Jan. 11, 2003
PULLMAN, Wash. - Kelly Skipper, with 14 years of collegiate coaching experience at UCLA and Fresno State, has joined the Washington State University football staff, according to head coach Bill Doba.
Skipper, a 1989 Fresno State graduate, began his coaching career in 1989 with his college mentor Jim Sweeney. For the past five years, he was the running back coach for Bob Toledo at UCLA, including serving the past two years as offensive coordinator.
"Kelly must have buried all his skeletons because everyone we called had nothing but good things to say about him, from high school coaches to former head coaches he worked for and people who worked with him," Doba commented. "He is a disciplined coach and an excellent recruiter."
"We needed a coach who has been in the Los Angeles and Southern California area and he has done that for both UCLA and before that with Fresno State," added Doba. "He brings a little of the two-back offense with him, just in case we ever want to add that to our offense. He's coached some great players and done a great job with them."
Skipper began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at FSU in 1989 and two years later joined Sweeney's staff as a full-time coach. He tutored running backs and return specialists while a member of the Bulldog staff. Seven of his backs earned all-conference honors, helping FSU to four conference championships and four bowl games. Three FSU teams during his career ranked in the top 20 nationally in rushing yards per game.
The newest Cougar assistant joined Bob Toledo's staff in 1998. Following three seasons as the Bruin's running backs coach, Skipper was named the offensive coordinator in 2001. He also served as the kickoff return team coach before being named a coordinator.
During his first season as offensive coordinator at UCLA, Skipper tutored DeShaun Foster, who set a school record with 301 rushing yards against Washington. Foster also became the first Bruin to rush for over 1,000 yards in the first seven games of the season. Six of Skipper's running backs went on to sign NFL contracts, including Foster who is with the Carolina Panthers.
"Washington State has a great program and I am thrilled to be a part of Bill Doba's new era," Skipper said. "The opportunity to coach running backs and coach special teams is a great challenge and something I am looking forward to," he added.
At FSU Skipper earned a bachelor's degree in business while lettering four years for Sweeney. As a senior he earned Associated Press All-America honorable mention honors and was a first-team All-Big West running back. During his career FSU was 36-9-1, with Skipper rushing for 2,237 career yards to rank in the Bulldog top 10 list. He also scored 28 career touchdowns.
The Brawley, Calif., native attended Churchill High in Eugene, Ore., while his father was a member of the Oregon football staff. He earned All-State honors as a running back and played in the Oregon Shrine Game following his senior season. He also earned varsity letters on the baseball diamond.
Skipper's father Jim is a long-time assistant coach in the NFL and currently a member of the Carolina Panther staff. His younger brother Tim was a standout linebacker at Fresno State and is currently coaching at Western New Mexico.
Skipper is the final assistant hired by Doba and the fifth new coach Doba has added to his staff. Returning from former head coach Mike Price's staff are offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller, tight end coach and recruiting coordinator Robin Pflugrad and defensive line coaches Robb Akey and Mike Walker. The new coaches are Skipper, Ken Greene (secondary), Leon Burtnett (linebackers), George Yarno (offensive line) and Timm Rosenbach (quarterbacks).
Seven of Doba's assistants have served as an offensive or defensive coordinator during their careers, Levenseller, Pflugrad, Skipper, Akey, Burtnett, Yarno and Rosenbach.