New Tulane coach Willie Fritz didn’t have to look far for his new coaching staff.
He’s bringing a majority of the staff from his previous job as coach at Georgia Southern, which had an impressive 9–4 record this season and won the GoDaddy Bowl last week with a jaw-dropping 58–27 rout of MAC champion Bowling Green.
Georgia Southern assistant head coach and running backs coach Dell McGee, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Ruse and defensive coordinator and safeties coach Jack Curtis are joining Fritz in the same roles at Tulane, according to a source. So are Eagles offensive line coach Alex Atkins, defensive line coach Kevin Peoples and linebackers coach Michael Mutz, per the source.
Fritz is also retaining Tulane’s Jason Rollins as defensive backs coach, according to the source. He was the Green Wave’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach this past season, his eighth with the program.
McGee served as interim coach for Georgia Southern’s dominant bowl victory. That was the capper to the Eagles making the FBS postseason in their first year of eligibility.
With the help of McGee, Georgia Southern led the FBS in rushing each of the past two seasons. He served as analyst at his alma mater, Auburn, in 2013 and before that was a highly accomplished high school coach Carver High School in Columbus, Ga., where he won a state title in ’07.
An innovative offensive mind, Ruse arrived with Fritz at Georgia Southern in 2014 after implementing his record-breaking offense as coordinator at Sam Houston State for two years. Ruse also led scoreboard-busting attacks as offensive coordinator at Western Illinois (’10–11) and Arkansas State (’02–09).
Curtis had been Georgia Southern’s defensive coordinator since 2011. He has coaching experience in Louisiana from his eight years as an assistant at Northwestern State before leaving to be Arkansas State’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach from ’02–08.
Regarded as one of college football’s best young offensive line coaches, Atkins also arrived at Georgia Southern with Fritz two seasons ago. Atkins has invaluable Southern ties that trace back to playing high school football in Memphis.
Prior to Georgia Southern, he was offensive line coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga for two seasons and also coached the offensive line and was recruiting coordinator at Itawamba Community College in Mississippi from 2010–11.
Peoples had been at Georgia Southern since 2014 and has prior stints as an assistant for Fritz at Blinn College in 1995 and Central Missouri from ’97–98. Peoples was formerly an assistant at Alabama-Birmingham, Arkansas and Arkansas State. Besides at Georgia Southern, he has also worked with Curtis at Arkansas State and Northwestern State.
This past season was Mutz’s second at Georgia Southern. A San Antonio product, he had previously been an assistant for Fritz at Sam Houston State and also had coaching stints at Missouri Southern State and Blinn.
Highly regarded among college football coaches, the savvy 55-year-old Fritz became Tulane’s coach earlier this month after posting a 17–7 record in his two seasons at Georgia Southern. He led the Eagles to the Sun Belt title last season and was the league’s coach of the year.
He has a 193-74-1 career record that also includes stints at Blinn, Central Missouri and Sam Houston State. He won two junior college national titles at Blinn and took Sam Houston State to the FCS title game in 2011 and ’12.
Fritz replaces Curtis Johnson, who in his four seasons at Tulane had a 15–34 record, including a 3–9 mark this season.