Leftwich Returns to Tulsa as Offensive Line Coach

Spencer Leftwich returns to The University of Tulsa football coaching staff following three seasons at North Texas, announced Tulsa Head Coach Todd Graham. Leftwich will coach the offensive line for the Hurricane, replacing Herb Hand who is expected to be named to a similar coaching position with an school.

Leftwich coached the Golden Hurricane offensive line for four seasons (2003-07). He and Graham were on the same coaching staff under Steve Kragthorpe for those first three seasons. He helped lead Tulsa to three Bowl Games (2003 Humanitarian, 2005 Liberty and 2006 Armed Forces Bowl) and one Conference Championship (2005).

“Lefty is a great addition to our coaching staff. It’s remarkable that we were able to get a coach of his caliber this close to the season. Being able to bring back one of our family members is tremendous, and his recruiting relationships in Texas, particularly east Texas, and Oklahoma are critical,” said Graham. “He was with us during the initial stages of turning Tulsa football back into a winner in the 2003 season, and coached the offensive line that was such a critical part of our team winning the Conference Championship in 2005.”

In 2003, the Tulsa offense ranked 23rd nationally in rushing yardage with 196 yard average per game, and allowed just 1.7 sacks per game, down more than one sack from the previous season. During Tulsa’s C- Championship season of 2005, the offensive line helped pave the way for an offense that ranked 40th nationally in rushing, as well as 39th in total offense and 41st in pass offense.

Leftwich coached six different players to seven all-conference accolades in his four seasons with the Hurricane. In 2003, tackle Austin Chadwick was Tulsa’s first offensive line all-conference selection since 1998. A year later, center Derek Warehime earned first-team honors in 2004, and guard Jesse Stoneham was a first-team Conference selection in 2005, while tackle Jeff Perrett was a third-team pick that same season. In 2006, Leftwich coached three linemen to all-league merits with Perrett earning first-team honors, while center Aaron Danenhauer and guard Jon Hameister-Ries were second-team selections.

After leaving the Hurricane following the 2006 campaign, Leftwich inherited a very young offensive line at in 2007 and molded the unit into one of the strongest and most experienced in the Sun Belt Conference in 2009.

Upon his arrival, Leftwich had only two returning offensive linemen with any career starts to their credit. Leftwich did an exceptional job of building depth on the offensive front and in 2009 he had eight offensive linemen who made previous starts. In 2009, the Mean Green offensive line paved the way for a rushing attack that ranked 28th nationally in rushing with 2,223 yards.

In his first two years, Leftwich coached an offensive line that helped the Mean Green offense to unprecedented statistical accomplishments, only to be eclipsed in the 2009 campaign. In 2007, Leftwich developed four offensive linemen who had never played a college game into full-time starters and North Texas broke the school’s single-season record for total offense and passing offense. Because of injuries in 2008, he had to cultivate three new linemen and by the end of the season had two freshmen, two sophomores and one junior leading the attack in the trenches.

North Texas’ sacks allowed per game improved drastically under Leftwich’s tutelage, improving from one sack ever 14.2 pass attempts in 2007 to one sack for every 34.4 pass attempts last season. After ranking 110th in the nation in fewest sacks allowed in his first season, the Mean Green ranked 10th nationally in his third year.

Before coming to Tulsa in 2003, Leftwich had his first coaching stint at North Texas from 1994-2002.

In his first term at , he had at least one lineman earn all-conference honors in eight of his nine years. In 2002, his line helped open the holes for a rushing attack that finished 38th in the country. When he originally arrived in Denton in 1994, he saw the Mean Green offense set a school record for offense with 4,670 yards and capture the Southland Conference title.

That record was broken in 2008 when Leftwich’s offensive line helped the team post 4,901 yards of offense, and again in 2009 with 4,904 yards of total offense.

Before his first stop at , Leftwich spent two years (1992-93) as the offensive line coach at New Mexico State. He began his coaching career in 1989 at his alma mater, Stephen F. Austin, and served as offensive line coach for three years (1989-91). The Lumberjacks won the 1989 Southland Conference title and earned a berth in the Division I-AA Championship game with a 12-2-1 record.

A 1988 graduate of Stephen F. Austin, Leftwich was a three-year starter at offensive guard and a two-time all-conference selection. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education, and received his master’s degree in physical education from East Texas State in 1989.

Leftwich and his wife LaTonne have three sons: Mack Hays, Cutter, and Gage.

Updated 07-28-2010

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