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Carl Torbush was named head coach of the East Tennessee State University football program on June 21, 2013, and tasked with resurrecting a program that will kick off a new era of play in the fall of 2015.
Torbush, whose career includes head coaching stops at North Carolina and Louisiana Tech, has built a strong reputation as an outstanding defensive strategist after having served as a defensive coordinator at six FBS programs, including Alabama, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Kansas, Texas A&M and UNC.
The most notable coaching stop on Torbush's resume was at North Carolina, where he served as defensive coordinator from 1988-97 before being promoted to head coach for three seasons (1998-2000).
While at North Carolina, Torbush's defenses led the ACC in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and he was named National Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 1996. As head coach of the Tar Heels, Torbush guided UNC to a pair of bowl wins, capturing the 1997 Gator Bowl and the 1998 Las Vegas Bowl. In total, Torbush has been a part of 11 teams that have made bowl appearances.
A 1974 graduate of Carson-Newman College, Torbush spent the 2012 season as linebackers coach at Liberty University under the direction of head coach Turner Gill. In 2010, Torbush also worked under Gill as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Kansas.
Prior to joining Gill at Kansas, Torbush spent six out of the previous nine seasons as an FBS defensive coordinator at Mississippi State (2009), Texas A&M (2003-05) and Alabama (2001-02). During each stop, Torbush had direct oversight of each program's linebacking corps.
During his time at Alabama, Torbush helped guide the Crimson Tide to a No. 3 final national ranking in total defense during 2002 and he was named SEC Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002.
Sandwiched between his three FBS defensive coordinator stops, Torbush returned to his alma mater and served as assistant head coach and linebackers coach at Carson-Newman for three seasons (2006-08). During that three-year span, Carson-Newman posted a 25-8 record, spotlighted by a 10-1 record in 2007.
Prior to his days at North Carolina, Torbush served one season as head coach at Louisiana Tech (1987).
Torbush got his coaching start at Carter High School in Knoxville in 1974 before joining Baylor's staff as a graduate assistant in 1975.
Torbush received his first full-time coaching position in 1976 at Southeastern Louisiana, where he spent four years as a linebackers and defensive ends coach (1976-79). He also served as the head baseball coach at the school from 1976 to 1979. While at Southeastern Louisiana, his teams won a Gulf South Conference Championship and he was named the league’s coach of the year in 1978.
Following a three-year stint at Louisiana Tech (1980-82), Torbush was named the defensive coordinator at Mississippi for four seasons (1983-86). During his final year, the Rebels led the SEC in total defense.
During his playing days at Carson-Newman, Torbush was a letterwinner in both football and baseball, earning NAIA All-America first team honors in both sports. The success of his collegiate playing days has earned him a spot in both the Carson-Newman and Knoxville Sports Halls of Fame.
Prior to starting his football coaching career, Torbush played one year of minor league baseball in the Kansas City Royals organization (1975).
Torbush, a native of East Spencer, N.C., earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Carson-Newman in 1974. He would go on to earn a master's degree from Baylor in physical education in 1976. He and his wife, Janet, have one son, Trey.
What others are saying about Coach Carl Torbush:
“I believe Carl Torbush is the right coach at the right time to bring ETSU football back. I also believe he will be competing for Southern Conference championships very soon. Carl brings a wealth of experience and unlimited energy to the challenges ahead. He has had success at all levels of football, and he understands recruiting student-athletes that make their academics important. He will be a great mentor as these young men grow from adolescence into manhood. Carl knows how to build character and leadership on his team and staff, and he knows how to communicate with the administration and faculty. He will work at making football relevant and important to the ETSU family.”
University of Tennessee Head Football Coach (1992-2008)
College Football Hall of Fame Member
“The biggest thing about Coach Torbush was he set standards, and he preached accountability all the time. He expected us to do things the right way, to work hard, and to be a student first and an athlete second. During the 1990s, our defenses at UNC were some of the best in the nation. Those numbers didn’t lie. He set goals for us and as a unit we fulfilled them. What fans can expect is a coach that is always prepared. He will set a plan and get it done. I was honored to play under him, and he was a big part of why I was able to go do what I did in the NFL. He believed in us as players and as people. I’m really happy for him to get this opportunity at East Tennessee State.”
Former North Carolina All-American (1996-98)
11-year NFL veteran, All-Pro Cornerback and Super Bowl XXXIV champion
“Coach Torbush is one of the most well-respected coaches in all of college football. He has been very successful and has coached at all levels of the game. He has deep roots in the East Tennessee region, and I wish him and his staff the best of luck as they re-start our football program.”
Current Atlanta Falcons Head Coach, 2008 NFL Coach of the Year
Former ETSU linebacker (1978-81), ETSU Hall of Fame member
“I have known Carl Torbush since our days together going to college at Carson-Newman. He was a tremendous athlete and a great student, and he always treated everybody the same – like they were the most important person in the world. He always has time for people, whether they are the president of the university or a janitor. They don’t come any better. While he’s a great football coach, he’s an even better person. He’s a class act in every aspect of his life. He will make the people of East Tennessee State proud, not just because of his football knowledge, but how he will represent the people of East Tennessee.”
University of North Carolina Women’s Basketball Head Coach
“The best way to describe Coach Torbush accepting this new opportunity to build a program at East Tennessee State is that – for the university – it’s an absolute home run. He is without question one of the finest coaches in the country. I have watched him since he began his career. He brings expertise and knowledge to any program, but even more important, he’s the type of person that if I had son, I’d want him to play for Coach Torbush.”
Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
Outside Linebackers/Special Teams
Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
Strength and Conditioning
Dr. Brian Johnston, Ph.D., ATC
Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine