|Position:||Assistant Coach-Inside Linebackers|
Rusty Wright, formerly the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Chattanooga, coaches the Georgia State inside linebackers on head coach Shawn Elliott’s first staff. He also oversees the special teams and serves as the Panthers' recruiting coordinator.
In his first year with the Panthers, the 2017 GSU defense set season records for fewest points per game (24.75), fewest rushing yards per game (136.4), fewest yards per rushing attempt (4.13) and most sacks (24).
Before coming to Georgia State, Wright spent the previous four years (2013-16) at Chattanooga in his second stint at his alma mater. In addition to coaching the linebackers all four years, he took on the role of special teams coordinator in 2015.
He helped coach the Mocs to three straight appearances in the FCS playoffs, including a quarterfinals berth in 2014, four consecutive seasons of eight or more wins and one Southern Conference title and two SoCon co-championships.
In 2016, Wright coached All-America linebacker Nakevion Leslie. During his tenure at UTC, five of his linebackers earned first-team all-conference honors, including two selections in 2016. Punt returner Tommy Hudson, tutored by Wright in 2014, earned All-America recognition.
Before returning to UTC, Wright worked two years helping build a new program at NAIA-member Reinhardt University in Waleska, Ga., where he was the defensive coordinator.
Wright served four years (2005-08) as an assistant at Miami (Ohio), where he was the special teams coach and defensive assistant for two years before becoming the defensive line coach his final two years there. In 2007, the Miami defense led the Mid-American Conference in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense and quarterback sacks. The Red Hawks won MAC East titles in 2005 and 2007.
In 2004, Wright served as the defensive coordinator at Butler. He also spent one season coaching defensive line at Gardner-Webb (2009), and one year as the linebackers coach at Furman (2010).
Wright was a four-year letterman at Chattanooga from 1992-95. He caught more than 50 passes as a tight end in his career, playing on offensive units that included future NFL players Terrell Owens, Jerry Ellison and Marrio Grier.
He began his coaching career on the Mocs staff, serving seven seasons (1996-02) in various roles, coaching the linebackers, tackles, tight ends, special teams and the junior varsity squad.
The native of Petticoat Junction, S.C., earned his degree in sports administration from Chattanooga in 1996. Wright is married to the former Kelley Black, who was a volleyball letterwinner at UTC, and the couple has one daughter, Madison, a basketball player at Belmont.