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Mr. Russell Miller Faulkinberry (Deceased)
127 Cornish Place
Youngsville, La 70592
|Contents of Coach Faulkinberry's footnote section of his profile:
1. Tributes to Coach Faulkinberry, as follows:
a. Edwin Preis, Jr.- Nov. 21, 2005
2. Eulogy For Russ Faulkinberry by Lee Faulkinberry Morgan, Russ' daughter, November 19, 2005
3. Article,"Faulkinberry Remembered For Strength, Spirit" November 20, 2005
4. Article, "Local Leaders Honor UL Legend Faulkinberry" November 20, 2005
5. Obituary, November 18, 2005
6. AN Editors Note, "Coach Russ Faulkinberry Remembered" November 17, 2005
7. Announcement of Coach's Death, November 17, 2005
8. Article, "Ex-players recognize Faulkinberry" published on October 28, 2005.(Unvieling of mural at Cajun Field)
9. Article, "On the Line: Faulkinberry recalls molding cohesive unit," published on August 7, 2005
10. Coach Faulkinberry's Footnotes.
TRIBUTE TO COACH FAULKINBERRY by Edwin Preis, November 21, 2005
I played football at USL from 1965-1968. I was a four year letterman, played on the 1965 and 1968 GSC Championship teams, and was Co-captain of the 1968 team. I say this not to talk about myself, but to put my comments in context.
Coach Faulkinberry was a mountain of a man, both in physical size and in character. Besides being a great coach, he considered himself an expert in treatment of injuries, psychology, and motivation. All of us who played for him agreed.
He taught us the meaning of hard work, dedication, discipline, sacrifice and the way to deal with adversity. Many times, in conclusion to his pre-game speech, even sometimes at half-time, he would write on the blackboard: THOSE WHO STAY WILL BECOME WINNERS. And winners we were, largely because of him, both on the field and in life.
When Jerry Burns was coach of the Minnesota Vikings, a reporter asked him one day at a press conference what was his principal job responsibility. In response thereto, Coach Burns replied that he was in charge of "Atmosphere." Well, Coach Burns, you need to move over, because THE MASTER of establishing "Atmosphere" was Coach Russ
He was a great motivator of men, who we all deeply respected. He simply had that knack of urging us to do the best we could, both on and off the field, and made us better than we were. He was especially proud of all of his players' success and accomplishments in life.
I can say, without hesitation, that any player who was on one of Coach Faulkinberry's teams, whether they actually played on Saturday or not, would say that he had a profound effect on their development as a person, and later success in life.
He was a great coach, mentor, and probably more importantly, a very loyal friend, who was never short on advice.
We will all miss him dearly.
Edwin Preis - Lafayette, Louisiana
Posted November 21, 2005
Eulogy for Russ Faulkinberry
November 19, 2005
I'm Lee Faulkinberry Morgan, Russ' daughter. On behalf of our family, I extend our thanks for sharing this day with us as we honor my father.
Russell Miller Faulkinberry was born in 1928 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. His father was the head football coach at Middle Tennessee State College.
Unfortunately, Dad lost his father when he was 4. He and his brother and sister were raised by their mother Maggie, who had a powerful influence on Dad's life.
It was the middle of the Depression, but Maggie made ends meet, by taking in college students as boarders, and taught the children how to be respectful of others and to never give up.
When Dad was 13, he and his sister were both stricken with polio. Dad ended up with one leg shorter than the other, and his sister Tee, who was 18, became a paraplegic. Aunt Tee was an inspiration in and of herself, as she led a productive life and was a large positive influence upon my sister and me. She never gave up, and I'm sure she, Dad, his brother, Frank, his father, and Maggie are reunited again.
After graduating from Vanderbilt University, Dad married our mother, Sis, and served 4 years in the Navy, coaching Navy football service teams. From his father, coaching was in his
blood. He held some assistant coaching positions at several universities before coming to be the head football coach at University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1961. He loved that job, and you've heard about his skill in that role from others today.
What I remember from the sixties was this huge, larger than life, presence. Dad was a bon vivant. He loved to entertain and I remember helping to prepare for the big parties he and mother threw. He was a gourmet cook and even had a cooking show on TV. However, with those huge hands, he was often a hazard. He set fire to the set on the cooking show, and I remember fearing for the curtains in the dining room at home. But, he made some
of the best steaks and flaming desserts we ever had!
To us as children, and as I understand it from others, Dad appeared to be an unstoppable force. He was, but he also had a softer side, that was seldom directly seen, but was manifest in
all his actions.
I remember one very hot July, when mother was away at an educational conference. Our beloved Beagle, Frisky,
died at the vet's office. Dad picked him up to bring home for burial. But, Frisky had been frozen with his legs straight out. So Dad had to find a large refrigerator box. This meant he had to dig a refrigerator-size hole. Actually, he cut the box in
half, but it was still large. To make matters worse, the hamster had died too. So, there Dad was, sweating buckets, and saying a prayer for the two dead pets, all by himself with two grief-stricken little girls. But, he sure made us feel that the pets were in a good place.
Another example from which I learned a lot was the parents' sports fair when I was in elementary school. They were doing slow pitch soft ball and Dad was striking out. It was quite embarrassing - him being a renowned jock. At the lunch break, Dad had me pitch him slow pitches until he got the knack. You see, he was used to fast pitch. That taught me that if at first you fail, go back and develop your skill or plan, and try again. Never
His 13th season at USL was less spectacular than some of the previous seasons had been. For the last game of that season, when Dad was no longer the coach, he brought our family to the
game and we watched it from the stands of Cajun Field. I was very proud of my father that day and learned a valuable lesson in mental toughness, and to never give up.
After coaching, Dad had a successful second career as an administrator for drug rehabilitation facilities. He loved helping young people and providing guidance. And, that is what he did for my sister and me and those around him. Dad could hold forth on any subject, especially politics, history, and of course, football.
Over the last 20 years, my sister, her family, my husband Jim and I spent many enjoyable holidays and visits with Dad and our stepmother, Bonnie. Last Memorial Day, we spent a fun family
holiday in Dad's beloved Destin, FL.
Over the last few years, Dad's health has been declining. My sister and I will be forever grateful for the love and care given to our father by Bonnie, especially in the last 3 months. I am also extremely grateful to those of you who threw the reunion party for Dad back in August. That meant so much to him to be honored by all of you.
I saw him about 10 days before he died,
and although he had been bedridden for some time, he told me that in the next week he was going to make a big effort to get better. He never gave up.
Faulkinberry remembered for strength, spirit
November 20, 2005 -
Saturday was Rivalry Saturday in college football.
Vanderbilt knocked off Tennessee 28-24, and somehow you knew that made Russ Faulkinberry's spirit smile.
Rarely has a coach believed more in the concept of the student-athlete than Faulkinberry, a Vanderbilt graduate who was laid to rest on Saturday after expiring last Wednesday at age 77.
Faulkinberry was famous for his imposing size and his stern discipline as football coach at the University of Louisiana from 1961-73.
He won 66 games in that time, still the most in school history, but was dismissed with one game remaining in a winless 1973 campaign.
How he handled that abrupt dismissal says as much about Faulkinberry the man as Faulkinberry the football coach.
"My father loved that job," said daughter Lee Faulkinberry Morgan. "For that last game, he had the family sit with him in the stands at Cajun Field. He never gave up."
Faulkinberry lost his father at age 4, was stricken with polio at 13 (leaving one leg shorter than the other) and yet still grew to play for Vanderbilt, so he wasn't about to abandon his players in the finale.
"Coach never got bitter," said Raymond Blanco, an assistant coach under Faulkinberry. "Even with the way he was released, and the embarrasing situation it put him in, he always stayed positive.
"He was above all that. He was very special in his forgiveness."
Among those present for Saturday's services at Our Lady of Wisdom chapel was Barbara Roy, whose late husband Dan "Sonny" Roy filled in for that 1973 finale against McNeese.
Also on hand were dozens of Faulkinberry's former Cajun players, including scripture readers Mike Neustrom and Dr. David Autin. They came to honor someone who meant more to them than a football coach.
"He was like your daddy," O'Neal Weber said. "He had to discipline you, but everybody loved him."
"I remember his single-minded outlook on the world," said former tackle Jim Doyle, like Weber one of the pallbearers on Saturday. "There was not a lot of gray with Coach."
There was, however, room to grow.
"He was tough, demanding and commanding," said La. Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Raymond Blanco's wife. "And he was operating in a male-dominated world of football.
"But, one of the things he was not was a male chauvinist. He had a lot of respect for women, and I appreciated that. He always included the coaches' wives. He taught all of us to be broad, to look around the world and to be inclusive."
Former wide receiver Nate Thornton recalls that inclusive spirit as one of the early African-American players in the program.
"When I got here in 1970, there were three African-Americans on the team and we brought six with my recruiting class," Thornton said. "At that time, it was the first time for a lot of things for the university and athletics in general.
"But I was a little unusual. Most of the African-Americans coming to the program at that time had gone to all-black schools. But I went to E.D. White (in Thibodaux) and David Autin and I were used to being together.
"It was harder for them to get adjusted than me. Russ made sure everyone on the team was treated the same. That's why we were champions, and why we went to a bowl game."
Gov. Blanco noted near-legendary Mardi Gras day gatherings, featuring red beans and rice and the sight of Faulkinberry on a volleyball court, "making up his own rules."
Lee Faulkinberry Morgan couldn't resist explaining how her father's huge hands rendered him "always a hazard" in the kitchen, despite his status as a gourmet cook with his own local show.
The Rev. Harry Benefiel spoke of the sign that guided Cajuns under Faulkinberry which read, "Those who stay will be champions."
Faulkinberry also remained active in Lafayette after his coaching days, chiefly managing drug treatment programs.
"He gave a significant part of his life to USL and Lafayette, and we're all a lot better off because of his efforts," Neustrom said.
"Coach Lou Holtz once said that life is 10 percent what happens to you, and the other 90 percent is how you respond to it," Benefiel said.
Faulkinberry responded by never giving up. Just as importantly, he passed that spirit on to his players, coaches and family members. It's a spirit that's been silenced, yet lives on in those he touched.
Originally published November 20, 2005
Local leaders honor UL legend Faulkinberry
November 20, 2005 -
Former players recall visit with coach at reunion.
Russ Faulkinberry won 66 games as coach of Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns football team from 1961-73, still the most victories in school history, but he was remembered Saturday as someone whose influence far exceeded the field of play.
"Coach Faulkinberry had a unique gift, a gift of inspiration," the Rev. Msgr. Harry Benefiel said during funeral services for Faulkinberry at Our Lady of Wisdom chapel on the UL campus.
"His players not only learned their sport, but had the chance to be inspired by the way he taught them. His players are here to testify to his humanity and greatness."
Faulkinberry died Wednesday at 77 after a lengthy illness. Saturday's services took place next door to the site of an Aug. 13 reunion of his former Cajun players.
"At the reunion in August, you could feel how much all of the players respected him and loved him," said Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mike Neustrom, a Cajun linebacker from 1965-68. "He was obviously in pain and not feeling very well, but he stuck it out, and everyone had a marvelous time."
"That was an opportunity for his players to tell Coach face-to-face what he meant to them," Benefiel said. "When I left the student center that day, there were tears in my eyes.
"Very few of us will ever hear the words he heard that day. Most of us will be in a box when things will be said that should have been said years earlier."
"People saw my father as an unstoppable force, but he also had a softer side," Lee Faulkinberry Morgan said. "He was larger than life, but he was also a gourmet cook who had his own cooking show."
Faulkinberry's cooking ability impressed Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who was a young wife of UL assistant coach Raymond Blanco in the 1960s.
"He would get excited about recipes, and that gave me a lot of courage as a young wife," Blanco said. "He had great dimension. He taught us that life has complexities. He was educated with a world view beyond the athletic world."
Originally published November 20, 2005
Coach Faulkinberry's Obituary originally published in the Daily Advertiser, November 18, 2005
Russell Miller Faulkinberry
LAFAYETTE - Funeral services will be held at a noon Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, Nov. 19, 2005, at Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church for Russell Miller Faulkinberry, 77, who passed away Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005, at Lafayette General Medical Center.
Interment will take place at Lafayette Memorial Park.
The Rev. Monsignor Harry Benefiel will officiate the services and con-celebrant will be the Rev. Chester Arceneaux.
Coach Russ Faulkinberry was born in 1928 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. to Maggie and Coach Frank Faulkinberry Sr., who was head football coach at Middle Tennessee State College at the time.
In the 1940's, Russ played football, basketball and track in high school. He made all Mid-South in all three sports. He was captain of the football and basketball teams and was awarded the Headmaster's Award for Exceptional Merit. Upon graduation from high school, Russ accepted a football scholarship to Vanderbilt University where he played 40 varsity football games. At the age of 18, playing alongside much older World War II veterans, Russ made the All Southeastern Conference Freshman Team. He made the All SEC Sophomore Team and was 2nd Team All SEC in his Senior season. In addition, he was captain of the 1950 team. In 1951, he played in the Senior Bowl game and was awarded 3rd Team All American.
After college, Russ became head coach of football and basketball at Gallatin, Tenn. High School. In 1952 during the Korean War, he entered the U.S. Navy and was able to continue his coaching career as head coach of the 1952 Navy NTC football team the Wave (women's) basketball team.
In 1956, Russ left the Navy to become line coach at Southeastern Louisiana University. That year, they won the Gulf States Conference Championship. In succession, he served as an assistant coach for Iowa State, Texas A&M and the University of Nebraska before becoming head football coach at USL in 1961. In 1963, he changed the team nickname from "Bulldogs" to "Ragin' Cajuns". Later, the nickname was picked as the best in the nation, winning out over 354 other colleges.
Faulkinberry teams won the Gulf States Conference Championship in 1965, 1968 and 1970. The 1970 team played in an NCAA Bowl, the Grantland Rice Bowl, in Baton Rouge, La. Further, the 1970 team had the best single season record in the 97-year history of ULL Football with 9 wins, 2 losses, 0 ties, 0 forfeits. Unknown to most, the 1970 squad had six future medical doctors, three judges and countless successful CEO's, of which he was very proud. Russ Faulkinberry was named Conference Coach of the Year four times and was once named Louisiana Coach of the Year. After leaving ULL, he served one year as an assistant coach for the Jacksonville Sharks WFL team.
For the next 15 years, Russ was an administrator for alcohol and drug programs in hospitals. In 1979, he served as National Chairperson for the National Drug Abuse Conference (6,000 professionals). He produced an international drug convention, the largest of its kind. Subsequently, Russ was invited to speak at an international convention in Rome, Italy. While there, he served as an Emissary of the Diocese of Lafayette to Pope John Paul I.
After retiring, he was once again pressed into service as a football coach. In the spring of 1997, at age 68, he was asked to become Jake Delhomme's private coach and he also worked with Brandon Stokley. For the next five years, Jake and Russ worked together and Jake responded with a NFL Europe title. In 1999, Jake got his first NFL start for the Saints and John Madden awarded Delhomme with a MVP watch. Jake presented the watch to Coach Faulkinberry two days later. With Russ' off-season advice and hard work, Jake improved to take the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Jake was a runner-up for the MVP award.
Russ was selected to the All American Coach's Hall of Fame in 2000. As of 2005, Russ is the winningest coach in the 97-year Ragin' Cajun football history. He was also named coach of the quarter century team. Russ attributed good coaches, good assistants and players, along with a lot of luck, for his successes.
Survivors include his wife, Bonnie Faulkinberry, of Lafayette; children, Lee Faulkinberry Morgan and husband, Jim, of Orlando, Fla., Mary Faulkinberry Helenius and husband, Carl, of Tampa, Fla., and their two children, Christian Russell Helenius and Linnea Frances Helenius; four step-children, Isaac Hanks and his wife, Melissa, of Baton Rouge, La., and their children, Emily, Sara, and Ashley Hanks, Robert Hanks and his wife, Mollie, of Crowley, La., and their children, Matthew, Nicholas and Isabelle Hanks, Cherami Hanks Bass and husband, Aaron, of Baton Rouge, La., and their children Lauryn, Claire and Tyler Bass, and Mitchell Hanks, of Covington, La.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Frank Faulkinberry Jr.; and sister, Mary "Tee" Faulkinberry Bettes.
Visitation will be observed from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. today and will continue from 8 a.m. Saturday until the time of services.
A rosary will be prayed at 7 p.m. this evening.
Pallbearers will be Jim Doyle, Mickey Faulkinberry, Carl Helenius, Jim Morgan, Edward Pratt, Edwin Preis, Tom Pritchard and O'Neal Weber.
Honorary pallbearers will be Brian Soignier, Jake Delhomme, Isaac Hanks, Robert Hanks, Aaron Bass, Mitchell Hanks and all former football players.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Coach Russ Faulkinberry Memorial Athletic Fund. Send donations to UL Office of Development. P. O. Drawer 43410, Lafayette, LA 70504.
Personal condolences may be sent to the Faulkinberry family at www.delhommefuneralhome.com
Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette, (337) 235-9449, is in charge of all funeral arrangements.
Originally published November 18, 2005
Coach Russ Faulkinberry Remembered
November 17, 2005 - Coach Russ Faulkinberry is prominent throughout the Athletic Network. His acheivements as a player and coach are documented in various ways in his extensive profile.
Pictures of Coach Russ Faulkinberry are posted throughout the Football Link of the Photo Gallery. You may view some pictures by clicking the photo gallery, then football, then any year 1961- 1973.
Also, you may view pictures of the Faulkinberry Reunion held in August, 2005. To view that link, click on the photo gallery, then football, then the Faulkinberry reunion at the top of the listing.
Coach Faulkinberry was a strong supporter of the Athletic Network. Please click on the photo gallery, then Athletic Network Events, then Annual Meeting 2004, then scroll down to the third row of pictures...his radiant smile is evidence of his enjoyment of the moment.
Your prayers for him and his family are appreciated. Funeral arrangements will be posted in the AN News as soon as they are received.
Former UL Football Coach Dies
November 17, 2005 - Faulkinberry, 77, remembered as someone who shaped lives.
Russ Faulkinberry cast a big shadow as a football coach at the University of Louisiana from 1961 to 1973, and his legacy grew larger as his players went on to succeed in their lives after college.
Faulkinberry died at age 77 on Wednesday at Lafayette General Medical Center after an extended illness. His former players remembered him as someone who helped shape their lives beyond the playing field.
"I was an only child," said Nate Thornton, who played at UL from 1970 to 1974, "and after what he came and told my mother, Notre Dame could have offered me a scholarship the next day and I still would have played for him.
"He said, 'If you let your boy come to USL, I promise he'll get an education, he'll go to church and he'll be a better man.' And I think he did all that.
"Most of us who played for him didn't realize that until after our careers were over."
It was Faulkinberry who invented the mascot "Ragin' Cajuns" to describe UL athletes, since the majority of his players came from South Louisiana. His teams were 66-62-2 during his stay at the school.
Nelson Schexnayder played on the 1970 Cajun team and later served as the school's athletic director. He said Faulkinberry taught his players lessons that lasted a lifetime.
"The thing I remember is his intensity," Schexnayder said. "He demanded the best of us. He told us to do everything we could to be successful, and as a result we had success as a team."
But Coach Faulkinberry also had a soft heart, said Edward Pratt, who played from 1964 to 1967.
"You respected him and came to realize that he loved his players," Pratt said.
He also inspired those who worked alongside him. UL Dean Raymond Blanco was an assistant coach under Faulkinberry.
"I came to this university because of Coach Faulkinberry," he said. "Anybody who was ever around him will always have a part of their lives influenced by him."
And that influence is part of his legacy, said Lafayette businessman O'Neal Weber, a quarterback under Faulkinberry from 1962 to 1965.
Weber recalled the hard years leading up to the 1965 Gulf States Conference title that marked a turning point.
"During the four years before we started winning, it was plain hell," Weber said. "He disciplined you, but it was for your own good. He was like your father. He gave us things we needed to have to pass on to our kids, and to their kids."
Weber and Jim Doyle were among those who helped organize a tribute to Faulkinberry last summer, attended by dozens of his former players.
"In a way, that was an opportunity for him to feel and see what we thought of him," Doyle said. "Sometimes, those things go unspoken, but it gave many of us a chance to say a special goodbye."
Originally published November 17, 2005
Ex-players recognize Faulkinberry
October 28, 2005 - Dan McDonald
One of the Cajun Field murals depicting the history of University of Louisiana football has undergone an "extreme makeover," and now honors the winningest coach in Ragin' Cajun history.
Longtime coach Russ Faulkinberry is featured in a recent addition by prominent multimedia artist Robert Harris, whose update was formally unveiled Thursday as part of the university's Homecoming celebration.
Faulkinberry coached the Bulldogs/Cajuns from 1961-73, and his 66 career wins are the most for any UL football coach. His teams won three Gulf States Conference championships and made one of the school's two bowl appearances, playing in the Grantland Rice Bowl in 1970.
"Many of his former players wanted to do something to recognize coach Faulkinberry," said UL director of athletic development Gerald Hebert, "and show the mark he made on the program, including his efforts to get this stadium built."
Harris was one of several local artists to lend their talents to the stadium's murals, and Hebert said that former players O'Neal Weber, Ed Pratt, Mike Neustrom and Nolan Sharon among others commissioned Harris to add to his mural located near the Louisiana Classics room.
Hebert said that the updated and expanded mural is part of an ongoing effort to both showcase the history of the UL program and upgrade the school's athletic facilities.
SPECIAL TEAMS FOCUS: Coach Rickey Bustle always emphasizes special teams play, and this week is no different.
Troy's Trojans boast a dangerous return man in sophomore Leodis McKelvin, who has returned 21 punts for 248 yards (an 11.8-yard average) and a 73-yard touchdown as well as 18 kickoffs for 470 yards (26.1) and a 100-yard scoring runback.
Each time the Cajuns punted or kicked off on Thursday, Bustle yelled for his coverage squads to keep McKelvin in their sights.
"He's a good one," Bustle said. "We've got to make sure we stop him."
HURRY UP: The Cajuns, who worked for just under two hours in shorts and helmets on Thursday, staged a pair of hurry-up offensive drills based on trailing late in a half and needing quick yardage and a score.
The first such march culminated in a touchdown pass from Michael Desormeaux to Corey Fredrick, while a similar advance led by Jerry Babb ended with a Julian Harris interception.
THAT'S THE TICKET: Fullback Booker Jenkins recalled the moment he felt the Cajuns would win at Middle Tennessee. It was the fourth-down screen pass to Dwight Lindon that kept the winning march alive.
"The whole time I felt it was just a matter of time," Jenkins said. "We just had to put one (drive) together.
"That call on fourth down on that screen to Dwight was big. One the sidelines, he had told me that he wasn't feeling too good about the game. But then he got in, stepped up and made a play.
"That's when I knew we were going to win the game."
Originally published October 28, 2005
On the Line: Faulkinberry recalls molding cohesive unit
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns get back to work today, trying to find the missing ingredient that will help UL post its first winning season since 1995.
It's a ritual as old as football itself, one that includes heat, humidity, running, passing, catching, hitting, teaching, learning, frustration and fulfillment - often all at once.
Russ Faulkinberry, the school's all-time leader in victories with 66 from 1961-73, is well-acquainted with this time of year,
"I remember that everybody hated it," Faulkinberry said of preseason drills. "The Louisiana sun is unforgiving. It's kind of a grind, but we tried to make it bearable.
"When I came here, we started having two water breaks, sometimes three."
That idea was semi-revolutionary 40 years ago, but it's something subsequent generations have discovered to be a must.
But before we get all mushy about Faulkinberry the softie, we should check in with next Saturday's reunion of former Cajun players who will gather to honor Faulkinberry from 2-5 p.m. at the Jeanmard Hall at Our Lady of Wisdom Chapel on the UL campus.
There are bound to be more than a few tales shared about those days, when undersized players from area high schools (and a few beyond) banded together to win games and launch the nickname Ragin' Cajuns.
"They said they're going to send a limousine and a police escort to my house in Youngsville to come get me," Faulkinberry said. "It'll probably scare the neighbors.
"I'm trying to round up our 13 grandchildren (ages 3 to 8) to come. When they hear some of the stories, they're going to think their grandpa is crazy."
Former Cajun quarterback O'Neal Webre is ramrodding the gathering, much as he led more than a few scoring drives in the 1960's.
"I'm just sitting back and enjoying it," said Faulkinberry, who does see a major difference in today's teams and his squads.
"In the spring, we could lift weights, run and do wrestling, but we couldn't go on the field like they do now," Faulkinberry said. "I didn't think I'd ever see that. If I did, we could have been in midseason form at the beginning of the year.
"We did things to work on body control and quickness, but weren't able to be on the field until August."
Modern high school programs routinely work year-round on football, so they come to college better equipped in many ways to attack the college game.
They're also more physically gifted than athletes 30 and 40 years ago.
Coach Rickey Bustle's 2005 Cajuns have running backs bigger than some of the offensive guards Faulkinberry fielded, an example of how much bigger and faster athletes in general are now.
"People used to say 'Faulkinberry likes those small, quick backs,'" Faulkinberry said. "No, I liked big, quick backs, but I couldn't get them.
"In those days, LSU would take 50 or 60 guys every year, and Tulane was good, too. Those schools would take players they knew couldn't play for them, but they didn't want someone else to have them.
"If everybody had taken 30 (per year), that would have helped. It would have put a lot of No. 2 and No. 3 players on the market."
As it was, Faulkinberry and his staff needed to teach the game and make the best of their material.
"We couldn't get that good player," Faulkinberry said. "We had to develop good players out of average ones."
Almost by necessity, those Cajuns were also expected to be student-athletes - something Bustle has also made a priority with his players.
"We kind of went at it backwards," Faulkinberry said. "They knew if they came here, they would get their education or they would not stay. We wanted kids with character who could play hard, hit hard and hustle.
"That wasn't the way it was when I was growing up, but I had a different background. My father coached at Middle Tennessee and also taught Latin. The year I was born, 1928, he got a master's degree. My mother was a teacher.
"I went to schools that were attached to the university, then I went to Baylor Prep High School in Chattanooga and then Vanderbilt. I was raised on getting a good education, so I stressed that here.
"Some of the modern players are not complete players. It looks like the better they play, the less academically inclined they are."
Webre led the Cajuns in passing in 1963, '64 and '65, but totalled 1,144 yards for those three years. That could be a three-game total in today's game, and the increase in passing joins bigger, stronger athletes as big changes Faulkinberry has seen.
The former UL leader has helped tutor modern Cajuns like Jake Delhomme and Brandon Stokley on finer points of the game as they grow as NFL stars. He also stays in contact with his players.
"We've got a lot of them still in this area," Faulkinberry said. "I see them, talk with them and go to lunch with them on occasion, but they're busy with their families and their lives. I'm just an added factor at this point.
"I feel good about the way they've turned out. I'm proud of them."
Originally Published Aug. 7, 2005
Head Football Coach, 61-73, 66-62-2 record. Most wins for any coach in history of program.
Coach Russ Faulkinberry was born in 1928 in Murfreesboro, TN to Maggie and Coach Frank Faulkinberry, Sr. Frank was Head Football Coach at Middle Tennessee State College at the time.
In the 1940's, Russ played football, basketball, and track in high school. He made all Mid-South in all three sports. He was captain of the football and basketball teams and was awarded the Headmaster's Award for Exceptional Merit. Upon graduation from high school, Russ was offered 29 division 1A football scholarships as well as receiving a basketball scholarship offer from Kentucky. He played 40 varsity football games at Vanderbilt University and the four years 1947 thru 1950 were the best four years dating 1932 to 2004 at Vandy. At the age of 18, playing alongside much older WWII Veterans, Russ made the All Southeastern Conference Freshman Team. He made the All SEC Sophomore Team and was 2nd Team All SEC in his Senior season. In addition, he was captain of the 1950 team. In 1951, he played in the Senior Bowl game and was awarded 3rd Team All American.
Russ' first coaching experiences were at 14 and 15 years old. During WWII, specifically 1943, only the larger cities in Tennessee played football games that year. He formulated the idea to divide the Jr. High and Sr. High (inactive) players into two teams. Russ was Head Coach for the white team and a deferred 4F Coach led the black team. The game, a benefit for the the College Air Force Detachment, ended in a 7-7 tie. Again in the 1943-44 basketball season, his Jr. High team were unable to get opponents. Russ petitioned the Sr. High District to let his Jr. High team participate in their division. They gleefully accepted. Once again without a coach, he became Head Coach of the basketball team. They lost to Murfreesboro (TN) Central by one point in the District finals. Invited to the Mid-State Tournament, they advanced to the semi-finals. Coach Faulkinberry made both All District and All Mid-State.
After Vandy, Russ became Head Coach of Football and Basketball at Gallatin(TN) High School. In 1952 during the Korean War, he entered the US Navy and was able to continue his coaching career. The 1952 Navy NTC team adorned with All-American and Pro players played against the Rams, Redskins, Southern Cal, and Arizona State. The NTC team played in the Armed Forces Championship Bowl on national television. Four other Navy games on were broadcast nationally as well. They were invited to play in the 1953 New Year's Day Salad Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona, a forerunner to the Fiesta Bowl. They won 82-20. During his Navy tenure, Russ was a line coach for a Navy-Marine All Star Team against the Washington Redskins. The Washington team was held to 47 yards rushing. As Head Coach of the Wave (women) basketball team, they won the West Coast Armed Forces Championship. In 1955, he coached an All-Star Navy basketball team to the Armed Forces Championship. In 1956, Russ left the Navy to become line coach at Southeastern Louisiana. That year, they won the Gulf States Conference Championship. In succession, he served as an assistant coach for Iowa State, Texas A&M, and the University of Nebraska before becoming Head Football Coach at USL in 1961. In 1963, he changed the team nickname from "Bulldogs" to "Ragin Cajuns". Later, the nickname was picked as the best in the nation, winning out over 354 other colleges. Faulkinberry teams won the Gulf States Conference Championship in 1965, 1968, and 1970. The 1970 team played in an NCAA Bowl, the Grantland Rice Bowl, in Baton Rouge, La. Further, the 1970 team had the best single season record in the 96 year history of UL Football with 9 wins, 2 losses, 0 ties, 0 forfeits. Unknown to most, the 1970 squad had six future medical doctors, three judges, and countless successful CEO's. This is an unchallenged all time national record. Russ Faulkinberry was named Conference Coach of the Year four times and was once named Louisiana Coach of the Year. After leaving UL, he served one year as an assistant to the Jacksonville Sharks WFL team.
For the next fifteen years, Russ was an administrator for alcohol and drug programs in hospitals. In 1979, he served as National Chairperson for the National Drug Abuse Conference (6000 professionals). He produced an international drug convention, the largest of its kind in the world. Subsequently, Russ was invited to speak at an international convention in Rome, Italy. While there, he served as an Emissary of the Diocese of Lafayette to Pope John Paul I.
After retiring, he was once again pressed into service as a football coach. In the Spring of 1997 at age 68, he was asked to become star UL quarterback Jake Delhomme's private coach. After Jake had been passed over by the NFL, Faulkinberry and Jake worked for a tryout for the Saints. Ditka signed him on the spot. For the next five years, Jake and Russ worked together and Jake responded with a NFL Europe title. In 1999, Jake got his first NFL start and John Madden awarded Delhomme with a Most Valuable Player watch. Jake presented the watch to Coach Faulkinberry two days later. With Russ'off season advice, Jake improved with hard work to take the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Jake was a runner-up for the MVP award.
In Coach Faulkinberry's career, he coached Bob Brown, recent NFL Hall of Famer; Ron McDole, twelve years with the Redskins; Monte Kiffen, Tampa Bay defensive coordinator; Jake Delhomme and Brandon Stokely, UL greats.
Russ was selected to the All American Coach's Hall of Fame in 2000. As of 2004, Russ is the winningest coach in the 96 year Ragin Cajun football history. He was also named coach of the quarter century team. Russ attributes good coaches, good assistants and players along with alot of luck for his successes.
Submitted by Coach Russ Faulkinberry
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Head Football Coach from 1961-73 and compiled at record of 66-62-2, the highest win total by a Ragin' Cajun coach.
|Coaches:|| 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973|
|Military Veteran:|| 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956|
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