Tulane Selects Jon Sumrall As Next Head Football Coach

Dec 29, 2023

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Jon Sumrall has been named the 42nd head coach of Tulane’s football program, Ben Weiner Director of Athletics Chair David Harris announced Friday.

The Huntsville, Alabama native was one of the most successful head coaches in the country the last two seasons. He guided Troy University to a 23-4 record, two Sun Belt Conference championships and a pair of double-digit winning streaks. He was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of Year and was twice named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year honor. Sumrall returns to Tulane after serving as the Green Wave’s Co-Defensive Coordinator for three years (2012-14). In 2013, he was a crucial part of Tulane’s run to the New Orleans Bowl, the program’s first postseason appearance since 2002 and third since 1988. Sumrall also was named a finalist for FootballScoop Defensive Line Coach of the Year.

CSA is grateful to have assisted President Fitts and Harris on this Green Wave search.

“This is a landmark day for Tulane Football,” said Harris. “Jon’s passion for the game is unmatched and I really felt that in meeting him. The Green Wave will be in good hands under his leadership and we’re excited that he and Ginny have elected to make their family part of ours here at Tulane.”

Troy’s 23 wins during Sumrall’s two seasons as head coach are tied for the third most in the country (with Tulane), trailing only Georgia, Michigan and Washington. Additionally, Troy joined Michigan as the only two programs to win conference titles in 2022 and 2023.

“Under Jon’s direction we expect that our football team will continue on its current path and reach even greater heights,” said Tulane President Michael A. Fitts. “Our success in athletics reflects the momentum of the university as a whole in research, academics and service to our city and world. The future for Tulane is very bright indeed and the Wave is definitely on a roll!”

“I can’t thank President Fitts and David Harris enough for this opportunity,” said Sumrall. “Having spent some of the early part of my career here, I came to know, first-hand, what it means to be a Tulanian and got to meet so many wonderful people at Tulane. Ginny and I are beyond grateful for the chance to experience that again and I can’t wait to get back to work with the Wave!”

The 2023 campaign marked the second straight season that Sumrall and the Trojans posted a 10-game winning streak – Troy ended 2022 with wins in its final 11 games – after defeating App State, 48-23, in the 2023 Sun Belt Championship Game. Troy’s two victories in the Sun Belt Championship Game came by an average of 22.5 points; the other three SBC title games were decided by a combined 26 points.

During Sumrall’s tenure, Troy was 12-0 against opponents on its side of the Sun Belt, and three of the Trojans’ four losses came to teams either ranked in the Top 25 at the time or ended the season ranked.

His first season at Troy couldn’t have been scripted any better as the Trojans won the only bowl matchup pitting two conference champions by defeating UTSA in the Cure Bowl. It was a season of firsts for the Trojans under Sumrall, as Troy finished the season ranked in a major poll for the first time in program history, checking in at No. 19 in the AP Top 25 and No. 20 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. Additionally, Troy’s appearance in the Coaches Poll and College Football Playoff Poll after its Sun Belt Championship Game victory were also firsts for the program. For his efforts, Sumrall was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year.

Sumrall was named Troy’s football head coach on December 2, 2021, and returned to the Trojans after spending three seasons (2015-17) as the assistant head coach on Neal Brown’s staff.

Promoted to co-defensive coordinator on Mark Stoops’ staff at Kentucky (Sumrall’s alma mater) prior to the 2021 season, Sumrall coached the Wildcats’ inside linebackers for the squad that finished the season with a 10-3 record and ranked as high as No. 22 in the country. Kentucky finished with the nation’s No. 25 defense in addition to ranking third in fourth-down defense, 20th in rushing defense and 13th in defensive touchdowns.

During his first stint at Troy, Sumrall helped lead the Trojans to a pair of bowl victories, the school’s first since 2010, the 2017 Sun Belt Conference title, and a stunning victory at LSU. The Trojans won a (then) school-record 11 games in 2017, and the Troy defense ranked first in the nation in red zone defense (.614), second in tackles for loss per game (8.6), seventh in rushing defense (105.3), 11th in scoring defense and 24th in total defense per game (336.6).

Sumrall was a three-year letterwinner at middle linebacker at Kentucky from 2002-04. He started every game in 2004, leading the Wildcats with 72 tackles. He also excelled off the field as he was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was selected to the Frank G. Ham Society of Character. After earning his degree in finance in 2005, Sumrall served as a graduate assistant for the Wildcats during the 2005 and 2006 seasons under head coach Rich Brooks.

He left Kentucky in 2007 and spent five seasons under head coach Ron Caragher in various positions at San Diego, including defensive coordinator during his final two years.

Sumrall was a two-time all-Alabama performer and a four-year letter winner at Grissom High School. He was inducted into the Huntsville-Madison County Hall of Fame in April 2023.

Sumrall is married to the former Ginny Nixon, also of Huntsville, and the couple has four children, Sam, Sadie, Stella and Selah.

For the full release from Tulane Athletics, click HERE.

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