Checking In With The New Coaches: Part 2, TJ Rushing
For Rushing, his story was a little different. Before arriving at NAU, Rushing was a stellar cornerback at Stanford University. He was a First Team All-Pac-10 selection and finished his career as one of the top three kick returners in school history with 1,409 yards.
After college Rushing got the opportunity to play with the Indianapolis Colts. He played five years in the NFL and helped the Colts win the AFC Championship in 2006 and 2009, in addition to winning Super Bowl XLI.
Rushing decided to make the transition from player to coach, and after he left the NFL he landed with Arizona State University.
Being down the mountain from Flagstaff, Rushing was able to be in the know about the happenings at NAU and its accolades. When the Lumberjacks had an opening for a new cornerbacks coach, Rushing was definitely interested.
"I chose NAU because it has a rich history of great football coaches ," said Rushing. "In the past I had done some research on Coach Souers. He's the longest tenured coach around, so I know he has to be doing something right, and that's what peaked my interest."
One of the highlights that the secondary had this past season was that it was instrumental in leading NAU to the most defensive touchdowns in the Football Championship Division in 2013. Having been a cornerback, and assisting with the secondary at Arizona State, Rushing was definitely intrigued with making the move to NAU.
"NAU has been winning," Rushing said. "I am an extremely competitive guy, so I want to be around winners. I'm glad I made the choice."
Although NAU lost its top cornerback in Anders Battle to graduation, Rushing has a very talented group left with a ton of playing experience.
"Coming in you try to do as much stuff as possible in and out of the meeting rooms with your players," Rushing said. "They get a chance to know and trust you. I think that during the spring it was a learning process. They had to learn how I coach, and I had to know how they play. Now I think we are meshing pretty well."
The first few months on the job were a learning experience for Rushing. He's no stranger to hard work, and he's definitely familiar with winning. Stay tuned in the coming months to see how Rushing and his unit impact the FCS and the Big Sky.