Paul Wulff Begins Assembling Coaching Staff

Dec. 12, 2007

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University Head Football Coach Paul Wulff announced Wednesday he has begun assembling his coaching staff, bringing with him five assistants from Eastern Washington University while retaining current Cougar assistant coach Steve Broussard.

New to the Cougar staff will be Todd Sturdy, Jody Sears, Travis Niekamp, Malik Roberson and Rich Rasmussen. Broussard, who joined the Cougar staff last February, will return for his second season on the WSU sideline.

'This group of assistant coaches is very hard working, has great passion, very competitive, and one that I have a high level of comfort with,' said Wulff. 'Having worked with them previously the communication element is already in place, they understand my vision.

'We still have three assistant coaching positions to fill and will take our time to ensure we have the best people in place to move the program forward,' Wulff continued.

Sturdy recently completed his first season at EWU, helping the Eagles to a 9-4 mark and a quarterfinal appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. Prior to EWU he spent 12 seasons as head coach at St. Ambrose University (Iowa), where he compiled an 85-40 record. While there Sturdy became the school's winningest coach, garnering five Mid-States Football Association-Midwest League titles along the way. Additionally, he coached 64 first team all-conference players and 28 All-Americans. Sturdy earned a bachelor's degree in history education from St. Ambrose, where he was a quarterback from 1987-90.

Sears is no stranger to Pullman, having graduated from Pullman High School before moving on to Washington State University, where he was a teammate of Wulff and earned two varsity letters as a wide receiver before graduating in 1991. Sears served on Wulff's staff at EWU for five seasons as defensive coordinator, working with defensive ends, linebackers and safeties at one point or another. Prior to reuniting with Wulff in 2003, Sears spent three seasons on the defensive staff at the United States Military Academy.

Niekamp joined Wulff's EWU staff in 2004 as linebackers coach. Prior to joining the Eagles' staff, Niekamp coached at the United States Military Academy for four years, serving as the tight ends coach. Three of those seasons were spent coaching with fellow Cougar assistant Sears. Niekamp spent two seasons coaching at Illinois State, his alma mater, coaching defensive tackles in 1998 and outside linebackers in 1999. He coached a number of players to all-conference honors, of which one, Joey Cwik, was named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

Rasmussen arrives in Pullman after spending the past nine seasons in Cheney, most recently working with tight ends and serving as the team's director of football operations. Rasmussen began his Eagle coaching stint in 1996, working as a student assistant on defense before working with the offensive line the following season. In 1998 he served as running backs coach before becoming tight ends coach in 1999. He earned his bachelor's degree in education and a master's in athletic administration, both from Eastern Washington.

Roberson is a Northwest native who graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane and played football for WSU as a linebacker and defensive lineman during the 1990 and 1991 seasons. He spent the last eight seasons with the Eagle coaching staff, the latter six of which as the defensive line coach. His first two seasons were as a student assistant with the defensive line. In 2004 the Eagles finished the season ranked 38th in the FCS in rushing defense, allowing 137.0 yards per game.

Broussard completed his first season as a Washington State assistant in 2007. The former Cougar great boasted two different 100-yard rushers last season, and helped sophomore Dwight Tardy rush for 214 yards against UCLA, one of the top 10 rushing performances all-time at WSU. Broussard coached at Portland State from 2004-06, serving as the running backs coach for one season and the wide receivers coach for two seasons. In 2004 when he was coaching running backs, Portland State led the Big Sky in rushing at 204.4 yards per game. Broussard played for WSU from 1986-89 and ranks second on the career rushing list with 3,054 yards and first on the career touchdowns list with 33.

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