Croom Settles Staff

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State head football coach Sylvester Croom announced Thursday the promotion of Rockey Felker and the addition of David Turner to the Bulldog coaching staff. The hiring requires approval by the Mississippi Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning.

While announcing the additions, Croom also made on-field staff assignments Thursday.

Felker will coach the Bulldog running backs and serve as the staff recruiting coordinator. He previously served as the coordinator of football operations. Turner will coach the MSU defensive line.

Charlie Harbison and Pat Washington, who Croom hired this past January, will tutor the safeties and wide receivers, respectively.

Melvin Smith, who served on Croom's staff for the first time in 2006, will concentrate on the cornerbacks. Reed Stringer, who has coached the tight ends for the Bulldogs since 2005, will add special team's responsibilities to his resume.

Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson will now handle all the linebackers, while offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey will continue to work with the quarterbacks.

Brad Pendergrass, who previously held the title assistant to the head coach, will serve as coordinator of football operations, while Ryan Hollern will continue as coordinator of recruiting operations.

Felker returns to the on-field coaching staff after five years in State's football office administration. He was retained by Croom in 2004 as the staff's coordinator of football operations and the former Bulldog player and head coach has served in that capacity until his most recent appointment. When Felker was initially hired in the spring of 2002, it was indeed a sweet homecoming for one of the school's most loved personalities.

Felker, 54, was the nation's youngest collegiate head coach when he was selected to guide the MSU football program in 1986. He directed the Bulldogs to a 6-5 mark in his first season at the helm, the school's first winning season in five years. Felker's team won road games at Syracuse and at defending Southeastern Conference champion Tennessee during that '86 season, and he became the first State head football coach to post a winning record in his initial season since the legendary Darrell Royal in 1954. Felker served as State's head football coach through the 1990 season.

He came back to State as the school's head coach following 11 years as an assistant coach on the collegiate level. Immediately prior to rejoining the MSU program, he was an assistant at Alabama from 1983-85. He served as the Crimson Tide receivers coach in 1983-84 and the offensive backfield coach in ‘85. During his stay in Tuscaloosa, he helped Alabama to postseason bowl wins over Southern Methodist ('83 Sun Bowl) and Southern California ('85 Aloha Bowl).

Prior to returning to the SEC, Felker worked two years each at Texas Tech (1979-80) and Memphis State (1981-82) under the guidance of the late head coach Rex Dockery.

Felker began his coaching career at Mississippi State following his playing days, working for head coach Bob Tyler. He worked with the junior varsity (1975) and the varsity receivers, quarterbacks and running backs (1976-78).

A native of Jackson, Tenn., Felker was a five-sport letterman at Brownsville (Tenn.) High School, earning all-state honors in football under the tutelage of his father, Edwin "Babe" Felker, an assistant coach at the school.

Felker's first association with Mississippi State came in December 1970, when he signed a football scholarship to play quarterback for the Bulldogs. After playing one year of freshman ball, he was under center for most of the next three seasons. In 1974, Felker led MSU to a 9-3 overall record, leading the SEC in total offense and directing the Bulldogs to a win over North Carolina in the Sun Bowl. He was named the Nashville Banner SEC Player of the Year and the Birmingham Post-Herald Outstanding Senior Player for his stellar final season.

Following his five years as head coach at MSU, Felker worked nine more years as an assistant coach. He had two terms as the offensive coordinator at the University of Tulsa (1991-92 and 1997-99) and spent four years on the coaching staff at the University of Arkansas, working three seasons (1994-96) as the school's offensive coordinator.

He helped Tulsa to a 10-2 record in 1991, coaching the quarterbacks and wide receivers. That Golden Hurricane team defeated San Diego State in the Freedom Bowl during that season. He also tutored the running backs during his stay at the Western Athletic Conference school.

While at Arkansas, Felker coached the running backs in 1993, then tutored the quarterbacks the next three years. He helped the Razorbacks win the SEC Western Division title and earn a berth in the '95 SEC Championship Game. The Razorbacks concluded that season with a bid to the Carquest Bowl in Miami, Fla.

Felker is married to the former Susan Tingle and they have three sons, Jay, David and Stephen.

Turner joins the MState staff after one season at the University of Alabama. He coached the Crimson Tide defensive ends during his lone campaign in Tuscaloosa, and helped the Tide to a 6-6 regular-season record and a berth in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. UA finished 23rd nationally in total defense in '06.

A 19-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks, Turner joined the Alabama staff after three seasons at Vanderbilt where he was the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. During his time with the Commodores, he coached all-SEC defensive end Jovan Haye, who tied for the league lead in sacks and was named Vandy's first all-league lineman in 10 years.

A native of Goldston, N.C., Turner has also worked in the Big Ten Conference at Minnesota (2001), where he worked with the defensive ends, and in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Virginia (1997-2000), where he was the defensive tackles and linebackers coach. He also served as a special teams co-coordinator during his final year with the Cavaliers.

He began his collegiate coaching career in 1986 as an assistant at his alma mater, Davidson College. He worked with the running backs, tight ends and then outside linebackers over a two-year stretch.

In 1988, he moved to North Carolina State, serving two years as a defensive graduate assistant. He worked with a Wolfpack unit that ranked first in the ACC in total defense both seasons.

He spent one year as the defensive line coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, helping the team to a 12-2 overall record and Division II national championship. He also worked two seasons at James Madison, helping the Dukes to a 9-4 record and a berth in the 1991 Division I-AA playoffs.

Turner returned to the Division I ranks in 1993, serving two seasons as defensive ends coach at Kentucky. In 1995, he went back to N.C. State, coaching defensive ends and linebackers before joining the UVa staff in ‘97.

Turner worked as an intern for three National Football League teams – Detroit Lions (1992), Miami Dolphins (1997) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1998) and he played professionally for one season in the Italian Football League.

A three-time varsity letterman as a running back, Turner earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Davidson in 1985.

He is married to the former Yvette Modica and the couple has two daughters, Bianca and Alexyia.

Gene's Page Top Stories