From Auburn Sports Information…
AUBURN - Curtis Luper, who has served as Oklahoma State’s running backs coach for the previous four seasons and the assistant head coach for player development the last two seasons for the Cowboys, has been named running backs coach at Auburn, head coach Gene Chizik announced Friday.
Under Luper, the OSU running attack has led the Big 12 Conference in rushing the last three seasons and finished the 2008 campaign averaging 245.5 yards per game. Prior to their bowl game, the Cowboys, who finished with a 9-4 record, were seventh nationally in rushing.
“The opportunity to reconnect with my mentor in Coach Chizik and have the chance to coach at a program known as `Running Back U.’, was something that I could not pass up,” Luper said. “My coaching philosophy and foundation was established with Coach Chizik 13 years ago at Stephen F. Austin, where we took our initial jobs, and arm in arm helped the program to the national semifinals.
“I’m excited to be reunited with Coach Chizik and join Gus Malzahn, who is nationally known as one of the innovators offensively. Those aspects combined with the chance to coach at a tradition-rich program like Auburn, is a dream come true.”
Oklahoma State finished seventh nationally and first in the Big 12 Conference in rushing in 2006 and 2007 averaging 243.2 and 208.0 yards per game, respectively. Under Luper’s tutelage, the Cowboys have had back-to-back 1,000 yard rushers in Kendall Hunter (1,555) in 2008 and Dantrell Savage (1,272) in 2007.
“Curtis Luper is a tremendous coach, who I’ve had the pleasure of watching blossom from a player to the successful individual that he is today,” Chizik said. “I had a great amount of respect for him as a player and while mentoring him in the beginning of his coaching career. Curtis has done an outstanding job coaching running backs and I am excited to coach with him again.”
Prior to his arrival at OSU, Luper was the running backs coach at New Mexico from 2002-04 and the secondary/assistant head coach at Texas A&M-Commerce from 1999-01.
While at New Mexico, Luper coached the Mountain West Conference’s career rushing leader in DonTrell Moore and helped the Lobo’s finish 16th nationally in rushing in 2003.
A native of Sherman, Texas, Luper began his coaching career as a graduate assistant (secondary) at Stephen F. Austin (1995-96) and was the running backs coach at SFA in 1997 before serving in the same capacity at McKinney (Texas) High School.
Luper began his playing career at Oklahoma State, where he played from 1984-87, but his stay was interrupted from 1988 to 1992 when he served as an air traffic controller for the United States Army.
During his tenure in the Army, Luper spent eight months combined at Fort McClellan in Anniston, Ala. and Fort Rucker near Enterprise, Ala. He completed his eligibility at Stephen F. Austin as a second-team all-Southland Conference running back in 1993 when he led the team in rushing and scoring.
Luper earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Stephen F. Austin in 1996 and master’s degree in communications from SFA in 1998. He is expected to receive his doctoral degree in secondary and higher education from Texas A&M-Commerce in May 2009.
Luper is married to the former Nikki Echols. The couple has three daughters, A’rielle, Charitie and Cheyenne, and two sons, Cameron and Chancellor.