Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley announced Sunday the additions of Terry Joseph and Eric Russell to the Vols coaching staff.
Both have a history with Dooley from his three seasons at Louisiana Tech, Joseph having spent all three years in Ruston with the Vols new head coach and Russell the first two before moving to the Texas Tech coaching staff for 2009.
Joseph, 36, doubled as the Louisiana Tech secondary coach and recruiting coordinator. He helped turn around a Bulldogs unit that ranked dead last in the country the year before his arrival in both total defense and scoring defense to one that sliced its scoring defense average nearly in half by 2008.
That’s the year Louisiana Tech advanced to and won its first bowl game in 30 years at the Independence Bowl. Defense played its part, tossing the school’s first shutout - 21-0 at San Jose State - since 1996 for a span of 148 games and its first road shutout since 1988 for a span of 225 games.
In addition to Joseph’s success on the field, he also coordinated Dooley’s recruiting efforts for the Western Athletic Conference program. Tech’s 2009 recruiting class ranked second in the league and Joseph was tabbed as the No. 4 recruiter from a non-BCS school in 2008.
Joseph came to Louisiana Tech after one season of graduate assistant work on the LSU staff of Les Miles. Joseph worked under defensive coordinator and current Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini as the Tigers ended the season third nationally in total defense and pass defense, and fourth nationally in scoring defense.
Before that, Joseph gathered a wealth of knowledge of the Louisiana high school football circuit - especially south Louisiana - thanks to three seasons as an assistant coach at Archbishop Shaw and Destrehan high schools in the New Orleans area. Joseph was at Archbishop Shaw from 1999 through 2002, and then at Destrehan through 2005.
In fact, Joseph was a member of the Destrehan coaching staff for former Vols tight end Chris Brown’s final two high school seasons. Brown caught 92 passes during his UT career from 2004-07.
Joseph earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State in 1996. He was the 1995 Southland Conference Baseball Player of the Year and went on to four minor league playing seasons in the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres systems.
He is married to the former Amanda Gauthe, and they are the parents of daughters Taylor and Lynleigh.
Russell, 42, has the reputation of being one of the top special teams coaches in the country and was special teams coordinator at Texas Tech in 2009. This season, the Red Raiders were third in the Big 12 in kickoff returns and third in kickoff coverage, with freshman Eric Stephens second in the league with a 25.7-yard kickoff return average.
The Idaho native arrived in Lubbock after two highly successful seasons in the same position at Louisiana Tech under Dooley. In 2007, he helped make the Bulldogs one of the top overall return teams in the country. Tech ranked eighth nationally in punt returns and 26th in kickoff returns.
Russell helped punter Chris Keagle average 41.3 yards a punt and earn first team All-WAC honors. Keagle and the punt coverage unit led the WAC in net punting and ranked 27th nationally.
The Bulldogs also developed quite a reputation for blocking kicks as freshman Dominique Faust blocked three field goals and one punt, while as a team Tech blocked a total of five kicks.
Before joining Dooley at Louisiana Tech, Russell spent 13 seasons at North Texas, including five as the special teams coordinator. During his tenure at North Texas, Russell helped lead the program to four straight Sun Belt Conference titles and four consecutive appearances in the New Orleans Bowl from 2001-04.
His Mean Green special teams units were annually ranked among the best in the Sun Belt Conference in punt returns, kickoff coverage and field goal percentage. North Texas led the Sun Belt in net punting in 2002 and 2003 and in kickoff returns in 2002. During his time as special teams coordinator, North Texas blocked 14 punts, including seven during the 2003 season.
Prior to joining the North Texas staff in 1994, Russell served as a graduate assistant at New Mexico in 1993 and at Idaho in 1991.
An all-state quarterback at St. Marie's High School, Russell was named the Idaho Offensive Player of the Year as a senior before earning all-conference honors at Spokane (Wash.) Falls Community College in 1986-87. He earned his bachelor's degree in public relations from Idaho in 1991.
Russell is married to the former Shannon Cook of Tyler, Texas, and the couple has a 3-year-old son, Hayden.