University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head football coach Russ Huesman has accepted an offer to become the head coach at the University of Richmond.
Huesman was in Richmond Tuesday and had dinner with the university's athletic director Keith Gill. Also according to sources, Huesman has spoken with several members of the Mocs staff about joining him at Richmond.
Richmond confirmed the hiring in a statement, released Wednesday morning.
"I'm excited to return to Richmond, a place that my family and I dearly love, for the opportunity to be the head coach of this incredibly successful football program," Huesman said in the UR press release. "The commitment of this university and athletic department to its football program is evident through the recent success and I look forward to building on that success at even greater heights."
Huesman came to UTC in 2009 after spending eight seasons as the Spiders' defensive coordinator, which culminated in a national championship in 2008. He went 59-37 in eight seasons as the Mocs' head coach, including a span of three consecutive Southern Conference championships from 2013-15 and three Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearances from 2014-16.
In Huesman's last four seasons, the Mocs were 36-16 and 25-5 in the SoCon.
Former Richmond head coach Danny Rocco, who left for Colonial Athletic Association rival Delaware, went 10-4 in 2016, with the Spiders — like the Mocs — winning a playoff game and falling in the second round. He was making $437,000 at Richmond.
"We're excited to have Coach Huesman rejoin the Spider family," Gill said. "Russ Huesman has an excellent understanding of what it takes to be successful here at Richmond, including our expectations of excellence in the classroom and on the gridiron. He was instrumental in our 2008 football national championship so he understands our culture of success."
The Spiders offered Huesman a similar figure, but UTC countered Tuesday afternoon by offering Huesman a pay increase nearing $325,000, according to sources. Included in that amount was going to be a substantial increase to the assistant coaching pool which would have made it one of the best in the country, according to another source.
The Mocs went 9-4 in 2016, falling 41-35 to Sam Houston State in the second round of the FCS playoffs.
For a full story, read Thursday's Times Free Press.