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Jacob Russell, Campbellsville University alum, is next head coach for Fighting Tiger football

Jacob Russell, the new head coach for Campbellsville University Fighting Tiger football, said his expectations for the Fighting Tiger football are to be great, win championships and excel both on and off the football field. (Campbellsville University Photo by Leinner Corrales)

One of the most decorated players in the history of Campbellsville University Fighting Tiger football is coming home.

Jacob Russell is taking the reins as the next head coach for the Campbellsville Fighting Tiger football team.

Russell, a native of Lawrenceburg, Ky., becomes the fifth football coach in the history of the program. He was introduced during a press conference Tuesday, March 14, in the Powell Athletic Center.

His selection comes after a nationwide search that considered more than 80 candidates for the position.

Jason England, director of the Big Maroon Club and chair of the search committee, said, “Our search was extensive and thorough, producing many qualified candidates for the position. Jacob Russell, however, set himself apart as he brought ways to develop his staff and student-athletes on and off the field.

“His coaching style enhances our institution’s mission and propels Fighting Tiger football to the next level.”

Russell is a 2016 graduate of Campbellsville University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. He was a member of the Fighting Tiger Football team for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

“Not many people get to have their dream job, and for me, I get to enjoy my passion for football and use that passion to impact the hearts of young men,” Russell said. “I’m excited. This is going to be an unbelievable experience. My family and I are blessed to be here.”

Russell laid out the expectations he has on the field for Fighting Tiger football.

“Our on-the-field expectations are to be great,” Russell said. “It will be to win championships, to have a team that is exciting to watch, that competes at every single thing we do, both on and off the field in the classroom and community.”

Jacob Russell

He is second in program history in career passing yards at 6,703 and second in career passing touchdowns at 66. He also holds the program record for passing touchdowns in a single season, throwing 38 touchdown passes in 2015.

“Jacob was a proven leader during his time as a player for the Fighting Tiger Football team,” Jim Hardy, director of athletics at Campbellsville University, said. “Leadership qualities, a keen ability to recruit and develop talent and extensive knowledge of the game were what we sought in our next football coach.

“Jacob fits perfectly into our athletic mission of developing student-athletes academically, athletically and spiritually. He was very balanced and intentional in the way he would develop and grow these areas in his program. Jacob brings all of this to the table and is the ideal choice to lead this program.”

Russell most recently served as head coach for the Kentucky Christian University Knights football team. Under his direction, the Knights improved nationally in every major offensive statistical category from Russell’s first season to his second season. The Knights also finished with the second most points and yards in program history in the 2022 season.

Defensively, the Knights finished first in pass defense nationally in 2021 and were fourth in turnovers forced in 2022. They also finished fifth in the nation in defensive touchdowns.

“We are pleased to welcome back one of our own to Campbellsville University,” Rusty Hollingsworth, vice president for student services and athletics, said. “Fighting Tiger football has a rich tradition of excellence, both on the field and in the classroom. As a former player, Jacob is the ideal candidate to continue this tradition and lead Fighting Tiger football to continued success on and off the field.

Russell was also the offensive coordinator, recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Union College Bulldogs football team for two seasons. Russell’s leadership improved the Bulldogs’ offense from 89th to 34th in points per game in the nation. Union College also improved from 80th to 31st in total offense per game nationally.

Prior to his stint at Union College, Russell served one season as the quarterbacks coach at Webber International University in Babson Park, Fla.

Russell established and oversaw a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) chapter at Union College. He is a member of First Christian Church in Lawrenceburg.

Rusty Hollingsworth, vice president for student services and athletics at Campbellsville University, introduces Jacob Russell as the next head coach for Campbellsville University Fighting Tiger football. (Campbellsville University Photo by Leinner Corrales)

“Not only is Jacob a leader on the field, but he is also a leader off the field with his Christian example,” Dr. Joseph Hopkins, president of Campbellsville University, said. “Jacob has a heart for his players and their success in both the classroom and life.

“We are excited to have Jacob lead the program and to see the difference he will make in the lives of our student-athletes. I am excited about where we are going, to have a person who is a man of God and a man of family who understands our core values to be a champion of character, to be a champion in the classroom and on the field and in life.

“We’re grateful for that kind of person to lead our program.”

Dr. Joseph Hopkins, president of Campbellsville University, said Jacob Russell a heart for his players and their success in both the classroom and life. (Campbellsville University Photo by Gerard Flanagan)

Russell and his wife, Dannika have two children: Naomi and Cyrus.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs including doctoral, master, bachelor, associate and certificate programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.

Jacob Russell, second from left, was introduced as the next head coach for Campbellsville University Fighting Tiger football. Joining Russell were, from left, his children, Naomi and Cyrus, and his wife, Dannika. (Campbellsville University Photo by Alexandria D. Dalton)