- 2009 Southern Conference Coach of the Year
Very few individuals can impact a program the way Russ Huesman has influenced Chattanooga Mocs football since taking over as head coach on Dec. 22, 2008. The 22nd head coach at UTC, Huesman has orchestrated a monumental turnaround over the last four 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.
He guided the Mocs to back-to-back winning seasons in 2009 and 2010 for the first time in nearly 20 years. His 17 Southern Conference wins are the most in a four-year period since winning 20 from 1982-85. He has also had two SoCon Freshmen of the Year and two SoCon Defensive Players of the Year.
Since taking over in 2009, Chattanooga is 23-21 under Huesman, the 2009 SoCon Coach of the Year. The Mocs did not win 23 games in the eight seasons combined prior to his arrival.
The Mocs have had at least seven named to the All-SoCon team in each of Huesman’s four years, including a school record nine in 2010. Prior to his arrival, UTC had not had seven members on any All-SoCon team since 1979.
Senior defensive end Josh Beard went from a virtual unknown to the 2009 SoCon Defensive Player of the Year. David Tull was the first sophomore in nearly 20 years to win SoCon Defensive Player of the Year when he grabbed the award in 2012. Beard (2009), Tull (2012), kicker Craig Camay (2009), receiver Joel Bradford (2010), tight end Faysal Shafaat (2012) and linebacker Wes Dothard (2011 & 2012) have given the Mocs six All-American honors in Huesman's four seasons.
Receiver Blue Cooper (2009) and offensive lineman Chris Harr (2010) signed a free agent contracts with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively. Defensive back Buster Skrine was drafted in the fifth round by the Cleveland Browns in 2011 and quarterback B.J. Coleman was taken in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers in 2012. Chris Lewis-Harris (2011) was a free agent pickup of the Cincinnati Bengals and actually played in three games in 2012.
As good as things have been on the field, they have been even better off it. A school record 10 Mocs made the Academic All-SoCon team in 2009 and a total of 32 have made the squad in the last four years. In the six years prior to Huesman, only 14 Mocs made the league’s academic squad. UTC also posted its highest APR scores in 2010 and 2011, 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 four 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 three of the last four seasons.
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 (17) and Emily (14) and two sons, Jacob (20) and Levi (10). Jacob was the 2010 Tennessee Division II-AA Mr. Football at Chattanooga's Baylor School and is now a sophomore quarterback for the Mocs.
Head Coaching Record
Richmond - Assistant Coach - 2004-08
Memphis - Assistant Coach - 1998-03
William & Mary - Assistant Coach - 1984-97
South Carolina - Graduate Assistant Coach - 1983-84
Chattanooga - Student Assistant Coach - 1982
Full Name: Russell Frederick Huesman
Born: Jan. 28, 1960
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Children: Jacob (20), Natalie (17), Emily (14), Levi (10)
Education: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - B.S. in Business Education (1983)
Updated May 2013