NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State University Athletics Director Teresa Phillips today (Tuesday) announced James Webster Jr. as the Tigers' new head football coach. The formal announcement comes after the Tennessee State Board of Regents approval of Webster's appointment.
"This was a challenging search," said Phillips. "When we looked at candidates to head our football program here at TSU we wanted to make sure that we got the best total package. Coach Webster defines the total package- leadership, experience and passion."
Coach Webster's addition begins a new chapter in the proud history of the TSU Tigers football program. The Tigers earned back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference championships in 1998 and 1999, and were ranked in first place in the NCAA Division I-AA at the end of the regular season in 1999. TSU's football team has also won several National Black College Championships, the most recent in 1982.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to be the head coach at a university that has a great winning tradition," said Webster.
Coach Webster comes to TSU with more than 30 years of football coaching experience. He served the last four seasons on the coaching staff at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina. Webster was the assistant head coach and special teams coordinator at UNC. He had previously coached the team's defensive ends.
Webster began his college football career as a player at North Carolina in 1968. He started at linebacker for three consecutive seasons. Webster was a standout defensive player for the UNC Tar Heels, and was named Most Valuable Defensive Player in the 1971 Gator Bowl. The following year, he received the ACC's Brian Piccolo Award and the Frank Porter Graham Award as one of the top 12 seniors at UNC. He graduated from UNC in 1972, with a bachelor's degree in education.
Webster began his coaching career in 1973 at North Carolina. He worked with the junior varsity program under former head coach Bill Dooley. Webster has also coached linebackers at Dartmouth (1993-95), defensive ends at Wake Forest (1988-93), and defensive backs at Northwestern (1982-84). He also served on the coaching staffs at Florida (1974-75), Kansas (1975-78) and Colorado (1978-81).
Webster has also worked with professional football teams. He won a minority coaching fellowship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1995, and another with the St. Louis Rams in 1999.
Prior to returning to UNC, Webster spent six seasons on the coaching staff at East Carolina. He served as outside linebacker coach from 1995-1998, and was in charge of the defensive line from 1999-2000. Webster was promoted to assistant head coach of the Pirates in 1998.
In his first season back in Chapel Hill, Webster had an immediate impact on the defense. Carolina led the ACC and was ranked 15th in the nation in total defense in 2001. Under Webster's guidance, defensive end Julius Peppers won both the 2001 Lombardi and Bednarik Awards, becoming the first Tar Heel to ever win a major college football award. Peppers became just the second Carolina player to earn consensus All-America honors. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers as the Number 2 overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft.
Coach Webster and his wife, Cornelia, have one son, Kali, and two grandsons, Tajae and Xavier.
JAMES WEBSTER, JR.
* Born: August 27, 1950
* Education: University of North Carolina, 1972
* Playing experience: North Carolina, 1968-72
* Coaching experience: North Carolina (1973), Florida (1974), Kansas (1975-78), Colorado (1978-81), Northwestern (1982-84), Wake Forest (1988-93), Dartmouth (1993-95), East Carolina (1995-2000), North Carolina (2000-04)
* Bowl experience: 1974 Sugar Bowl, 1976 Sun Bowl, 1988 Independence Bowl, 1998 Liberty Bowl, 1999 Mobile Bowl, 2001 Peach Bowl, 2004 Continental Tire Bowl
* NFL players coached: Mike McCrary, Julius Peppers, Joey Evans
* Family: Wife Cornelia, son Kali (age 25)
* Other notes: Tar Heels' Most Valuable Defensive Player in the Gator Bowl
Won the ACC's Brian Piccolo Award
Coached first-round NFL draft pick Julius Peppers