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January 28, 2012
Curtis Johnson announces full coaching staff
Tulane head football coach Curtis Johnson announced today the completion of his Green Wave coaching staff as eight new faces join the Tulane football program and two coaches will be retained. The new TU coaching staff features coordinators Eric Price, Jon Sumrall and Lionel Washington, along with assistants David Johnson, Barry Lamb, John McDonell (pronounced MAC-dun-el), Mike Neu and Keith Williams, and Johnson will retain Doug Lichtenberger and Jason Rollins from the previous staff.
Price will serve as the Green Wave's offensive coordinator and Washington and Sumrall will share defensive coordinator duties, while Washington will work with defensive backs and Sumrall will oversee the defensive line.
Neu will coach the Wave's quarterbacks, McDonell will head the offensive line, David Johnson will oversee the tight ends and running backs, Lamb will coach TU's linebackers and serve as the team's special teams coach and Williams will coach the Green Wave's receiving corps.
Lichtenberger will serve as the assistant athletic director for football operations/recruiting, while Rollins will join Washington as a defensive backs coach.
"When you're hiring a staff, you want to pick guys that will be like family and these coaches are guys I will trust in the good times and the bad times," Johnson said. "Everything won't always be touchdown left and touchdown right. There will be some tough times. There always are no matter how successful a program is and you have to come together as a staff and pull yourself out of adversity."
"Offensively, I believe we've hired the best, most experienced and smartest minds to run the high-powered offense we plan on featuring. These coaches each have great offensive minds and solid track records of putting up great offensive numbers and complete offensive football," Johnson said.
"Defensively, we have a wide-range of experience and a group of coaches with very aggressive styles for the defense we want to play. These coaches are very fundamentally sound, show great enthusiasm and will play a very emotional brand of football," Johnson added.
Price, 45, is no stranger to high octane offenses and is well versed with Conference USA schools following stints at UTEP (2004-07) and most recently at Memphis (2010-11). He brings 19 and half years of college and professional experience to the Green Wave offense.
Price has solid and lengthy experience both at the collegiate and professional level and owns an extensive background as an offensive coach on the collegiate level with stints of coaching wide receivers, running backs and quarterbacks, in addition to his experience as an offensive coordinator.
During his two seasons at Memphis, Price was the offensive coordinator and also coached the Tigers' running backs (2010) and wide receivers (2011). Prior to Memphis, Price served as the wide receivers coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2008, he coached Dwayne Bowe, who logged 86 catches for 1,022 yards.
Price received his initial NFL coaching experience as an offensive assistant with the New York Jets from 2001-02. He was instrumental in the development of Jets quarterback Chad Pennington. Price helped prepare Pennington for his move into the starting lineup, as he opened the final 12 games of the 2002 season.
Price served as the offensive coordinator at UTEP for four seasons (2004-07) under his father, Mike Price. In addition, he tutored the wide receivers his first three years with the Miners before coaching the quarterbacks in 2007. He led an offensive attack that scored 30 or more points on 30 different occasions and racked up 400 or more yards of total offense 28 times in the four seasons.
The Pullman, Washington, native also served as the quarterbacks coach for three seasons at Washington State (1998-2000).
Sumrall, 29, comes to New Orleans after spending the last five seasons at the University of San Diego. Sumrall came to USD in 2007 from the University of Kentucky where he worked with USD head coach, Ron Caragher. From 2007-2009, he served as USD's defensive line coach, recruiting coordinator and camp coordinator. He served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2010-2011 and assumed the role of assistant head coach during the 2011 Toreros season.
In 2011, the Toreros chalked up a 9-2 campaign including a 7-1 conference mark. The 2011 was ranked nationally 15th in run defense, 13th in pass efficiency defense, 4th in sacks, and 16th in 3rd down percentage defense.
The USD defense had numerous players receive accolades. Sophomore defensive end Blake Oliaro was named Pioneer Football League Defensive Player of the Year, AP FCS Second Team All-American, First Team All-Conference, and Team Defensive MVP. The Torero defense placed five others on the All-Conference list.
During Sumrall's first season as defensive coordinator in 2010, the defense ranked first in scoring defense, total defense, run defense and third down conversions in league play. The defense also ranked second in the conference in pass defense. Following the 2010 season, defensive end Mario Kurn was named a Ted Hendricks Award finalist, Buck Buchanan Award Finalist, First Team All-America by Phil Steele and The Sports Network, Second Team All-America by the Associated Press, First Team All-Conference and Team MVP.
A native of Huntsville, Ala., Sumrall completed his bachelor's degree in finance from Kentucky in 2004 and has completed coursework on a master's degree in sports leadership. While in college he was a member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll and also was selected for the Frank G. Ham Society of Character by UK Athletics.
A native of nearby Lutcher, Washington spent 27 years in the NFL as a player or coach, all on the defensive side of the football. He played 15 seasons in the NFL as a defensive back and was a secondary coach for 12 years following retirement.
Washington, 51, spent 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers as a nicklebacks/cornerbacks coach from 1999 to 2008. He spent two years on the Oakland Raiders staff in 2009 and 2010 and was the defensive backs coach on Marty Schottenheimer's staff of the United Football League's Virginia Destroyers in 2011.
As an NFL coach, he tutored several of the NFL's best defenders, including Packer cornerbacks Al Harris and former Raider Charles Woodson, who earned Pro Bowls berths under Washington's tutelage. In 2005, Washington's defensive backs helped Green Bay lead the league in fewest passing yards allowed per game (167.5) as well as fewest passing first downs (143).
During his tenure with the Raiders, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha earned a Pro Bowl spot, safety Tyvon Branch broke the 100-tackle mark (124, which led all NFL defensive backs) and cornerback Chris Johnson led the team in passes defensed (18) in 2009.
Washington's 15 seasons in the NFL is one of the longest playing careers for a defensive back in pro football history. He played in 205 NFL games with 165 starts and recorded 37 interceptions, returning four for touchdowns. In his career, Washington intercepted at least one pass in 13 of his 15 pro seasons, with at least three in five different years, including a career-high eight as a rookie in 1983.
A four-year letterwinner for the Wave from 1979-82, Washington helped Tulane to 26 wins and appearances in the Liberty Bowl (1979) and Hall of Fame Bowl (1980) during his career. He served as team captain during his senior season of 1982 and was a fourth round choice (103rd overall) in the 1983 NFL Draft by the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals.
A native New Orleanian, Johnson has coached in various capacities during his career at some of the top high school football programs in the state of Louisiana, including twice at nearby St. Augustine High School (2005/2009-11), O. Perry Walker High School (2000-05) and John F. Kennedy High School (1997-98).
Johnson also brings collegiate experience to the Green Wave staff. He coached at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi from 2005-09.
Johnson comes to Tulane after a very successful three-year tenure as the head coach/offensive coordinator and receivers coach at nearby St. Augustine High School. Johnson coached the Purple Knights from 2009-11 and led the program to a co-district title in 2010 and to a district championship in 2011. He was named the 2011 District 10-4A Coach of the Year.
Among his pupils were Tyrann Mathieu, a Heisman Trophy finalist, first team All-America and the National and Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 2011, and Leonard Fournette, who was named as the top All-American Freshman by MaxPrep.com in 2010.
Prior to SAHS, Johnson was the wide receivers/tight end/special teams (return) coach and recruiting coordinator at Millsaps College. During his time with the Majors, he helped the team to a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title in 2006 and tied for the championship in 2008. Millsaps recorded a 20-1 overall record in conference play from 2006-08 and the 2008 Majors completed the season ranked No. 3 in the nation.
From 2000-05, Johnson was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers/tight ends coach at O. Perry Walker, where he helped the team to the 2002 state finals, three consecutive district championships (2002-04) and coached seven receivers to 1,000-yard seasons. Among his pupils was future LSU Tiger and San Diego Charger receiver Craig Davis. A total of 18 players went on to play Division I college football, including 11 from the class of 2002.
A seasoned veteran with 33 years of coaching experience under his belt, Lamb comes to Tulane after spending 16 seasons at BYU, where he helped the Cougars to 142 wins and 11 bowl appearances from 1994-2010. Hired by LaVell Edwards in 1994, Lamb went on to work under the tenures of Gary Crowton and most recently under Bronco Mendenhall. Lamb coached secondary and linebackers and coordinated special teams during his tenure in Provo and during his career he has recruited seven players who have earned all-pro honors in the NFL.
Along with BYU, Lamb has worked extensively in the western United States with stops at San Diego State (1989-93), where he served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach and helped the Aztecs to the 1991 Freedom Bowl, and he also served in the same capacity at Idaho (1986-89), where he helped the Vandals to three straight I-AA playoff appearances.
From 1981-86, Lamb worked as the outside and inside linebackers, secondary and special teams coach at UNLV, was a secondary coach at Arizona State during the 1980-1981 seasons and he broke into the college football ranks as the offensive and defensive line and outside linebackers coach at Oregon from 1977-80.
A native of Santa Barbara, Calif., Lamb went on to earn his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Oregon in 1978 and graduated Phi Kappa Phi from Arizona State with a master's in history in 1988.
A veteran with 28 years of experience in college football, McDonell has been a part of nine bowl teams and many of his offensive linemen have earned All-America honors and gone on to distinguished NFL careers.
He comes to Tulane from the University of Idaho where he spent the 2011 campaign as the offensive line coach for the Vandals.
Prior to Idaho, McDonell spent the 2010 season in the same capacity at the University of Memphis and he also served for one season in the same capacity at Bowling Green State University (2009), where he helped the Falcons to the Humanitarian Bowl.
Before Bowling Green, McDonell's previous coaching stops included Purdue (2006-08), Stanford (2001, 2005), Notre Dame (2002-04), Washington State (1989-2000) and Weber State (1984-88).
He helped Purdue to the Champs Bowl in 2006 and the Motor City Bowl in 2007 and also played an instrumental role in Dustin Keller's first round selection (30th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Before that, he was on the coaching staff for Notre Dame's appearances in the Gator Bowl (2002) and Insight Bowl (2004). Under his tutelage with the Irish, center Jeff Faine was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy and was a first round draft pick (21st overall) by the Cleveland Browns in the 2003 draft.
McDonell was a member of Stanford's Seattle Bowl appearance in 2001 and coached Eric Heitmann to first team All-America honors that same season.
A native of Spokane, Wash., McDonell earned his bachelor's degree in social science from Carroll College in 1981.
Neu, 41, spent the last three years as a college scout for the Saints and was part of the team's Super Bowl Championship in 2009. Neu was responsible for evaluating the players at the schools located in the northeast region.
Prior to the Saints, he was the head coach of the Arena Football League's New Orleans VooDoo from 2004-08, where he compiled a 33-31 record and earned 2004 AFL Coach of the Year honors. During his first season, Neu led the team to a franchise-best 11-5 record, to a division title and a playoff berth.
Before that, Neu spent two years with the AFL's Carolina Cobras. He served as the offensive coordinator in 2001 and was promoted to head coach in 2002. During his stint as the head coach, Neu led the team to a the quarterfinals of the AFL playoffs, including the team's first playoff win, and the team set franchise records in every major offensive category.
In 2000, Neu was the head coach and director of football operations for the Arena Football 2's Augusta Stallions and he led that organization to a conference title in 2000 with a 14-4 record. The Stallions finished in the top four of every major offensive and defensive category and Neu was named the AF2 Coach of the Year.
Neu began his coaching career with the AFL's Nashville Kats as the quarterbacks coach in 1998 and then served as the offensive coordinator in 1999.
A native of Indianapolis, Ind., Neu was a four-year starter at quarterback at Ball State University from 1989-93. He led the Cardinals to a Mid-American Conference championship in 1993, and was named the MAC Conference MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 1993. During his final campaign, Neu guided Ball State to a bowl appearance in the Las Vegas Bowl and was named the game's MVP.
Williams, 40, comes to Tulane after spending the last three seasons in the same capacity at Fresno State. During his time with the Bulldogs, he coached Jamel Hamler, to second-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors in 2010 after Hamler led the team with 812 yards and six touchdowns. In 2009, Williams led the growth and development of Fresno State's outstanding senior corps, which was led by second-team All-WAC pick Seyi Ajirotutu.
Before that, Williams spent the 2008 season with the San Diego Chargers in a minority internship coaching position.
In 2001, Williams began a four-year stint as the receivers coach for San Jose State under head coach Fitz Hill, where he tutored four Spartans who ranked among the SJSU record books for most career receiving yards. Under Williams' tutelage, Edell Shepherd set the Spartan's single season record for receiving yards (1,500) and touchdowns (14), both in 2001.
Lichtenberger is in his fifth season on the Green Wave staff, while Rollins is in his fourth season with the program.