Russell was a key member of the Quakes squad that won two MLS Cup titles in 2001 and '03. He rejoins former coach Frank Yallop on the coaching staff of the new San Jose expansion team that will begin play next season.
The 32-year-old Russell played six seasons in San Jose before being released in '05. He attempted a brief comeback with the the Los Angeles Galaxy this past season under Yallop, but lasted only three games before retiring. During his MLS career, Russell scored five goals and dished out 20 assists.
The hire is the new club's latest of former Earthquakes players and staffers. In last week's Expansion Draft, the team selected defender Ryan Cochrane, who played two seasons in San Jose and moved with the prior Quakes to Houston in '05.
Yallop was rehired as head coach earlier this month after the Quakes were able to negotiate him out of his contract with the Galaxy. John Doyle, another former Earthquakes defender, is the team's general manager.
The club is also reportedly trying to bring another former fan favorite, Ramiro Corrales, home from Norwegian club Brann and may explore acquiring California natives Danny Califf and Kamani Hill, who currently play in Europe.