Richmond defensive coordinator Russ Huesman, a former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive back, will interview for the head coaching position at his alma mater today — less than 24 hours after helping the Spiders win the FCS national championship Friday night at Finley Stadium, the Mocs’ home field.
His is the third and final interview before athletic director Rick Hart makes a decision on who will be named the 22nd head coach in the program’s history. That announcement could come as early as Monday.
“Everybody that’s participating in these interviews was kind enough to agree to come in on a Saturday,” Hart said. “I feel great about our process, but there is still a lot of work to be done if we want to end the process as well as we began it.”
A native of Cincinnati, Huesman graduated from UTC in 1982. After a year with the Mocs and two at South Carolina, he coached at William & Mary from 1985 to ’97, followed by five seasons at Memphis before being hired by former Spiders coach Dave Clawson in 2004.
Huesman’s defense went into Friday night’s title game against Montana ranked sixth in the nation in scoring defense and 10th in total defense, then held the Grizzlies to a fourth-quarter touchdown in a 24-7 win.
The other finalists for the job are former UTC offensive coordinator Jason Simpson, the head coach at UT-Martin the past three seasons, and Lambuth University coach Hugh Freeze. Simpson and Freeze interviewed on campus this week.
Meanwhile, former Mocs offensive coordinator Carmen Felus, a Pennsylvania native, was named the head coach at Division III Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on Thursday.
The Mocs went 6-28 in his three seasons at UTC under former coach Rodney Allison, and the offense never quite clicked. This season UTC was last in the Southern Conference in scoring, total offense and rushing and eighth in passing. The offense was last in scoring and total offense in 2007 and was seventh in scoring and fifth in total offense in 2006.
Felus, from Lilly, Pa., is the first assistant from Allison’s staff to take another job. Hart announced on Oct. 21 that Allison’s contract would not be renewed after six seasons.
Allison said Friday that Felus’ first head-coaching job put him close to his family, as well as his wife Julie’s. The couple had their first child on Dec. 4. Before joining Allison’s staff, Felus spent six seasons as an assistant at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
As for his own job search, Allison said he’s still looking around and considering some options. Still involved in the equation is the future of his son Sloan, who was a redshirt freshman quarterback this season and played in 11 games.
Allison said he wanted to get Sloan’s situation resolved, whether that is staying at UTC or transferring, before accepting a job. Either way, he said, he should have it all worked out in the next couple of weeks.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...