Texas Tech SC Coach Rusty Whitt nominated for Armed Forces Merit Award

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 16: Derrick Willies
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 16: Derrick Willies /

Texas Tech Football Strength and Conditioning coach Rusty Whitt has been named as an Armed Forces Merit Award finalist.

Rusty Whitt has been named as Armed Forces Merit Award finalist for the second consecutive season, the Football Writers Association of America announced on Wednesday afternoon.

The award is presented annually to the “individual and/or a group who has created, developed and produced a program within the realm of the sport of football that provides care, concern and support for past or present members of the United States Armed Forces and/or their families,” according to the Armed Forces Bowl website.

There are 38 nominees for the award, which includes six collegiate players, 12 administrators, two college referees, one college president, 14 college coaches, and three college programs, which include the Iron Rangers, NACDA’s partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project, and Mike Pereira’s Battlefield’s to Ballfields.

The 2017 recipient will be selected by a committee of five members from the FWAA, and two representatives from the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. According to the press release, “Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Executive Director Brant Ringler and FWAA President David Jones of the PA Media Group will make the announcement the week of November 5, 2017.”

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Coach Rusty Whitt received a nomination last season–his first as the Strength and Conditioning coach with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Coach Whitt was the strength and conditioning coach at Sam Houston State from 1998-2003, when he tabled his career in coaching to enlist in the United States Army. Whitt served from 2003-2009 as a Senior Communications Sergeant in the 10th Special Forces, where he received the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, two Iraqi Campaign Medals, and the United States Army Commendation Medal with Valor.

Coach Whitt returned to coaching in 2009 as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Rice, and after a six year stint with the University of Louisiana–Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, he was hired by Texas Tech at the beginning of 2016.

The concept behind Coach Whitt’s coaching strategy stems from his experience in the military, where he employs a challenging muscular endurance program specializing in “absolute strength, speed strength, explosive strength, absolute strength, and absolute speed,” as we previously covered in this article.

Here’s a clip from Texas Tech athletics on Coach Rusty Whitt’s personal development, and expectations from the athletes he coaches:

The finalists for the award in the past have included former Texas long snapper and fellow Green Beret Nate Boyer (’12), former Clemson WR and U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Rodriguez (’14), and most recently, Middle Tennessee State DE and Marine Steven Rhodes (’16).

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The announcement for the 2017 finalist will be made the week of November 5.