Rick Stockstill, a two-time Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year recipient, has elevated the Blue Raider program both on and off the field during his six seasons at the helm. During his short tenure, the Blue Raiders have captured a league title, won the 2009 New Orleans Bowl, made three bowl games in six years, earned two public recognition awards from the NCAA for APR success, appeared on national television a record and Sun Belt Conference-best 18 times, and produced six of the top eight crowds in Floyd Stadium history.
In 2010, Stockstill’s team battled back from a tough start and came up with clutch plays down the stretch to make back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history. The coach also had an Academic All-American in Jeremy Kellem, the SBC Defensive Player of the Year in Jamari Lattimore, and a total of nine players who were recognized on the All-Conference team. Cornerback Rod Issac was also taken in the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The 2009 season was one for the record books as that squad accomplished what few believed possible with an FBS-record 10 wins, a final ranking of 33rd nationally in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, a bowl victory, a seven-game winning streak, the most Sun Belt victories in school history, five road victories, and a second straight undefeated month of November. It all resulted in Stockstill being named Sun Belt Conference Co-Coach of the Year and 11 players earning All-Conference honors, including co-Defensive Player of the Year Chris McCoy, who was taken in the 7th round of the NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. To top things off, quarterback Dwight Dasher earned New Orleans Bowl MVP honors and became just the fourth player in NCAA history to pass for more than 2,500 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season.
Stockstill has also shown a commitment to academics during his tenure. The Blue Raiders have gone from an APR score of 892 to a very impressive 983, the biggest increase of any program in the country. The Blue Raiders have also been crowned with the Sun Belt Conference Academic Award on two occasions (2006-07, 2007-08). For his efforts, Stockstill was inducted as an honorary member into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society in April 2010.
After 24 years as an assistant, Stockstill was given the chance to run his own program, and all he did was lead the Blue Raiders to a 2006 Sun Belt Conference championship, help set a new single-season attendance record, and take the program to its first postseason bowl game in the I-A era. Taking a Middle Tennessee team predicted to finish sixth in the Sun Belt during the preseason to a league title, Stockstill ended up as the 2006 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year and the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year while also garnering that honor from ESPN.com.
Stockstill’s teams have amassed the top four tackles for loss and quarterback sack totals in school history and have produced the Sun Belt’s top touchdown scorer twice. Individual players have 39 All-Conference honors and two Player of the Year Awards, and there have been three different National Player of the Week winners.
The Blue Raiders have won 26 of 44 conference games since 2006 and pulled upsets of ACC member Maryland in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, defensive end Erik Walden was taken in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, and offensive lineman Franklin Dunbar and defensive lineman Trevor Jenkins signed as free agents with the Philadelphia Eagles.
During the 2006 championship run, Stockstill and his staff developed an All-American, 11 All-Conference players, 11 SBC Player of the Week winners, a consensus National Defensive Player of the Week (Damon Nickson won the Walter Camp and the Bronco Nagurski awards), and the school’s all-time sacks leader (Erik Walden). Much of the team’s success was attributed to their play on the road that year; the Blue Raiders won four conference road games. Only 10 other teams nationally could stake that claim.
Along with his extensive background in collegiate coaching circles, the driven and determined Stockstill has had the advantage of working alongside some of the greatest minds in college football history.
Stockstill, who made his way to Murfreesboro after spending the previous two years at South Carolina, has worked with legendary coaches Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier, Danny Ford, Tommy Bowden, Ken Hatfield, and Tommy West.
Stockstill demonstrated the ability to develop and coach big-time players throughout his career as an assistant. He joined the Gamecock staff in December 2003 and immediately made an impact in recruiting. Stockstill coached the Gamecock tight ends and served as recruiting coordinator in 2005 and was the wide receivers coach in 2004.
Before joining Holtz’s staff at South Carolina, Stockstill was the offensive coordinator at East Carolina in 2003.
In his first year at South Carolina, Stockstill coached Troy Williamson to one of the best seasons ever for a Gamecock receiver. Williamson made 43 receptions for 835 yards (75.9 per game average) and seven touchdowns. Williamson’s 835 receiving yards put him among the single-season leaders at USC, along with his seven touchdowns. Williamson was taken as the seventh pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
In addition to his on-field coaching at Carolina, Stockstill coordinated the signing of a top-20 recruiting class for the Gamecocks in his first season and was recognized as one of the top 25 recruiters in the nation by Rivals.com.
From 1989 to 2002, Stockstill was on the coaching staff at Clemson, where he helped lead the Tigers to some of their most proficient offensive performances in school history. He served in a variety of capacities during his tenure with Clemson, working as recruiting coordinator, wide receivers coach, co-offensive coordinator, passing game coordinator, and quarterbacks coach. One of his prize pupils was All-America wide receiver Rod Gardner, who was the number 15 pick of the 2001 NFL Draft. Stockstill played an integral role in Clemson’s offense, which set more than 100 school records from 1998 to 2002.
Stockstill is credited with recruiting Clemson’s all-time leading rusher (Raymond Priester), second all-time leading passer (Woodrow Dantzler), and second all-time leading receivers (Derrick Hamilton and Rod Gardner). As a coach, Stockstill has been a part of 15 bowl games, including three as a head coach.
Stockstill also has coaching experience at the University of Central Florida (1985-88), where he tutored wide receiver Shawn Jefferson, who went on to a 13-year career in the NFL, and at Bethune-Cookman College (1983-84).
Born Dec. 23, 1957 in Sidney, Ohio, Stockstill grew up in Georgetown, Ky., and then moved to Fernandina Beach, Fla., where he was inducted into the Fernandina Beach Hall of Fame in 2006. He was a three-year letterman at Florida State as a quarterback, where he was team captain and earned Honorable Mention All-America honors in 1981 under Coach Bobby Bowden. During his career at FSU, the Seminoles had two top-10 final Associated Press rankings and had wins over powers Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, and Nebraska. Stockstill, who received his bachelor’s degree from FSU in 1982, made three bowl trips with the Seminoles.
Stockstill and his wife, the former Sara Fleischman, have a son, Brent, and a daughter, Emily.
THE STOCKSTILL FILE
Season as Head Coach: 7th
Record at MT/Overall: 35-40/35-40
Date Hired: December 12, 2005
Birthdate: December 23, 1957
Hometown: Fernandina Beach, FL
Spouse: the former Sara Fleischman
Children: Brent and Emily
Parents: Joel Stockstill and Kris Stockstill
High School: Fernandina Beach, 1977
College: Florida State, B.S. Physical Ed., 1982
Quarterback at Florida State, 1977-82 (honorable mention All-American; played in three bowl games and the East-West Shrine Bowl and the Japan Bowl)
1983-84: Bethune-Cookman (Off. Coord./QB)
1985-88: UCF (Asst. Head Coach/WR)
1989-92: Clemson (Quarterbacks)
1993: Clemson (QBs/Passing Game Coordinator)
1994-95: Clemson (Co-Offensive Coord./WR)
1996-98: Clemson (Wide Receivers)
1999-2002: Clemson (WR/Recruiting Coord.)
2003: East Carolina (Offensive Coordinator/QB)
2004: South Carolina (WR/Recruiting Coord.)
2005: South Carolina (TE/Recruiting Coord.)
2006-Present: MT (Head Coach)
2004: Named a Top 25 recruiter by Rivals.com
2006: Named Sun Belt Conference Coach of Year
2006: Named TSWA Coach of Year
2006: ESPN.com’s Sun Belt Coach of Year
2009: Named Sun Belt Conference Co-Coach of Year
2009: Named TSWA Coach of Year
Has coached or played under the likes of Bobby Bowden, Tommy Bowden, Danny Ford, Ken Hatfield, Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier, Tommy West, and NFL Hall of Famer Larry Little ... In 2009, MT became the first SBC team to ever win 10 games.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS UNDER STOCKSTILL
2011 - New single-game home attendance record set against Georgia Tech
2010 - Led team to GoDaddy.com Bowl for third bowl under Stockstill
2010 - Coached school’s third Academic All-American (Jeremy Kellem)
2010 - Coached the SBC Defensive Player of the Year (Jamari Lattimore)
2010 - Inducted as honorary member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
2009 Sun Belt Conference Co-Coach of the Year
2009 TSWA Coach of the Year
2009 team became first in Sun Belt history to win 10 games
2009 - Led team to New Orleans Bowl Championship
2009 - Team had school-record 7 Sun Belt Conference wins
2009 - Coached the SBC Defensive Player of the Year (Chris McCoy)
2009 - Coached the New Orleans Bowl MVP (Dwight Dasher)
2009 - Team set new single-season records in quarterback sacks and tackles for loss
2008 - Set new single-season Floyd Stadium attendance record
2008 - Coached a Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week winner
2008 - Quarterback was given the National ESPN Helmet Sticker Award
2006 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year (first conference COY at MT since 1989)
2006 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year by ESPN.com
2006 TSWA Coach of the Year
2006 Rutherford County Reader Gridiron Glacier Award
2007, 2008 and 2010 Intercultural and Diversity Coach of the Year
2006 Sun Belt Conference Championship
2006 - Led school to first-ever bowl game in the I-A era (Motor City)
2006 - One of just 10 teams in the country to win four road conference games
2006 - Coached a Walter Camp and Bronco Nagurski National Player of the Week winner
2006 - Seven wins were most by a first-year coach at MTSU since 1947
2006- Coached the ESPN.com SBC Defensive Player of the Year
2006 - Set new single-season attendance record
Improved team’s APR dramatically from 892 to 990
Team won 2006-07 and 2007-08 Sun Belt Conference Academic Award
22 First Team All-Conference selections in six years
A record-tying 11 SBC Player of the Week winners in 2006 and 43 during his tenure
A school-record 18 national television games during his tenure
Three NFL Draft picks as head coach (2008, 2010, 2011)