Another Former Tiger Star Joining Chizik

An Auburn football report features an update on Gene Chizik's lastest hire for his coaching staff.

Auburn, Ala.--Tracy Rocker will join James Willis and become the second former Tiger star on Gene Chizik's new Auburn University football coaching staff.

Rocker was defensive line coach at Ole Miss for Coach Houston Nutt's Rebels this past year. Chizik asked Nutt for permission to talk to the Ole Miss assistant and Rocker, who said yes, will receive and deal worth around $350,000 a year, sources say to return to AU.

Chizik confirmed the hire late on Monday afternoon and said, "It's a tremendous privilege to be able to add to our staff one of the greatest players to ever wear an Auburn uniform.

"Tracy's ability as an All-American player and his reputation nationally as a defensive line coach will provide instant credibility to our players and recruits."

Rocker had these comments on Monday. "I'm glad to be welcomed back to Auburn, where I have a lot of fond memories and had many great experiences," Rocker said. "There are three things that I've learned you need to be successful in football, and those are hard work, patience and team work. I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead and working for Coach Chizik and the entire staff."

Rocker will become the seventh full-time, on-the-field assistant coach hired by Chizik, who will hire nine guys.

Tracy Rocker is shown as an Auburn All-American.

The group of staff members includes Willis, a standout linebacker for the Tigers in the early 1990s, who is the only on-the-field coach Chizik has hired from the old Auburn staff. Willis coached Tiger linebackers the past three seasons for former AU head coach Tommy Tuberville.

Neither Chizik nor his new defensive coordinator Ted Roof, who made the move to Auburn from the University of Minnesota last week, have said what position Willis will coach although he is expected to handle the linebackers.

Chizik has been recruiting with assistance from three other staff members--Phillip Lolley, Joe Whitt and Jimmy Perry, who are helping out until the full-time assistants are hired. Perry is director of football operations, Lolley is director of NFL relations for the Tigers and Whitt is a fundraiser with Tigers Unlimited who retired from coaching in 2005 after 25 years as an assistant coach for the Tigers.

Other assistants Chizik has brought in to coach include Tulsa offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Gus Malzahn, who will handle those same assignments for the Tigers.

Joining Malzahn on the offensive staff are a pair of coaches who made the move from Oklahoma State. Curtis Luper is AU's new running backs coach and soon after Luper was hired Trooper Taylor joined Luper and he will coach wide receivers and has the title of assistant head coach.

Chizik has brought in one of his on-the-field coaches from his Iowa State staff, Jay Boulware, to coordinate the special teams and coach tight ends.

Rocker and his wife, Lalitha, have a nine-year-old son named Kumar.
Rocker, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame by the National Football Foundation in December 2004, has spent the past six years coaching with Nutt. Five of those seasons were at the University of Arkansas.

A winner of the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award as the nation's top college football lineman as a senior in 1988, Rocker became the first SEC player to win both awards in the same season.

Tracy Rocker

A three-time All-SEC defensive lineman and a fan favorite at Jordan-Hare Stadium, he finished his college career with 354 tackles and 21 quarterback sacks while playing for SEC Championship teams his junior and senior seasons.

He played two seasons for the Washington Redskins and made the NFL All-Rookie Team in 1990. He retired from competition after playing one season with the Orlando Thunder of the World Football League.

He then returned to AU to finish his degree, which he earned in 1992. He also began coaching at Auburn High School where he spent two seasons as defensive coordinator before moving to the college ranks as a defensive line coach from 1994-96 at West Alabama.

Rocker moved to Troy for five seasons where he coached 13 all-conference players before moving to Cincinnati for the 2002 season as he helped the Bearcats tie for he Conference USA title. Five of his players at Troy signed with NFL teams. One of Rocker's pupils at Troy, Al Lucas, received the 1999 Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in Division I-AA.

He was hired by Nutt in 2003 to coach at Arkansas where he stayed until making the move with the head coach to Ole Miss for the 2008 season. Two of his players at Ole Miss earned all-league status this past season with Peria Jerry a first team selection by the league's coaches and Greg Hardy a second team pick.

At Arkansas, one of his players, Jamaal Anderson, finished third nationally in sacks in 2006. He was drafted by the NFL in 2007 as was another of Rocker's players, Keith Jackson. Defensive end Jeb Huckeba earned All-SEC honors playing for Rocker in Fayetteville.

Rocker, who interned with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts in 2001 and the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2006, is originally from Atlanta. His brother, David, was also a standout defensive lineman for the Tigers.



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