University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football coach Russ Huesman rounded out his coaching staff for the 2013 season with two additions announced today. Former Moc Rusty Wright is the new linebackers coach while Brandon Cooper will serve as a defensive assistant.
Wright was a four-year letter winner for the Mocs from 1992-95. He caught over 50 passes as a tight-end in his career, playing on offenses that included future NFL players Terrell Owens, Jerry Ellison and Marrio Greer.
This is Wright's second stint as an assistant at his alma mater. He spent seven seasons on the UTC staff from 1996-02 where he served in various roles, including coaching the linebackers, tackles, tight ends, special teams and the junior varsity squad.
Wright spent the last two years building a new program at NAIA-member Reinhardt University in Waleska, Ga. There he was the defensive coordinator for the Eagles, who will play their inaugural season in the fall.
Prior to his stint at Reinhardt, Wright spent the 2010 season as the linebackers coach at Furman, preceded by one year as the defensive line coach at Gardner-Webb. He also coached four years at Miami (Ohio) University. The Redhawks won two Mid-American East Division titles in his tenure.
Wright is a native of Petticoat Junction, S.C. He graduated from UTC in 1996 with a degree in Sports Administration and is married to former UTC volleyball student-athlete Kelley Black of Cleveland, Tenn. The couple has a daughter, Madison.
Cooper takes over as a defensive assistant, pending University approval. He spent the last two seasons at Jacksonville State, where he coached the cornerbacks.
Cooper helped the Gamecocks to the Ohio Valley Conference Championship in 2011, when the JSU defense led the OVC in rushing defense (144.9), scoring defense (24.8), third downs allowed (33.3) and interceptions (16) in league-only games. A.J. Davis was an All-OVC corner that season and is currently with the New Orleans Saints. In 2012, he guided cornerback Jermaine Hugh to freshman All-American recognition and a spot on the OVC All-Newcomer team.
Before joining the Gamecocks, Cooper spent three years at UT Martin coaching corners. Tennessee-Martin led the league in total defense in 2010 after allowing just 299.3 yards per game, and also led the conference in total defense, passing defense, passing efficiency defense, first down and third down defense.
Cooper was a four-year letterman for the Skyhawks from 2003-06 and helped lead UT Martin to its first-ever Ohio Valley Conference Championship as a senior in 2006. He was a teammate of current UTC offensive line coach Alex Atkins.
Cooper is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Health and Human Performance from Tennessee-Martin in 2007.