McNeill fills holes on staff

Published 4:44 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2012

GREENVILLE — East Carolina head football coach Ruffin McNeill has filled two vacancies on his staff with Tuesday’s hiring announcement of Kirk Doll and Pat Washington.
McNeill has appointed Doll as the Pirates’ running backs coach and special teams coordinator, while Washington will coach outside receivers and serve as ECU’s run game coordinator. The pair brings a combined 56 years of full-time coaching experience that includes 31 bowl appearances and two Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship Game victories.
“I’m excited that two individuals with Kirk and Pat’s credentials and reputation will be in a position to make a tremendous impact to our program and the Pirate Nation,” McNeill said. “We not only wanted to enhance our staff, but have obviously advanced it as well. Their collective experience, especially on the offensive side of the ball and on special teams, is matched by very few and quite simply speaks for itself.”
Doll, who lettered as a defensive end at East Carolina in 1971 and 1972, and helped Sonny Randle’s Pirates to a Southern Conference title as a senior, has spent the last 33 years coaching at college football’s highest level with seven programs and in the professional ranks with two organizations. He has coached on teams that played in 16 bowl games and a pair of American Football Conference (AFC) playoff contests.
Before accepting the offer to return to his alma mater, Doll spent the 2011 season as San Jose State’s special teams coordinator and running backs coach. The Spartans’ kicking game thrived under his guidance as placekicker Jens Alvernik finished second nationally in field goals per game, helping San Jose State establish a new program record for most three-pointers in a season. Additionally, punter Harrison Waid ranked 26th with a 42.79 average and the Spartans stood 39th in net punting average – a 36-place improvement from 2010, a year before Doll’s arrival.
Offensively, running back Brandon Rutley earned All-Western Athletic Conference honors as one of the league’s top five rushers after gaining 903 yards on 216 carries and scoring 12 touchdowns.
His five-decade football coaching career began at Wichita State in 1975 as a graduate assistant. After two seasons as an assistant coach at Texas City (Texas) High School, he earned his first full-time collegiate position as tight ends coach at Iowa State for the 1979 campaign.
Doll followed with appointments as offensive line coach at Tulsa (1980-84), outside linebackers coach at Arizona State (1985-87) and linebackers coach at Texas A&M (1988-93) before handling various responsibilities, including assistant head coach duties, at Notre Dame from 1994 to 2001. The Fighting Irish earned final rankings of 11th (1995), 22nd (1998) and 15th (2000) during his stay in South Bend under coaches Lou Holtz and Bob Davie.
He helped Louisiana State to a two-year mark of 21-6 as assistant head coach and linebackers coach in 2002 and 2003. The 2003 Tigers, which were guided by head coach Nick Saban and coordinators Jimbo Fisher and Will Muschamp, rolled to a 13-1 record and the BCS championship after a 21-14 victory over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
Doll’s reputation as a special teams mentor was validated in the National Football League when he served Denver in that capacity from 2004 until 2006. In each of his three seasons in the Mile High City, the Broncos had a winning record and advanced to the 2005 AFC championship game.
He returned to Texas A&M for two more seasons (2008-09) as tight ends coach/special teams coach and had a one-year stint as special teams coach for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League in 2010 before joining the San Jose State staff. In all, a total of 17 of his collegiate players have gone on to enjoy NFL careers.
Doll, 60, earned a bachelor’s degree from ECU in 1974 before adding a second undergraduate degree from Wichita State in 1977.
He and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of three adult children – Kate, Kelsey and Kyle.
Washington, a 23-year collegiate coaching veteran who has helped lead five programs to a combined 15 bowl appearances, joins the East Carolina staff after three seasons as running backs coach at Conference USA rival Southern Miss.
His deep backfield played a key role in Southern Miss’ journey to the Conference USA title in 2011, leading the league and standing 20th nationally in rushing with a 205.1 yards-per-game average. Washington’s efforts, which included the oversight of six single-game 100-yard ground performances by four players, complimented a steady passing attack that enabled the Golden Eagles to rank 17th in total offense and 14th in scoring offense at the FBS level.

In his second season in Hattiesburg, Washington was tasked with replacing Southern Miss all-time leading rusher Damion Fletcher. He responded by producing a talented and successful three-pronged approach that finished 20th nationally by averaging over 200 yards per game.
Washington kept a significant USM streak alive during his first campaign when he helped Fletcher eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth consecutive year and pass LaDanian Tomlinson for eighth all-time on the FBS rushing yards chart.
Washington began his coaching career by working two seasons as a graduate assistant at alma mater Auburn in 1987 and 1988, before putting in three years (1989-91) at Louisiana-Lafayette as wide receivers coach. He then moved to TCU for a pair of seasons as quarterbacks and receivers coach in 1992 and 1993.
After a year at Baylor (1994) as its running backs coach, Washington had an opportunity to return to the Southeastern Conference as Tennessee’s receivers coach in 1995 – a position he would hold for 11 seasons under head coach Phillip Fulmer. During his time in Knoxville, he coached a strong squad of celebrated pass catchers, including Donte’ Stallworth, Cedrick Wilson, Peerless Price, Marcus Nash and Joey Kent.
Washington produced 11 National Football League draft picks while with the Volunteers, including First-Team All-SEC selections Kent and Nash. Those two players, along with Wilson and Price, are the top four names on UT’s career receiving list. Washington helped guide Tennessee to 10 bowl games in his 11 seasons there, including three Citrus Bowls, two Fiesta, Peach and Cotton Bowls, and one Orange Bowl appearance.
The Volunteers also captured the 1998 SEC Championship Game over Mississippi State before defeating Florida State 23-16 to win the 1999 Fiesta Bowl and complete an undefeated, national championship season. Following his stint at UT, Washington spent a season at Kansas State (2006) where the Wildcats recorded a 7-5 season and earned a postseason invitation to the Texas Bowl against Rutgers.
Additionally, he was with Auburn for back-to-back Sugar Bowls in 1988 and 1989, assisted at Baylor during its 1994 Alamo Bowl appearance and helped guide the Mississippi State to a Liberty Bowl victory in 2007.
Washington, a native of Mobile, Ala., enjoyed a four-year playing career at Auburn where he was the program’s starting quarterback as a junior and senior in 1984 and 1985. The Tigers went to bowl games during all four seasons, which included the 1982 Tangerine Bowl, 1984 Sugar Bowl, 1984 Liberty Bowl and 1986 Cotton Bowl. His 1985 teammate, Bo Jackson, garnered the Heisman Trophy that year to help Washington compile a 17-8 mark as the Tigers’ top signal-caller. He graduated from Auburn in 1987 with a degree in management.
Washington, 48, and his wife, Claudette, have two sons – Tyson and Justin.
Doll and Washington replace Clay McGuire and Dennis Simmons, respectively, who both accepted assistant coaching positions at Washington State.