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Tulsa's Graham Announces Football Coaching Staff Promotions as Malzahn Takes Auburn Position

Co-offensive coordinator Herb Hand has been promoted to assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.
Co-offensive coordinator Herb Hand has been promoted to assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.
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Dec. 28, 2008

Tulsa, Oklahoma - University of Tulsa Head Football Coach Todd Graham has announced new position appointments within the Golden Hurricane football coaching staff, it was confirmed today by the University.

Herb Hand will now serve as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, Mike Norvell will be elevated to full-time receivers coach and passing game coordinator and Bill Blankenship will add the duties of quarterback coach.

Co-offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Gus Malzahn resigned his position today to accept the offensive coordinator position at Auburn University. Malzahn will continue to coach with the Hurricane through the January 6th GMAC Bowl Game.

Despite the changes, Tulsa's offense will remain the same unit that it has become over the last two seasons. Graham will take an active role in the offense, ensuring that Tulsa maintains its' explosiveness.

"One thing is certain, our offense will remain the same as it has been in my entire head coaching career, as a no-huddle spread offense," said Graham. "We feel that we have in place one of the top offensive systems in the country and we will not miss a beat. We'll look to continue our reign as one of the country's most explosive offenses."

Hand has served the past two seasons as Tulsa's co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. He will continue as offensive line coach and will solely handle the coordinator responsibilities. Hand called Tulsa's run game the past two years and this season that running game was among the nations' best. The Hurricane run game was tops in Conference USA and ranked eighth nationally with an average of 254.8 yards per game, while Tulsa ranked second overall in total offense (565.1) and scoring offense (47.4).



"Herb has been a major contributor to our offensive success the last two years. His expertise and ability to understand what we're doing is second to none, and we're happy to have him assume sole duties as offensive coordinator. He has a tremendous amount of experience and success working with the spread offenses both at West Virginia and Tulsa," said Graham.

Special Teams Coordinator Bill Blankenship will now also handle coaching the Tulsa quarterbacks. Blankenship, a former Golden Hurricane quarterback from 1975-79, has outstanding experience coaching the quarterback position. As the head coach at Tulsa prep powerhouse, Union High School, Blankenship's offenses were high-scoring and adept at throwing the ball. He led his Union teams to Oklahoma Class 6A titles in 2002, 2004 and 2005, while winning eight straight District championships.

"Bill's role will be elevated as an offensive coach. He has an incredible reputation in developing quarterbacks, and I know he will do an excellent job for us in this capacity," added Graham.

Mike Norvell, who coached the Tulsa receivers this past season as a graduate assistant coach, will assume the full-time position as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Norvell coached a group of receivers that totaled 4,033 receiving yards and 44 touchdowns this year, as six Tulsa receivers each had over 200+ yards receiving.

Norvell is completing his second year at Tulsa. In 2007, Norvell assisted Blankenship in coaching the Hurricane receivers, which had three players total more than 1,000 receiving yards. Before coming to Tulsa, Norvell coached the receivers and H-backs at Central Arkansas in 2006.

"Mike is one of the most talented young coaches that I have ever been associated with," said Graham. "He has a great offensive mind and has really been instrumental in the development of our young receiving corps."

Malzahn has spent the past two seasons as Tulsa's co-offensive coordinator, sharing the title with Hand.

"We wish Gus much success at Auburn and it is with mixed emotions that we send him off. He has done an outstanding job for us. I know it was a tough decision for him to leave Tulsa, but we wish him nothing but the best in his new position," said Graham.

"I'd like to thank Coach Graham for giving me an opportunity to coach here at Tulsa. It's been a great experience for me and my family. I wish the Tulsa program nothing but the best," said Malzahn. "My goal is to finish this season strong and do everything in my power to help Tulsa win the GMAC Bowl."