Wilson takes over as McNeese football coach

Published 9:31 am Monday, January 20, 2020


LAKE CHARLES – McNeese officially announced new football head coach Frank Wilson to a packed Buttross-Doyle End Zone Club Room on Friday as he becomes the first African-American head football coach in school history and the second in the history of the Southland Conference.

Wilson was named the program’s 17th head coach on Thursday morning.

“This is an exciting day for McNeese football, the athletic department, the university and the community,” said director of athletics Bruce Hemphill. “Coach Wilson is well known around the country as one of the top coaches and recruiters in all of college football, and is highly respected by his coaching peers and players.”

“I am proud and honored to have Frank Wilson join McNeese. He is a man of great character and integrity and he is known for his commitment to his players’ success on the field and in the classroom. Frank embodies our mission of “Changing Lives” and he believes in the values and culture that make McNeese not just a special place, but a great university,” Dr. Daryl Burckel, McNeese president.

The New Orleans native, who is widely considered one of the top recruiters in college football, comes to McNeese after spending the last four seasons as the head coach at UTSA.

Wilson’s debut campaign at UTSA made history as he led the Roadrunners to six wins and the 2016 Gildan New Mexico Bowl to match the NCAA modern startup program record by reaching a bowl game in just their sixth season.

Wilson guided UTSA to bowl eligibility for the second straight season in 2017. The Roadrunners pulled off another program first when they defeated Baylor, 17-10, in the season opener in Waco for UTSA’s first victory against a team from a Power 5 Conference.

During his four years at UTSA, 26 players garnered All-Conference USA, two were named All-Americans, a league Defensive Player of the Year, two Freshman of the Year selections, a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award and the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy.

Prior to being named head coach at UTSA, Wilson served a six-year stint as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at LSU from 2010-15, where he also served as associate head coach for his final four seasons with the Tigers. He also has been an assistant coach at Tennessee (2009), Southern Miss (2008) and Mississippi (2005-07).

While at LSU, he was recognized as the nation’s top assistant coach at his position in 2011. Wilson also was named the 2011 Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com, the 2014 NFL.com Top Recruiter in College Football and the 2015 Scout.com SEC Recruiter of the Year.

As the recruiting coordinator at LSU, Wilson led the Tigers to back-to-back top-five recruiting classes in 2014-15 among five total groups that ranked among the top 10 nationally. He served as the lead recruiter for a long list of prominent players, including Odell Beckham Jr., La’el Collins, Jeremy Hill, Jarvis Landry, Tyrann Mathieu, Zach Mettenberger and the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in 2014 in Leonard Fournette, a 2014 Freshman All-SEC honoree and consensus first team All-American a year later.

Overall, Wilson has coached or recruited 40 individuals who have made it to the NFL. That list includes Davenport, Jordan Moore, Kevin Strong Jr., Dalton Sturm, Josiah Tauaefa and Jarveon Williams from UTSA, Beckham Jr., Collins, Fournette, Hill, Landry, Mathieu and Mettenberger along with Lamin Barrow, Kendell Beckwith, Alfred Blue, Will Clapp, Malachi Dupre, Ego Ferguson, Russell Gage, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Derrius Guice, Jerald Hawkins, Kenny Hilliard, Anthony Johnson, Deion Jones, Arden Key, Kendrick Lewis, Terrance Magee, Ronald Martin, Dexter McCluster, Denarius Moore, Eric Reid, Stevan Ridley, Duke Riley, Trai Turner, Mike Wallace, Spencer Ware and James Wright.

In six seasons at LSU, Wilson developed seven running backs that were selected in the NFL Draft, including first-team All-SEC performers in Fournette, Guice, Hill and Ridley. During his tenure, the Tigers posted a 61-17 overall record, captured the 2011 SEC Championship and appeared in the National Championship Game that same season.

Under his guidance, LSU rushed for at least 200 yards 39 times, including 12 300-yard games. The Tigers also recorded 45 100-yard individual rushing performances and four 1,000-yard individual rushers.

Wilson joined the LSU staff after spending the 2009 season at Tennessee, where he coached the wide receivers under Lane Kiffin.

Prior to joining the Tennessee staff, Wilson spent the 2008 season as the running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Southern Miss under Larry Fedora.

From 2005-07, Wilson served as the running backs/assistant special teams coach at Mississippi, where he recruited prominent future NFL stars Kendrick Lewis and Mike Wallace. He also developed a first-team all-conference running back in Green-Ellis.

Wilson joined the Rebels’ staff after serving one year as director of athletics for the New Orleans Public School System after spending three-and-a-half seasons as head football coach and offensive coordinator at O. Perry Walker High School.

Wilson led O. Perry Walker to two District 10-4A championships and the Louisiana Class 4A State Championship game in 2002. He was honored by the NFL as the 2002 Louisiana Coach of the Year and was voted by his peers as the Louisiana Class 4A Coach of the Year. Wilson also was a finalist for the 2002 Nike National Coach of the Year.

During his head coaching stint at O. Perry Walker, Wilson developed 22 players who earned Division I scholarships, including 11 in 2002 to rank as the nation’s largest high school class of D-I signees. The 2002 team defeated national-power John Curtis Christian School, 20-0, during the regular season, which snapped a 136-game district winning streak for John Curtis and marked the first time that team had failed to score in 303 consecutive games, a national record.

Wilson spent three years as an assistant coach at Edna Karr High School, also in New Orleans, from 1997-2000. He served as offensive coordinator at Edna Karr during the 1999 season in which the team reached the Class 3A state finals and recorded its best statistical season on offense in the program’s history.

Wilson got his start in coaching as a student assistant at his alma mater, Nicholls State University, working with the running backs while he finished his degree. While in Thibodaux, Wilson helped coach the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history and was part of the biggest turnaround in NCAA history at the time for the Colonels, who improved from 0-10 in 1995 to 8-2 in 1996.

A three-year letterman at Nicholls State, Wilson earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a running back his sophomore year.

Wilson attended Geneva University in Beaver Falls, Pa., his freshman season, earning conference Freshman of the Year honors as a running back and kick returner. He also earned first team all-conference honors and was an honorable mention NAIA Division II All-American.

Wilson received his bachelor of arts degree in general education from Nicholls State in 1997.

Wilson and his wife, Tiffany, have three children: Alaina, Sabree and Frank IV.