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PROVO, Utah (Feb. 7, 2005) -- Head coach Bronco Mendenhall today announced Louisiana Tech assistant coach Patrick Higgins has been selected to fill the final vacancy on the Cougars' coaching staff. Higgins will be responsible for coaching outside receivers and will coordinate special teams.
"Patrick is a perfect fit for this staff and for this team," Mendenhall said. "He has a demanding coaching style that emphasizes intensity and effort. With over 16 years of coaching experience, he also has the technical expertise. He is also a great man with solid spiritual and moral values. These things are very important in his life."
Higgins comes to BYU from Louisiana Tech where he spent one season as the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator. Prior to Louisiana Tech, Higgins spent six seasons at Texas-El Paso where he served as the quarterbacks and receivers coach in 1998 and '99 before being elevated to the offensive coordinator for the Miners for the 2000 season.
"It's an honor for me to coach for such a great institution," Higgins said. "The whole moral, character-building aspect of what BYU stands for is what really attracted me to this job. In addition, BYU is one of the most recognized programs in the country. I hope I can contribute to helping shape the lives of the young men that BYU is known to produce."
As the offensive coordinator for UTEP through the 2003 season, Higgins' offense posted 30 or more points on 16 different occasions and 40 or more points eight different times over that span. He helped lead the Miners to the 2000 Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl against Boise State in 2000, and ranked 22nd nationally in scoring offense, 27th nationally in passing offense and 36th in total offense that season. From 1999 through 2001, the UTEP offense averaged over 403 yards per game.
While at UTEP, Higgins worked with 22 All-WAC performers, including Brian Natkin who was also an All-American tight end for the Miners. Over his career, he has mentored 12 different players who have gone on to sign NFL contracts.
In 1997, Higgins coached running backs at Columbia University in New York City. From 1994-96, he served as the offensive coordinator and special teams coach at NCAA Division II Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where he was also responsible for coaching quarterbacks and receivers. In both 1994 and 1996, the Rams finished ranked among the top-16 Division II teams in total offense.
Higgins was head coach at St. Andrews Prep in Savannah, Ga., in 1993 and also served as head coach at William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa in 1992. In 1991, he served as the defensive coordinator at Quincy University; and in 1990, he was the offensive coordinator for the Hawks. The previous year, he was the receivers coach at St. Cloud State in St. Cloud, Minn.
Higgins also brings a wealth of recruiting experience to the coaching staff. He has recruiting ties in Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, North Carolina, Maryland, Iowa, Florida, Washington D.C. and Illinois.
The 41-year-old native of Pendleton, New York graduated from William Penn University in 1986 with a degree in chemistry and a minor in biology. Higgins was twice honored as a football Academic All-America selection, and was a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society. In 1989, he earned a master's degree from St. Cloud State University in exercise physiology. He is married to Karen Laroche.
On Monday, Mendenhall also identified the coaching assignments for the 2005 season. As the defensive coordinator, Mendenhall will oversee the defense, with Barry Lamb coaching safeties, Brian Mitchell working with the cornerbacks, Paul Tidwell coaching the linebackers and Steve Kaufusi coaching the defensive line.
Robert Anae will serve as the offensive coordinator and will coach the inside receivers. Higgins will work with the outside receivers, Jeff Grimes will continue coaching the offensive line, Brandon Doman will coach the quarterbacks, and Lance Reynolds will coach the running backs.
"I'm really pumped up about BYU's new offense," Higgins said. "That offense has produced a lot of points and a lot of yardage. It's a lot of fun. You're never out of the game with this type of an offense."