Stockstill tapped as MTSU coach


Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 at 12:58 a.m.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Rick Stockstill was hired Monday as head football coach at Middle Tennessee.
Stockstill was the recruiting coordinator under Steve Spurrier this year at South Carolina.
''I have a plan for success and am well prepared for this job,'' Stockstill said after being introduced as coach of the Division 1-A Blue Raiders. ''I understand the challenges that await and I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.''
Alabama-Birmingham assistant coach Pat Sullivan and Auburn assistant Eddie Gran were the other finalists for the job. Speculation in several newspapers had Florida co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong as a candidate, but Strong told The Sun again on Monday that he was never a candidate and not interested in the job.
Over the past six years, Stockstill has recruited 16 players later drafted or signed as free agents in the NFL. He was at South Carolina the last two years, helped sign a top-20 recruiting class and was recognized among the top-25 recruiters in the country by Rivals.com.
He also coached receivers in 2004, and spent this season coaching tight ends for Spurrier. Spurrier now has two openings on his staff after firing Madre Hill as running backs coach.
Spurrier also picked up a major commitment from quarterback Chris Smelley of Tuscaloosa, Ala. Smelley visited Louisville this past weekend and had offers from LSU, Tulane, Memphis, Mississippi, Tennessee, Oregon and N.C. State.
Stockstill was at Clemson between 1989 and 2002, and was offensive coordinator for East Carolina in 2003. He also was at Central Florida from 1985 to 1988.
Stockstill replaces Andy McCollum, fired Nov. 21 near the end of his seventh season. McCollum went 34-45 and oversaw the Blue Raiders' move to Division I-A.
One former Florida player and coach who could become a member of Stockstill's staff is Jimmy Ray Stephens. Stephens, who was let go by Tennessee following a 5-6 season, could be hired as offensive line coach soon.

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