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Whitten, Norton Join Football Staff

Todd Whitten and Ben Norton have joined the Sam Houston State University football coaching staff. Whitten will serve as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach and Norton will be the Bearkats' offensive line coach, SHSU Head Football Coach Ron Randleman has announced.

Whitten has served the past two seasons as offensive coordinator at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. He previously was head football coach at Tarleton State University (1996-97), backfield coach at the University of Texas at El Paso (1994-96), quarterback coach and recruiting coordinator at New Mexico State University (1990-1994) and as a graduate assistant coached quarterbacks at Texas Tech (1988-1990). He was recognized as Lone Star Conference "Coach-of-the-Year" at Tarleton in 1996.

Norton comes to Sam Houston State University from Eastern Illinois in Charleston, IL, where he was offensive line and tight ends coach for two seasons. He previously coached at LSU (1996-97), Vanderbilt (1994-96) and Angelo State (1994). Eastern Illinois was the runner-up in the Ohio Valley Conference and earned a number 21 NCAA I-AA national ranking in 1997.

Norton produced NCAA I-AA All-America offensive lineman selections in both 1997 and 1998 and had four offensive linemen earn all-conference honors last season after leading the league in rushing and fewest sacks allowed.

"Todd Whitten and Ben Norton are two of the top young offensive coaches in college football and we're extremely pleased to welcome them as Bearkats," said Randleman. "With spring training set to begin the final week of March, these two are going to have to hit the ground running. They're going to be assets to our staff."

Both Whitten and Norton are graduates of Stephen F. Austin State.

Whitten was a three-year starter at quarterback in 1983-86, earning All-Gulf Star Conference honors and ending his career ranked as the Lumberjacks' second all-time leader in career passing with 6,304 yards and 60 touchdown throws.

He signed a free agent contract with the New England Patriots in 1987. He also was a three-year starter as an outfielder in baseball. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in education from SFA in 1987 and his Master of Science degree in sports administration from Texas Tech in 1990.

Norton was a four-year football letterman for the Lumberjacks in 1989-92 and was a member of the 1989 SFA team that played in the NCAA Division I-AA national championship game. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology/physical science in 1993.

He was a Dean's List and President's List student at SFA. He received his Master of Education degree in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University in 1997.

For more information about Sam Houston State intercollegiate athletics, check out the Bearkat Athletics Web site.

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Media Contact: Paul Ridings
March 4, 1999
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