Ex-LSU tailback All-American Kevin Faulk has job he has always wanted — LSU backs coach
BATON ROUGE — He turned around the LSU football program in the mid-1990s after six straight losing seasons and became a first team All-American. Then he was a versatile and vital part of three Super Bowl champion teams in the 2000s with the New England Patriots.
"The day I graduated high school I knew I wanted to be a coach," Faulk said Wednesday in a LSU release after becoming the Tigers' new running backs coach on Tuesday. Faulk had been the Tigers' director of player development in the 2018 and '19 seasons after leaving an assistant coaching job at Carencro High.
"The coaches I had growing up meant so much to me and the community," said Faulk, who was coached at Carencro High by Mac Barousse, who led the Bears to the 1992 state championship with Faulk at quarterback. "And I knew I wanted to be that guy."
Faulk, who joined Carencro High's coaching staff shortly after retiring from the NFL in 2012 following 13 seasons with the New England Patriots, will now be a coach at his second alma mater. He graduated from LSU in 1999 with a degree in kinesiology and was drafted in the second round by the Patriots in 1999.
"To coach at my alma mater is the best thing I could ever hope for," he said. "I wear the purple and gold with pride every day, and I am ready to get going to help win another national championship."
LSU is the reigning national champion of college football after going 15-0 in the 2019-20 season. Faulk replaces running backs coach Tommie Robinson, who took the same job at Texas A&M.
"We would like to thank Tommie for being a part of our national championship program and wish him the bet in this future," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "Kevin is a great teacher and mentor and someone that has earned the respect and love of our players. We are honored to have one of the greatest players in LSU history as part of our coaching staff. This is a home run hire."
Faulk, who will be replacing a strong recruiter in Robinson, could wear four championship rings on his recruiting trips - three from New England and one from LSU.
Faulk, 43, is the 20th former LSU football player to become a LSU assistant coach and/or head coach since Gaynell Tinsley of Homer became head coach in 1948. Only three of those were first team All-Americans - Tinsley, Jerry Stovall of West Monroe and Faulk, who is the first Super Bowl champion out of LSU to become a LSU coach.
Faulk remains the school's all-time leading rusher with 4,557 yards from 1995-98. He confirmed several reports on Tuesday that he would be LSU's new backs coach.
"Yes, this is what I've always wanted to do," he told the USA TODAY Network while celebrating Mardi Gras. "I'll talk a little more tomorrow. I'm with my family now."
Faulk became one of the the most highly recruited players in the nation during the 1994-95 recruiting season as a tailback from Carencro High. He signed with LSU in February of 1995 just months after the Tigers had suffered their sixth straight losing season and hired new coach Gerry DiNardo, whose first recruiting stop was Carencro.
Behind Faulk, LSU went 7-4-1 in 1995, followed by a 10-2 season in 1996, and a 9-3 campaign in 1997 that included an upset of No. 1 Florida in Tiger Stadium. Faulk was a first team All-American in 1996 by the Associated Press and a three-time first team All-Southeastern Conference player from 1996-98 at LSU,
Faulk is LSU's initial first team All-American to become an assistant coach since Stovall was the Tigers' running backs coach from 1974-78. Stovall, a first team All-American in 1962, then was head coach from 1980-83.
The only other LSU first team All-American to become a LSU coach was Tinsley, an end who was LSU's first All-American in 1935 and in '36 by the Associated Press before becoming LSU's head coach from 1948-54.
Faulk will join two LSU assistant coaches who played for the Tigers — offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, who was a LSU quarterback from 1976-79, and secondary coach Corey Raymond, who was a defensive back at LSU from 1988-91.
Faulk won Super Bowls with the Patriots in the 2001, '03 and '04 seasons and played in two other Super Bowls in the 2007 and 2011 seasons. A dual threat, Faulk twice totaled 1,000 yards or more rushing and receiving. In 2000, he gained 570 yards on 164 rushes and 465 yards on 51 catches for 1,035 in all. In 2003, he rushed 178 times for 638 yards while catching 48 passes for 440 yards and a 1,078 total. In 2008, he rushed 83 times for 507 yards and caught 58 passes for 486 yards and a total of 993 yards.
A LSU graduate in 1998, Faulk is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches, the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame, the Patriots Hall of Fame as well as New England's All-Decade team of the 2000s and its 50th anniversary team.
LSU begins spring practice on March 7. Faulk will be trying to find a tailback to replace a star Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of three who were freshmen in 2019 in Tyrion Davis-Price, Chris Curry and John Emery Jr.