Summers, Robinson, Ekeler Named USC Assistant Football Coaches
Feb. 23, 2013
Coaching veterans Mike Summers, Tommie Robinson and Mike Ekeler have been hired as assistant coaches at USC, Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin announced today (Feb. 23).
Summers will be the running game coordinator and offensive line coach, Robinson will be the passing game coordinator and running backs coach, and Ekeler will be the linebackers coach.
""I am excited to have completed the reconstruction of our staff,"" said Kiffin. ""It was a very exhaustive and thorough process. Mike Summers, Tommie Robinson and Mike Ekeler bring extensive coaching backgrounds to the Trojan program. They all are looking forward to start working with our players immediately.
""Mike Summers has been an integral part of many high-powered offenses, including one that led the nation in scoring and total offense and others that ranked very high in the various offensive categories. I was particularly impressed by how highly regarded he is by fellow coaches and by the players he has coached.
""Tommie Robinson is a veteran who not only is an effective coach and teacher, but he is known for developing great relationships with his running backs. I know he will do that here and hold our players accountable on and off the field.
""I have followed Mike Ekeler's career and have been very impressed with what he has accomplished on and off the field. He has been on staffs that produced Top 10 defenses, including leading the country in scoring defense. The fact that he is the only player that Bill Snyder ever personally appointed as a team captain at Kansas State speaks to who Mike is and what he is all about. He will bring intensity, energy and command to our linebacker group. He also is a proven recruiter on the national level.""
Additionally, Kiffin announced that James Cregg will remain as offensive line coach, while associate head coach/special teams coordinator John Baxter will add the tight ends to his coaching duties and quarterbacks coach Clay Helton will add the offensive coordinator role.
""With so many young offensive linemen who will be so important to our success, I felt it was critical to have two coaches (Summers and Cregg) working with this group,"" said Kiffin. ""It was a natural step to have John Baxter work with the tight ends because he has coached that position for much of his career. Clay Helton has been vitally involved in our offense in his time here and spent last season as the passing game coordinator.""
Summers has 33 years of coaching experience (all but one season in the college ranks), primarily as an offensive line coach but also some time as an offensive coordinator and run game coordinator. He has helped produce some of the most productive offenses in the history of schools such as Arkansas, Louisville, Kentucky, Oregon State and Ohio.
Robinson has coached running backs at the collegiate and NFL levels, including the past 3 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He has 26 years of coaching experience, including 16 collegiately and with 8 bowl teams, at stops such as Miami (Fla.), Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Memphis.
Ekeler has been a coach for 14 years with programs such as Oklahoma, LSU, Nebraska and Indiana, helping turn out defenses that ranked among the nation's finest. He has primarily coached linebackers and even served as a defensive coordinator.
Summers, 56, was hired this past January as Western Kentucky's offensive line coach before coming to USC. Before that, he was the run game coordinator and offensive line coach at Kentucky for 3 seasons (2010-12). The 2010 Wildcats' offense averaged 6.1 yards per play behind his line that had only 1 returning starter and the 2012 squad averaged nearly 140 rushing yards despite the line's injury-plagued season. Kentucky played in the 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl.
He spent the 2 previous seasons (2008-09) at Arkansas, where he was the assistant head coach and offensive line coach. Arkansas led the Southeastern Conference in scoring in 2009 and won the 2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Both center Jonathan Luigs, who was a finalist for the 2008 Rimington Trophy, and guard Mitch Petrus, a 2009 All-SEC first teamer, played in the NFL.
He was the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line coach in 2007 after spending 4 years (2003-06) at Louisville. In 2006, his line helped the Cardinals rank second nationally in total offense (475.3), seventh in passing (290.0) and 12th in rushing (185.3) as 3 of his linemen (Renardo Foster, Kurt Quarterman and George Bussey) were All-Big East first team picks. The 2004 line helped Louisville, which set a school record with 6,468 total yards, 3,005 rushing yards, 597 points and 47 rushing TDs while allowing only 20 sacks, lead the nation in total offense (539.0) and scoring offense (49.8). In 2003, the Cards set a set a then-school rushing record while ranking fifth nationally in total offense (488.9) and 10th in rushing offense (228.2). Two of his other linemen, Jason Spitz and Travis Leffew, were All-Conference USA first team in 2004 and All-Big East first team in 2005. Foster, Quarterman, Bussey, Spitz, Leffew and center Eric Wood all made NFL rosters, with Wood a first round selection. During his tenure, Louisville won the 2004 Conference USA championship and 2006 Big East title, and played in the 2007 Orange Bowl, 2006 Gator Bowl, 2004 Liberty Bowl and 2003 GMAC Bowl. The 2004 and 2006 Cardinal teams both finished ranked No. 6 by AP.
He spent 2 seasons (2001-02) at Ohio as the offensive line coach. The Bobcats were sixth nationally in rushing offense in 2001 (240.1) and eighth in 2002 (239.8).
In 2000, he was the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State.
The previous 4 years (1996-99), he was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at the University of the South (Sewanee), where he produced Top 5-ranked rushing and total offenses in the conference.
He was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Oregon State for 5 seasons (1991-95) and also recruiting coordinator in his first year. The Beavers led the Pac-10 in rushing his final 4 seasons. He was named the league's top "Offensive Backfield Coach" in 1993.
While offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois for 6 seasons (1985-90), his offense established 51 school records and 7 NCAA marks.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant working with the offensive line at Kentucky (1980-81) and Texas A&M (1982-84).
He played defensive back at Georgetown (Kent.) College after prepping at Tates Creek High in Lexington (Kent.).
He earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Georgetown College in 1978 and a postgraduate degree from Kentucky in 1980.
He was born on June 16, 1956. He and his wife, Kathy (the daughter of legendary Kentucky men's basketball coach Joe B. Hall), have a daughter, Amy.
Robinson, 49, handled the Arizona Cardinals' running backs the past 3 years (2010-12). In 2011, he helped Beanie Wells become the first player in franchise history to run for at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. Wells also set a franchise game rushing record with 228 yards against the St. Louis Rams that season. The Cardinals' rushing attack was hampered in 2012 by injuries and the 2010 offense was primarily pass oriented.
He spent the previous 3 seasons (2007-09) as the running backs coach at Miami (Fla.), helping the Hurricanes to the 2008 Emerald Bowl and 2009 Champs Sports Bowl, after working in 2006 with the running back at Memphis.
Before Memphis, he coached 4 seasons (2002-05) at Georgia Tech, coaching wide receivers the first year and then tight ends the next 3 seasons. Tech wideouts Kerry Watkins and Will Glover finished their careers in 2002 among the school's Top 5 all-time receivers. Tight ends John Paul Foschi and Darius Williams played in the NFL. The Yellow Jackets played in the 2002 Silicon Valley Classic, 2004 Humanitarian Bowl and 2004 Champs Sports Bowl.
He spent 2001 as the running backs coach at Oklahoma State, working with future NFLer Tatum Bell.
He was an offensive assistant with the Dallas Cowboys for 3 years (1998-2000), working with the wide receivers (including future Hall of Famer Michael Irvin) and special teams. The 1998 and 1999 Cowboys advanced to the NFL playoffs and the 1998 squad won the NFC East title.
He went to the Cowboys after a 3-month stop as the running backs coach at UNLV early in 1998. Before that, he coached running backs at Utah State for 2 years (1992-93), helping the Aggies to the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl, and wide receivers at TCU for 4 seasons (1994-97), as the Horned Frogs played in the 1994 Independence Bowl.
He began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arkansas in 1991, as the Razorbacks played in the 1991 Independence Bowl.
He started coaching at the high school level, guiding Woodham High in Pensacola (Fla.) in 1986 and 1987 and Central High in Phenix City (Ala.), his alma mater, from 1988 to 1990.
During his various college stops, he also served minority coaching internships with the New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
He was a 3-year starter at strong safety and team captain as a senior at Troy State, where he was a member of the 1984 Division II national championship team. He received his bachelor's degree in criminal justice at Troy State in 1985.
He was born on April 4, 1963. He and his wife, Lartonyar, have 3 children: sons Dantrell and Trey and daughter Tawanda.
Ekeler, 41, was Indiana's co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach the past 2 years (2011-12).
Before that, he spent 3 years (2008-10) as Nebraska's linebackers coach, where he was involved with some of the nation's most successful defenses. In 2010, Nebraska was third nationally in pass efficiency defense, fifth in pass defense, ninth in scoring defense and 11th in total defense. In 2009, the Cornhuskers led the country in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense, and were seventh in total defense and ninth in rushing defense. He coached NFL draft picks Lavonte David, a 2010 All-American first teamer when he set the school season tackles record, Phillip Dillard and Cody Glenn. Nebraska won the Big 12 North Division title each year he was on staff and played in the 2009 Gator Bowl and 2009 and 2010 Holiday Bowls.
He was at LSU for 3 seasons (2005-07), the first 2 years as a defensive graduate assistant and the last year as an intern. Each season, the Tigers were third nationally in total defense (the 242.8 average in 2006 was the school's fewest yards allowed in 30 years). LSU won the BCS championship in 2007, and also captured the 2007 Sugar Bowl and the 2005 Peach Bowl (as the SEC West champion). He worked with All-American first teamers Glenn Dorsey, LaRon Landry, Kyle Williams and Claude Wroten.
He was a defensive graduate assistant at Oklahoma for 2 years (2003-04) as the Sooners played in the BCS championship game both seasons (they lost to USC in the 2005 game). In 2003, Oklahoma was second nationally in pass defense, third in both total defense and pass efficiency defense and fifth in scoring defense.
After spending time in private business as the owner of an Omaha (Neb.)-based sales company, he began his coaching career as an assistant at Omaha's Skutt High for 3 years (1999-2001) and then at Manhattan (Kan.) High in 2002.
He played linebacker and on special teams for 4 years (1991-94) at Kansas State as the Wildcats played in the 1993 Copper Bowl and 1994 Aloha Bowl squads. As a senior in 1994, he became the only Wildcat ever appointed captain specifically by longtime head coach Bill Snyder.
A Big 12 All-Academic selection, he earned his bachelor's degree in social science from Kansas State in 1995.
He was a member of the 1988 Nebraska Class B state championship team as a linebacker and wide receiver at Blair (Neb.) High.
He was born on Oct. 4, 1971. He and his wife, Barbie, have a son, J.J., 11, and daughters Cameryn, 10, Abigail, 8, and Bella, 4.