New LSU head football coach Brian Kelly tossed out his hiring bait and landed a whopper in his first staff hire.
McNeese State head coach Frank Wilson, a New Orleans native and two-time national recruiter of the year when he was on LSU’s staff from 2010 to 2015, has been named associate head coach for the Tigers, head coach Brian Kelly announced on Tuesday.
“Frank Wilson has a proven track record of identifying, recruiting, and developing elite student-athletes everywhere he has been,” Kelly said. “No one knows the recruiting landscape in Louisiana better than Frank, and his experience and character will be tremendous resources for our staff and student-athletes. His impact on our staff at LSU will be immediate and immense. We are thrilled he is returning home to ensure that we continue to sign the best student-athletes in Louisiana and throughout the country.”
Wilson agreed to a three-year deal that averages $945,000 per year. He made $200,000 annually as the head coach at McNeese State.
In his previous coaching stint at LSU under Les Miles, Wilson, 48, was running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. During that time, Wilson helped LSU lure some of the nation’s top players to Baton Rouge, as the Tigers had four Top 10 recruiting classes, including the No. 2 class in 2014 and the No. 5 class in 2015.
Wilson helped LSU to six bowl appearances, including the 2012 BCS National Championship game, the 2011 SEC Championship, and an overall mark of 61-17.
“I will forever be grateful to the coaches, staff, and student-athletes I have been fortunate to work with at McNeese State, and I will always remember the lessons I have learned in my six seasons as a head coach,” Wilson said. “But the opportunity to return home to LSU and join Coach Kelly’s staff was one my family and I simply could not pass up. I could not be more excited to return to Baton Rouge and do whatever I can to help the Tigers consistently compete for and win championships.”
Wilson returns to LSU after serving as head coach at Texas-San Antonio from 2016 to 2019 and McNeese the last two seasons. He went 26-40 as head coach in six years, which included an appearance in the New Mexico Bowl in his first season at UTSA.
Wilson has experience coaching running backs, receivers, and special teams, and he made his mark at LSU as an elite recruiter and developer of talent. He coached seven running backs at LSU who went on to be selected in the NFL Draft, a group that included consensus All-America Leonard Fournette. Four LSU running backs Wilson recruited or coached earned All-SEC honors, a list that includes Fournette, Steven Ridley, Spencer Ware, and Jeremy Hill.
The Tigers also produced four 1,000-yard rushers, had 45-yard 100-yard individual rushing performances, and broke the 200-yard rushing mark as a team 39 times under Wilson’s guidance.
While at LSU, he was recognized as the nation’s top assistant coach at his position in 2011. Wilson also was named the 2011 Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com, the 2014 NFL.com Top Recruiter in College Football and the 2015 Scout.com SEC Recruiter of the Year.
As the lead recruiter for the Tigers, Wilson landed some of the most decorated players in school history in Fournette, defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. and offensive lineman La’el Collins.
Overall, Wilson has coached or recruited 40 individuals who have gone on to play in the NFL.
In six seasons at LSU, Wilson developed seven running backs that were selected in the NFL Draft, including first-team All-SEC performers in Fournette, Hill and Ridley.
Other collegiate coaching stops for Wilson include Tennessee (2009, wide receivers), Southern Miss (2008), Ole Miss (2005-07, running backs/special teams), and Nicholls (1996).
Wilson is a 1997 graduate of Nicholls where he was a three-year letterwinner at running back for the Colonels. He and his wife, Tiffany, have three children: Alaina, Sabree and Frank IV, who plays football at McNeese.
According to reports, Kelly was also busy securing the hirings of special teams coordinator Brian Polian where the two worked together for the past five years at Notre Dame. Kelly, who didn’t retain LSU long time strength and conditioning coordinator Tommy Moffitt, has also reportedly hired co-director of strength and conditioning Jacob Flint from Notre Dame and assistant strength coach Zaviar Gooden of USC and Dr. Matt Frakes of Notre Dame who will be the Director of Sports Nutrition. He also served in that role at Louisville, Ole Miss and UL-Lafayette.