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Two College of Education graduates join AU football staff

New Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn's approach to rounding out his coaching staff is moving almost as fast as the hurry-up, no-huddle offense he plans to unleash this fall.

Two of his recent hires have connections to Auburn University's College of Education.

New offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, 29, earned a master's degree in higher education from Auburn in 2009 while serving as a graduate assistant coach. New strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell, 32, earned a master's degree in adult education from Auburn in 2006.

Lashlee worked with Malzahn this past season as Arkansas State's offensive coordinator. The Red Wolves went 9-3 in the regular season, winning the Sun Belt Conference championship and earned a berth in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Malzahn's only season as head coach. Under his guidance, the Red Wolves ranked 17th nationally in total offense. Lashlee worked closely with Malzahn in structuring the offense and tutoring Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton during Auburn's 14-0 BCS national championship season in 2010. He left Auburn in 2011 to serve a one-year stint as Samford's offensive coordinator before reconnecting with Malzahn at Arkansas State.

"Rhett is one of the best young offensive minds in college football,” Malzahn said. “I’ve been with Rhett a long time and he’s been an incredibly valuable right-hand man. He has a great knowledge and understanding of Auburn and will be a tremendous asset for this program both on and off the field.”

Russell served as Arkansas State's strength and conditioning coach, but also has possesses strong ties to Auburn. He served as an assistant to previous strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall from 2009-10, and a graduate assistant on the strength and conditioning staff at Auburn from 2005-06.

"He is on the cutting edge in the strength and conditioning profession, and is a high-tempo, high-energy guy who fits well with our philosophy," Malzahn said. "He’s worked with very successful football programs and knows what it takes to get the most out of his athletes.”

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2012

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