LAFAYETTE — For the second time this offseason, a long-tenured assistant on the Louisiana-Lafayette football coaching staff has left the program to accept a similar job in his home state.
Rusty Whitt, who has been part of the program since 2010, will become the strength and conditioning coach at Texas Tech, a source close to the situation said. The move will be announced Monday, the source added.
The Red Raiders’ previous strength and conditioning coach, Chad Dennis, resigned from his position shortly after the new year.
Last month, offensive coordinator Jay Johnson left the Cajuns to take the same job with the University of Minnesota. Johnson grew up roughly 30 miles away from the Gophers’ campus in Minneapolis.
Texas Tech’s campus in Lubbock is not nearly as close to Whitt’s home town of Azle, Texas, which lies just outside the Fort Worth metropolitan area. But he has had a strong connection to the Lone Star state throughout his career.
He earned his undergraduate degree at Abilene Christian, where he played football, and received his graduate degree from Texas. He had previous stops at Sam Houston State and Rice, the latter being his last coaching stop before he came to the Cajuns.
Whitt was a popular member of the Cajuns coaching staff who made a name for himself with some training techniques culled from his time spent in the Army.
He’s an Army special forces veteran who deployed twice to Iraq and was awarded the Army commendation medal with “V” device for valor. Whitt incorporated some of his special forces training into his workouts for the Cajuns players, most notably when they “protected the house.”
Those training sessions were often done early in the morning and emphasized teamwork. Sometimes, players would run up and down the steps at Cajun Field while wearing gas masks.
Whitt’s departure means the Cajuns have two empty positions on their coaching staff. Head coach Mark Hudspeth said recently in a radio interview that he had interviewed two candidates for his open offensive coordinator position.
He said in the radio interview that he’s not expecting to reach a decision on the new offensive coordinator until after he attended this week’s American Football Coaches Association convention in San Antonio.