years combined. Chattanooga's 5-3 SoCon record in 2010 represented its most league wins since 1985.
For his efforts on the field, Huesman was named the 2009 SoCon Coach of the Year. That season, UTC tied a school record with eight individuals earning All-SoCon recognition. The Mocs broke that record with nine All-SoCon picks in 2010.
Senior defensive end Josh Beard went from a virtual unknown to the 2009 SoCon Defensive Player of the Year. Beard (2009), kicker Craig Camay (2009) and receiver Joel Bradford (2010) have given the Mocs three All-American honors in Huesman's two seasons. Receiver Blue Cooper signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2009 season while defensive back Buster Skrine was drafted in the fifth round by the Cleveland Browns in 2011. As good as things are on the field in Huesman's first two seasons, they were even better off it. A school record 10 Mocs made the Academic All-SoCon team in 2009 with another nine were honored in 2010. UTC also posted its highest APR scores in 2010, getting out of APR penalties for the first time since 2005.
Fans certainly took notice of all of this success as attendance skyrocketed over the last two years. After seeing just 5,748 fans per game in the year prior to Huesman taking over, the Mocs have averaged more than 10,000 fans in each of the last two seasons. The Mocs have set records in annual attendance and season ticket sales in each of the last two years.
For years, Chattanooga football had been an afterthought in the area. Now the Mocs are at the forefront of alumni, supporters and college football fans throughout the Scenic City and tri-state area.
Prior to his return to Chattanooga Huesman spent the previous 25 years building a reputation as one of the top defensive minded assistant coaches in the country.
Huesman was the defensive coordinator at the University of Richmond from 2004-08, helping guide the Spiders to the 2008 Football Championship Subdivision National Title. Richmond was known for its "Stonewall Defense," a phrase that was coined by Bruce Dowd of the College Sporting News. The Spiders' defense was ranked in the top-15 in the nation from 2006-08 under Huesman's guidance.
The "Stonewall Defense" was most impressive in the 2008 national title game played in Chattanooga. His Spiders held the No. 4 Montana Grizzlies scoreless for three quarters, and just seven points total, in a 24-7 win. In four seasons Huesman produce a total of 19 defensive all-conference players, including NFL draftee Lawrence Sidbury, Jr. (DL - 2009) who was a two-time first team All-CAA pick in 2007 and 2008.
Huesman spent six years at the University of Memphis (1998-2003) where he held several positions, serving as the recruiting coordinator and offensive line coach, before leaving for Richmond. He also coached the outside linebackers, tight ends and running backs. As recruiting coordinator, Huesman brought in a top-50 recruiting class, ranked No. 1 in Conference USA, in 2002. It was the first recruiting class ranked in the top-50 at Memphis.
Huesman also coached for 14 years at William & Mary and was the Tribe's defensive coordinator for the 1996-97 seasons. During his tenure with the Tribe, Huesman coached current NFL star Darren Sharper, who led a defense ranked second in the nation, allowing just 231.8 yards per game in 1996. That defensive squad also led the Yankee Conference in total defense and helped power the Indians to their first conference title since 1970. In 1997, the Tribe defense was third overall in the Atlantic 10 and led the league in pass efficiency defense.
In addition to coordinating the Tribes' defense, Huesman, also coached the secondary, a job he took over in 1991. In eight seasons under his direction, the College of William & Mary developed one of the most effective backfields in the nation.
During his time at William & Mary, Huesman also coached Steve Christie, a 15-year NFL place kicker with Tampa Bay, Buffalo, San Diego and the New York Giants. His coaching family tree also includes Mike Tomlin, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Alan Williams, the defensive backs coach for the Indianapolis Colts and Sean McDermott, the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. All three played for Huesman at William & Mary.
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Huesman played prep football at perennial power Moeller High School, where he lettered for four years under head coach Gerry Faust. He helped Moeller's team compile a record of 43-0-1 and win a pair of Ohio state championships.
An all-city selection in football as a senior, Huesman signed a football scholarship with Chattanooga, where he started all four years as a defensive back (1978-81) and was a two-sport athlete. He played under the late Joe Morrison for two years and competed his final two seasons under Bill Oliver. Huesman also patrolled centerfield on the baseball diamond for the Mocs during his freshman and junior seasons.
During his playing career at UTC, the Mocs posted a 31-11-2 mark and were Southern Conference co-Champions in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Huesman was on the Mocs' sidelines for the 1982 season as a student coach, earning his degree in business education in 1983. He followed that up with a move to the University of South Carolina as a graduate assistant under Morrison.
Huesman and his wife Amy have two daughters, Natalie (16) and Emily (13) and two sons, Jacob (19) and Levi (9). Jacob was freshman All-Conference in 2012.
Jeff Durden - Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks
Adam Braithwaite - Defensive Coordinator / Safeties
Alex Atkins - Offensive Line
Brandon Cooper - Outside Linebackers / Nickels
Chris Harr - Tight Ends
Rusty Wright - Linebackers
Will Healy - Receivers
B.J. Hogan - Cornerbacks
Wesley Satterfield - Running Backs
Marcus West - Defensive Line