New Tulane football coach Willie Fritz is hiring another connection from his past, while the Green Wave’s last coaching tie to Curtis Johnson has been severed.
Defensive backs coach Jason Rollins, the only Johnson assistant Fritz retained when he was hired in December, confirmed Wednesday night he was leaving to join the staff of new University of Texas at San Antonio coach Frank Wilson as assistant head coach/secondary coach, a move he said was too good to pass up.
Rollins already has been deleted from the staff directory on Tulane’s official website, with the secondary coach listed as TBA.
Meanwhile, a source close to the program said Fritz’ wide receivers coach will be Jeff Conway, who worked with him for 12 years at Blinn College, Central Missouri and Sam Houston State. Tulane has not made an official announcement because of paperwork concerns.
Rollins, a Lake Charles native and McNeese State graduate, started at Tulane in 2008 in long stint that spanned three head coaches — the last three years of Bob Toledo, all four years of Johnson and a month under Fritz.
This past season, Rollins was promoted to co-defensive coordinator to go along with his role as recruiting coordinator. Although Tulane’s defense ranked 80th in yards allowed, it received zero help from an anemic offense, and former co-defensive coordinator Lionel Washington credited Rollins’ option-specific scheme for holding Navy to its lowest rushing total of the season.
The 2016 recruiting class Rollins oversaw under Johnson has been decimated since Fritz’s arrival. Only five of those commitments remain, largely because of mutual agreement.
Wilson was the running backs coach at LSU the past six years before taking the UTSA job, and his staff is Louisiana-heavy. UTSA already announced the hiring of Hammond native and former Southeastern Louisiana defensive coordinator Pete Golding as defensive coordinator and New Orleans native Ricky Brumfield as cornerbacks coach.
The addition of Conway gives Fritz six assistants who worked with him at either Georgia Southern or Sam Houston State. He also has brought two more Georgia Southern assistants and assigned them to administrative roles, with wide receivers coach Matt Barrett becoming an offensive analyst and defensive ends coach Johnny Jernigan becoming a defensive analyst.
Texas State went 20-28 in Conway’s four seasons, the school’s first four years as an FBS member. He was the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach at Sam Houston State in 2011 and 2012, the associate head coach and wide receivers coach at Central Missouri from 2005 through 2010 and the offensive coordinator at Blinn College from 1993 to 1996, all under Fritz.