Todd Whitten Named Wide Receivers Coach, Cornell Jackson Tabbed Running Backs Coach
Jan. 10, 2013
Todd Whitten, Wide Receivers Coach
Former NFL quarterback and collegiate head coach Todd Whitten has joined Sean Kugler’s UTEP staff. Whitten will coach the Miner wide receivers.
“Coach Whitten has been a successful head coach at the Division I-AA and Division II levels,” Kugler said. “He has also been a coordinator at the Division I level. He brings a lot of experience. He has a great background recruiting in Texas. He’s going to recruit West Texas and North Texas for us. I think he’ll have a great relationship with those coaches, having dealt with them for an extended period of time. He is an extremely intelligent coach with a lot of experience. He and Spencer Leftwich were college teammates, and the chemistry that they’ll bring is awesome.”
Whitten was the head coach at Tarleton State (1996, 2000-04) and Sam Houston State (2005-09), compiling a 70-51 record. Most recently he served as the offensive coordinator at Lamar for two years (2010-11) and spent the 2012 season as the head coach at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, Texas.
Whitten led Sam Houston State to runner-up finishes in the Southland Conference in 2006 (6-5) and 2007 (7-4). In 2006, D.D. Terry ranked seventh in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in rushing, averaging 132.8 yards per game, and 11th in scoring with 9.8 points per game. In 2007, Sam Houston State held FCS top-25 rankings in passing offense (16th, 265.3 ypg) and total offense (21st, 419.3 ypg). Quarterback Rhett Bomar rated eighth nationally in total offense (290.6 ypg) en route to being chosen in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the New York Giants.
Whitten was 45-23 in two separate stints at Tarleton State. In 1996, he directed the Texans to a 5-5 mark. His second tenure produced a stellar 40-18 mark over five seasons, including 10 wins in 2001 and nine in 2002. The Texans won the Lone Star Conference championship in 2001, made their first-ever playoff appearance and closed out the year rated 10th in the Division II poll. Tarleton had a total of 34 All-Conference selections in 2002 and 2003, including 19 first team honorees, while capturing back-to-back Lone Star Conference North Division titles. The Texans set 30 school records during the Whitten era, and he garnered conference coach of the year honors on four occasions (1996, 2001-03).
Whitten was also on the staffs at Texas Tech (graduate assistant 1988-89), New Mexico State (quarterbacks coach 1990-93), UTEP (running backs coach 1994-95), Wyoming (offensive coordinator 1997-98) and Sam Houston State (offensive coordinator 1999).
One of the most prolific quarterbacks in Stephen F. Austin history, Whitten ranks second on the school charts with 6,304 passing yards and 60 touchdowns. He signed a free agent contract and played for the New England Patriots during the NFL players strike in 1987. He was also a standout baseball player in college and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. He was inducted into SFA’s Athletics Hall of Honor in 2001.
The Dallas native earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin in 1987 and added a master’s in education from Texas Tech in 1990.
He and his wife, Dana, have three sons (Brady, Blaze, Tate) and a daughter (Maddie).
Cornell Jackson, Running Backs
Jackson helped the Boilermakers land bowl bids during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, participating in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and the Heart of Dallas Bowl respectively.
“Coach Jackson has vast experience,” Kugler said. “He worked at Baylor, New Mexico, Arizona State, Washington and Purdue. He has unbelievable background. He actually coached on the staff where my son plays. The feedback I have gotten from everybody, including my son, is that he’s a fair coach, he gets the best out of his players and they all respect him. I am excited to get somebody of his caliber on our staff.”
In 2009, Purdue had the Big Ten’s no. 3 rusher in Ralph Bolden, who averaged 77.9 yards per game. Bolden was a second team all-league choice after rushing for 935 yards, despite missing most of the season finale at Indiana due to injury. Bolden ran for a career-high 234 yards against Toledo, the third-best tally in school history.
In 2010, the Boilermakers tied the school record by compiling five consecutive games with 200+ yards rushing. Purdue amassed 100+ yards on the ground in 10 of 12 games.
The Boilermakers ranked 33rd nationally in rushing offense in 2011, averaging 181.6 yards per game. That was the highest total by a Purdue team in six years. Eight different players collected at least 100 yards on the season.
Purdue also racked up 22 rushing touchdowns in 2011. Akeem Shavers was appointed MVP of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl after rushing 22 times for 149 yards in a 37-32 win over Western Michigan. For the year, Purdue rushers lost only three fumbles on 535 carries.
Jackson was on the Kansas State staff in 2008, coaching the linebackers. He has also coached the running backs at Arizona State (1996-99), Washington (2004), New Mexico (2005-06) and Baylor (2007).
Jackson’s stint in Tempe produced five running backs that were chosen in the NFL Draft, including two (Terry Battle and J.R. Redmond) who garnered All-Pac 10 honors. The Sun Devils played in three bowl games during Jackson’s tenure (1996 Rose, 1997 Sun, 1999 Aloha).
While at Washington, Jackson coached the linebackers (2002) and the safeties (2003) prior to taking over as running backs coach. He also added recruiting coordinator to his list of responsibilities in 2004. The Huskies played in the 2002 Sun Bowl.
In 2005, the Lobos’ DonTrell Moore earned Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors after becoming just the sixth player in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 yards in four separate seasons. A year later, Jackson coached first team All-Mountain West Conference pick Rodney Ferguson, who rushed for 1,132 yards in leading the Lobos to the New Mexico Bowl. Jackson had two separate coaching stints at New Mexico, including coaching the linebackers in 1995.
In 2000 and 2001, Jackson coached the linebackers at Houston. Under his tutelage Wayne Rogers was named the Conference USA co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2000. He was also linebackers coach at Utah State (1990-91) and Pacific (1992-94).
Jackson began his career as running backs coach at Butler County (Kan.) Community College in 1987, then moved to Central Missouri State as a graduate assistant working with the defensive ends in 1988 and 1989.
Jackson has taken part in four NFL internships - with the San Diego Chargers (linebackers) in 2004, Denver Broncos (running backs) in 2001, St. Louis Rams (running backs) in 1999 and Seattle Seahawks (linebackers) in 1993.
A native of Jackson, Miss., Jackson played defensive back at Hinds Junior College in 1982 and 1983 before moving on to Sterling (Kan.) College, where he was a two-time All-Conference defensive back. He earned his bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education in 1986.
His wife's name is Lorri.
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