Former Ohio State running back and current Tennessee State head coach Eddie George officially announced this week the hiring of former Buckeyes Pepe Pearson and Richard McNutt to his inaugural coaching staff as running backs and defensive backs coach, respectively.
“I couldn’t be more excited to get started coaching our student-athletes with this staff of exceptional men,” George said. “These men are all great football coaches, but they are even better men. We really took our time to make sure each one of these coaches was the right fit for our program."
Pearson played alongside George, who was named the Tigers’ head coach in April, for two seasons (1994-95) in Columbus. He rushed for 1,484 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior and led Ohio State to a Big Ten title and a victory over Arizona State in the 1997 Rose Bowl.
After signing an undrafted free-agent deal with the San Francisco 49ers in 1998, Pearson spent three years in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also played for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL and the Dayton Warbirds of the National Indoor Football League.
Pearson was named the running backs and special teams coach at Ohio Dominican in 2004 and spent 11 seasons with the Panthers before he was hired by former Buckeyes safety and then-Youngstown State head coach Bo Pelini to be the running backs coach for the Penguins. He was named to the same position at Marshall one year later and spent the last five seasons with the Thundering Herd.
McNutt, meanwhile, played cornerback and was a special teams standout at Ohio State. He played in every game for the Buckeyes from 2000-01 and started the first six games in 2002 national championship season before suffering a career-ending ankle injury.
Unable to play his senior season, McNutt became a student assistant coach for the 2003 season. He assisted the former head coach Jim Tressel with the cornerbacks and special teams units as the Buckeyes won their second straight Fiesta Bowl while earning his degree in human ecology.
Most recently the defensive backs coach, academic coordinator and passing game coordinator at Southeastern, McNutt was also an assistant defensive backs coach with the Cleveland Browns in 2008 and cornerbacks coach at Kent State from 2009-10, Northern Illinois from 2011-12, North Carolina State in 2013, North Carolina Wesleyan in 2014 and Youngstown State from 2015-19.
Pearson and McNutt now join as staff that includes former NFL head coach Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator and Brandon Fisher, the son of former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, as defensive coordinator.
“Make no mistake, we expect to win football games at Tennessee State University, but our ultimate goal is to prepare our current and future student-athletes for life,” George said. “I’m looking forward to the impact our coaches will have on Tennessee State University and the Nashville community.”
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