Like Father, Like Son

For U of L assistant coach Joe Whitt Jr. coaching runs in the family. The third year Louisville assistant was visited by his father and longtime Auburn assistant Joe Whitt Sr during the Cardinals spring camp.

Dreams often have multiple twists and turns and for Louisville assistant coach Joe Whitt Jr, the dream of playing in the NFL has changed into a strong desire to become a head coach on the collegiate level.

Whitt chose to walk-on at Auburn following his high school days at Auburn High School, where he quickly earned a scholarship as a Tiger receiver. Following three shoulder surgeries and reconstructive knee surgery, Whitt was forced to the sidelines and became a graduate assistant for two seasons at Auburn.

However, his coaching career didn't begin there. It began years before. It began when he went along with his father, Joe Whitt Sr., on recruiting trips. The elder Whitt, who joined the Auburn staff in 1981, says that as a child, his son was often by his side.

"He followed me around everywhere," explained Whitt Sr. "Back in the early days, I'd go on the road recruiting and I would take him. It was an opportunity to spend some time before he started with school. He was real little when we did that. He hadn't even started in the first grade yet."

Whitt took what he had learned from those early days and shined during his first season as a full-time assistant when he joined the staff at The Citadel in 2002 as the receivers coach. Under the guidance of Whitt Jr., the receivers at The Citadel all posted career-highs during Whitt's initial season, helping the team offense to improve dramtically.

Whitt instructs redshirt freshman and fellow
Alabama native Marcus Folmar
A job offer from Bobby Petrino to join his new staff at the University of Louisville as cornerbacks coach and recruiting coordinator just months later has provided a larger stage for the younger Whitt to shine. Under the direction of Whitt, the play of the Cardinals corners has improved each season and U of L's recruiting efforts have reached new highs with each passing week.

However, his father was quick to credit the many coaches that his son has worked with and spent time around over the years for his son's success.

"He has great coaching skills already and he's still learning," said Whitt Sr. "It's from being around a lot of great coaches and not just from me. He has been around a lot of coaches all his life and I certainly hope that I shared some things with him, but he's learned from a lot of people. He's still learning from the guys he's coaching around here at Louisville."

For Whitt Sr., his son's presence on Petrino's staff also means that they now compete against each other on the recruiting trail's of Alabama. However, he's not ready to give his son a helping hand just yet.

"It's like recruiting against anybody else," he said. "I work for Auburn and he works for Louisville and he's doing a great job."

Despite the possibility of losing out on a recruit to his son, Whitt Sr. couldn't be happier for the success that his son is finding at Louisville.

"I think he's doing a great job," he said. "There's nobody greater than my son and there is nothing that I care about than him."

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