Chattanooga head coach Russ Huesman will soon have to start the process of replacing yet another coordinator this offseason. Coach Adam Fuller, the Mocs’ defensive coordinator for the past four seasons, has accepted a job to serve as linebackers coach at Marshall University.
Fuller, who interviewed at the school earlier this week, turned down Marshall’s original offer.
“He was driving back and said ‘coach if you’ll still have me I want to stay,’ “Huesman said.
As of Tuesday — the day before National Signing Day — they both believed he would be back with the Mocs for another season. Then the Thundering Heard increased the deal.
It was an offer Fuller couldn’t refuse.
“They actually sweetened the pot to where he has to be the most valuable linebackers coach in America right now,” Huesman said. “I don’t know where Marshall gets it all, but for him to get what he got is pretty incredible. I didn’t know he was leaving really until last night.”
The news comes less than two months after former UTC offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield left for Temple University to become the Owls' offensive coordinator. Both Satterfield and Fuller had been at Chattanooga since Huesman’s arrival in 2009.
“We’re not a feeder system, but when you have good coaches, these things happen,” said Huesman, who has coached will Fuller for eight of the last nine years
“I don’t fault him for wanting to do this,” added Huesman. “You look at the landscape of college athletics and the NFL, people are moving, changing jobs all the time. This is a business; we love what we do, but the bottom line is you have to take care of your family.”
In four seasons at Chattanooga, Fuller has turned the Mocs’ defense into one of the conference’s top units, along with guiding 16 players to the All-Southern Conference honors. In 2011, UTC led the Southern Conference in total defense (305.3 ypg), scoring defense (19.7 ppg), turnover margin (+9) along with several other defensive statistical categories, while the Mocs ranked second in the SoCon in total defense (308.4 ypg) and scoring defense (20.4 ppg) last season.
“When I was a coordinator he was my right hand man,” Huesman said. “As a head coach, having him is so valuable. He’s a great coach and a great person. It was a matter of time before somebody saw the job that he does. I’m glad we got him for four years.”
Huesman will start looking for a Fuller's replacement, and said that there’s plenty of time to find a well-qualified candidate before the start of spring practice on March 22.
Two of the Mocs’ defensive leaders, rising senior linebackers Wes Dothard and Gunner Miller, will have some input in the process, just as quarterbacks Jacob Huesman and Terrell Robinson had in last month's hiring of offensive coordinator Jeff Durden.
“I think it’s important that they have input,” Huesman said. “I’m going to make the decision, obviously, but it’s neat that they want the input and they should have input.”
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.