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Three named to Tusculum football coaching staff

Three named to Tusculum football coaching staff

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum University football coach Jerry Odom has announced three new additions to his coaching staff.  Joining the Pioneers are assistant coaches Chris Anderson, BJ Ruis and Larry Murphy.

Chris Anderson will serve as wide receivers coach for the Pioneers.  Anderson comes to Tusculum after serving as receivers coach at the University of West Georgia.  While at the Carrollton, Georgia school, he mentored three All-Gulf South Conference first team selections and helped the Wolves to a 10-2 record and a berth to the 2018 NCAA Division II Playoffs. 

In 2018, the West Georgia receiver corps accounted for 227 receptions for 2,777 yards and 25 touchdown catches under his watch.  Eighteen different players recorded a reception with nine posting double-digit receptions and five with 20 or more.

"Coach Anderson was highly recommended, he has a background of excellence in coaching and playing at the wide receiver position. We look forward to working with him to help build the Tusculum receiving corps," said Odom.

During his coaching career, Anderson has helped groom five receivers who will be playing in the National Football League.

A native of Brunswick, Georgia, Anderson played his collegiate career at Valdosta State University as he helped the Blazers to a 2012 NCAA II National Championship.  He posted 1,457 yards on 159 career receptions and 12 touchdowns as a three-year starter.  He earned All-American and All-Conference honors in 2014 as he led VSU in receptions and yards that season. 

In 2017, Anderson played professionally with the Wichita Force of the Arena Football League.  He earned his Bachelor's degree from Valdosta State in 2016.  He and the rest of the 2012 Blazers' national championship football team were inducted to the VSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019.

BJ Ruis, a native of Baldwin, Florida, will coach the Tusculum running backs and will also serve as the program's recruiting coordinator.  He has served as the offensive coordinator at Baldwin High School for the past four years.  In 2018, his offense averaged 48.8 points per game as Baldwin posted a 9-2 record as his teams broke 29 school records during his tenure there.  His teams boasted three student-athletes that garnered All-State recognition as Baldwin advanced to the State Playoffs on three occasions.

"BJ is a go-getter and brings a wealth of knowledge to our offense. We are happy to have him on board with us at Tusculum," said Odom.

Ruis was on the coaching staff at Samford University for the 2013 season as an offensive coach with the Bulldogs.  Samford captured the Southern Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA-FCS Playoffs.  Three Bulldogs on the offensive side of the ball earned FCS All-American honors while 28 players in all earned SoCon Academic All-Conference accolades.

Ruis earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University in 2010.  He and his wife Stephanie, are the proud parents to two daughters, Tenley and Whittley.

Larry Murphy will take over the defensive backs coaching duties for the Pioneers. 

The St. Petersburg, Florida native most recently served as the cornerbacks coach at Valdosta State where he helped the Blazers to an undefeated season (14-0) and a NCAA National title.  VSU also won the Gulf South Conference crown as the Blazer secondary ranked eighth in the nation in passes intercepted and ninth in red zone defense.  VSU led the nation in defensive touchdowns (7).

Murphy originally signed with Georgia Southern and was out of football until his return to the gridiron in 2014 where he was a three-year starter at Valdosta State (2014-2016) at cornerback as he finished his career with 62 tackles, 13 passes defended, two interceptions, forced two fumbles and recovered another.  He garnered 2014 USA Football All-American honors and was named to the All-Gulf South Conference team that same year.

"Becoming a football coach has been a natural transition for Larry.  He has worked with many of the same people that I have over the years and he comes highly recommended as knowledgeable defensive backs coach as well as a man of high character," said Odom.

Odom, who has completed his third season at the helm of the Tusculum program, has guided the Pioneers to three straight top-tier finishes in the South Atlantic Conference including 2018 as TU finished third in the league standings after a 5-5 overall record.

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