Former University of Memphis running back Larry Porter is returning to his alma mater after being named the school's 22nd head football coach as announced to media and fans at the Mike Rose Theatre on the U of M campus Sunday afternoon. Porter played for the Tigers in the 1990s and received his degree from the U of M in 1996.
"I am pleased to announce the hiring of Larry Porter as the head football coach at the University of Memphis," said Athletic Director R.C. Johnson. "Throughout his career as a coach, Larry has worked with some of the most outstanding programs and coaches in collegiate football, and has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience that he now brings to the Tiger program."
"Among his many accolades as a coach, he has twice been named the National Recruiter of the Year in college football, and that was certainly an area that I emphasized in the search for a new head coach," added Johnson. "Not only have we hired a coach, who is recognized nationally by his peers, but we have hired one of our own, a graduate of the University of Memphis who helped lay the foundation of Tiger Football."
A native of Jackson, Miss., Porter is returning to Memphis after spending the last five years on the LSU coaching staff. He had also worked three years with LSU coach Les Miles at Oklahoma State before joining Miles in Baton Rouge in 2005. He coached LSU running backs while also holding two key roles on staff - assistant head coach and chief recruiter. Porter was elevated to the position of assistant head coach during the spring of 2006. He has twice (2007 and 2009) been named as the National Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com making him one of the top all-around assistant coaches in college football.
"I am very proud to be back at my university as the head coach of the Tiger Football team," said Porter. "I look forward to putting a product on the field that the people of Memphis will support and be very excited about."
As LSU's running backs coach, Porter helped developed some of the finest players at that position in LSU's history. From 2005-08, LSU produced a 1,000-yard rusher twice - Jacob Hester 1,103 yards in 2007 and Charles Scott 1,174 yards in 2008 - as well as having two players (Hester and Joseph Addai) selected in the NFL Draft.
In three of the last four seasons (2006-09 included), the LSU rushing unit has averaged over 165 yards a game, including a high of 214 yards per game in 2007. That squad closed out the season ranked 11th nationally in rushing. From 2005-08, the Tigers totaled 108 rushing touchdowns, including 35 in 2007.
At Oklahoma State, Porter's stable of running backs continued the tradition of "Tailback U.", as he coached 1,000-yard rushers for three straight seasons. In 2004, Vernand Morency earned second-team All-Big 12 honors after rushing for 1,474 yards, which ranked eighth in the nation, and 12 touchdowns. Morency was a third round pick of the Houston Texans in 2005.
A year earlier, Tatum Bell earned first-team All-Big 12 honors with 1,286 yards and 16 touchdowns. Bell and Morency combined for 2,204 yards and 24 TDs for the Cowboys in 2003. Bell then went on to become a second round draft pick by the Denver Broncos in the 2004 NFL Draft. In his first season at OSU, Porter guided Bell to a 1,096-yard, 11-TD season for 8-5 Oklahoma State.
Prior to his arrival in Stillwater, Porter spent three years at Arkansas State, where he coached Jonathan Adams to back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Adams rushed for 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in 2000 and followed that with another 1,004 yards and five scores in 2001. Under Porter's tutelage, Adams capped his career as the second-leading rusher in Arkansas State history.
Porter began his coaching career at Wooddale High School in Memphis, Tenn., serving as head track and field coach, while assisting with the running backs and secondary on the football squad. After two years at Wooddale, Porter moved to the collegiate ranks, coaching the running backs at Tennessee-Martin in 1998.
Porter lettered four years (1990-93) at Memphis, serving as co-captain of the 1993 Tiger squad. He closed out his career with 2,194 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns, ranking seventh in school history in yardage and tied for fifth in touchdowns. As a rookie in 1990, Porter rushed for 206 yards against Arkansas State, the highest single-game total for a freshman in school history. In his first game, he replaced injured starting tailback Marvin Cox and raced 53 yards for a touchdown against Arkansas State on his first college carry. Porter had a total of six 100-yard games during his career, a figure that ranks tied for fifth in Memphis history. Porter graduated in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in education.
Porter and his wife Sharmane have three children, Brandon, Omari and Olivia.
The Porter File
Birthdate: April 28, 1972, in Jackson, Miss.
Children: Brandon, Omari, Olivia
High School: Columbus (Ga.)
College: Memphis, '96
1990-93 Memphis (running back)
1998 Tennessee-Martin (running backs)
1999-2001 Arkansas State (running backs)
2002-2004 Oklahoma State (running backs)
2005-09 LSU (running backs; assistant head coach, 2006)
As a coach
2002 Houston Bowl (Oklahoma State def. Southern Miss, 33-23)
2004 Cotton Bowl (Oklahoma State lost to Ole Miss, 31-28)
2004 Alamo Bowl (Oklahoma State lost to Ohio State, 33-7)
2005 Peach Bowl (LSU def. Miami, 40-3)
2007 Sugar Bowl (LSU def. Notre Dame, 41-14)
2008 BCS National Championship Game (LSU def. Ohio State, 38-24)
2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl (LSU def. Georgia Tech, 38-3)