Tuesday, December 15, 2009

YSU Names Eric Wolford Head Coach

Copy of the press release issued by the Youngstown State University today ---

The energetic Eric Wolford, a Youngstown native who has been labeled a top recruiter at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivison level, was named the sixth head coach in school history on Tuesday, YSU President Dr. David C. Sweet announced. Wolford, a graduate of Ursuline High School, takes over his hometown program after building an impressive resume the past 16 years as a collegiate assistant. Of those, 12 have been spent on the FBS level.

"Coach Wolford comes to Youngstown State with an impressive coaching background and we are more than happy to welcome him to our Football Family," Sweet said. "He will represent our university in a first-class manner and is very highly regarded throughout the collegiate ranks. He is a great fit for our community, university and football program."

Wolford has a tremendous background working with some of the most reputable names in college football. As an assistant, he has coached for Steve Spurrier (South Carolina), Ron Zook (Illinois), Mike Stoops (Arizona), Darrell Dickey (North Texas), Dana Dimel (Houston), Jim Leavitt (South Florida) and Bill Snyder (Kansas State).

In each of the past five years, Wolford has helped programs rank in the top 20 nationally in recruiting according to Scout.com. In 2008, Rivals.com labeled him a top-20 FBS National Recruiter.

"We are very excited to have Coach Wolford join the Youngstown State Football Family," YSU Athletics Director Ron Strollo said. "In all of my discussions with him, he has shown a passion to lead our football program and be an outstanding leader for our student-athletes. He has received extremely positive reviews from within the coaching ranks and members of our community. His ability to be a top-notch recruiter will help take our program to level we all can be proud of."

Wolford spent the 2009 season as the running-game coordinator and offensive line coach at South Carolina. The Gamecocks posted a 7-5 mark this past year and will make an appearance in the PapaJohns.com Bowl on Jan. 2 against UConn. USC had four running backs rush for more than 100 yards in a game in 2009 after having just one eclipse the mark in the previous campaign. During the campaign, he had four members of his offensive line make their first career starts. Overall, 10 different players started at least one contest up front, while three started at multiple positions. After joining the staff in January, Wolford showed his talents helping the Gamecocks land the 13th-ranked recruiting class in the nation.

The 38-year-old Wolford spent two seasons at Illinois (2007-08) with Zook before heading to South Carolina. In his two seasons with the Illini, his lines led the Big Ten Conference in rushing (2007) and passing (2008) yards per game. During his two years, Illinois ranked in the top 20 nationally in recruiting. Averaging 269.3 yards in the air, the Illini ranked first in the Big Ten in the category and 19th nationally in 2008. The team finished the season second in the conference in total offense with 438.8 yards per contest, which also ranked 19th in the NCAA. Illinois’ total yards topped 5,000 for just the fourth time in school history and for the second consecutive year.

Wolford helps the Gamecocks post a 7-5 record in 2009. He spent the previous two campaigns at Illinois.In 2007, Illinois finished with a 9-4 overall mark and represented the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl following a 6-2 league mark. His veteran unit led the offense to 3,338 rushing yards, the most in school history, and paved the way for running back Rashard Mendenhall’s record-setting season. The Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Mendenhall broke school records for rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and total scores in a season.

Wolford served as an assistant coach at Arizona from 2004-06, North Texas in 2003, Houston from 2000-02, South Florida from 1996-99, Emporia State in 1995 and at Kansas State in 1994.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1994 in social sciences with a focus on monetary policy and banking from KSU. Wolford signed a free-agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals before returning to Manhattan to embark on his coaching career.

A 1989 graduate of Ursuline High School, Wolford earned All-Northeastern Ohio honors in 1988, in addition to being named the defensive player of the year in the Steel Valley Conference. He played both offensive and defensive line helping the Irish to the SVC championship as a senior. In the summer of 2009, he was enshrined into the Ursuline High School Athletics Hall of Fame.

Wolford and his wife, Melinda, have a son, Stone, and a daughter, Marlee.
{Photo: The State}

1 comment:

Moose said...

Good for him, most assistnat coaches dream of being a head coach some day. Coaching at Youngstown state is a stepping stone to finding a coaching job in the MAC or Big 10 some day. He is from Ohio and will probably have a lot of success recruiting that area. He was in SC for less then a year and did a pretty good job of recruiting this area with very little tie in to this area.