JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 4, 2015) – ETSU head football coach Carl Torbush announced Wednesday that he has added former N.C. State running back and NFL veteran Gary Downs to the Buccaneers’ coaching staff to direct the team’s running backs.
Downs – who has spent the last three seasons as head coach at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga. – played for ETSU offensive coordinator Mike O’Cain at N.C. State during the early 1990s, earning Academic All-ACC honors and was an All-ACC selection, finishing third all-time in rushing touchdowns and 10th in rushing yardage for the Wolfpack.
“We are very fortunate to hire Coach Downs,” Torbush said. “Gary will not only be a great football coach for the ETSU Bucs, but he will also be an outstanding role model for our young men and the community.”
O’Cain said he is pleased to be with Downs on the same sideline once again.
“What I remember about Gary – even more than his athleticism – was the great young man that he was at N.C. State, and we will be fortunate to add a person with that type of integrity and character to our coaching staff,” O’Cain said. “He will be a great example for our players, showing them what it takes to be an exceptional player, and more importantly, an exceptional student.”
Downs said he is grateful for the opportunity to join the ETSU coaching staff.
“I’m excited to be part of the re-launch of ETSU football,” Downs said. “I’m extremely honored to be a member of Coach Torbush’s staff. I can’t wait to be a Buc!”
Following his college career, Downs was drafted in the third round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Downs was a special teams leader for the Atlanta Falcons during their 1998 NFC Championship season, and he played seven seasons with three different NFL teams before retiring in 2001.
Downs began his high school coaching career with Riverside in 2003, serving as running backs coach. Downs went on to serve as offensive coordinator for Riverside from 2004-06 -- a period during which the Eagles won the 2005 Georgia Independent Schools Association state championship and played in the GISA semifinals in '04 and '06. From 2007 to 2011, he served in the role of offensive coordinator and head coach of track and field at Mount Pisgah Christian School.
Along with his prep coaching experience, Downs also had a brief stint as an Atlanta Falcons’ coaching intern and one season as running back coach with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe.
Coach Downs and his wife Tanya have a daughter Kameron (16), and sons Joshua (13) and Caleb (10).