John Baxter – University of Southern California
FootballScoop is proud to announce that John Baxter (USC) is the 2011 FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year presented by SpeedTracs.
University of Southern California associate head coach and special teams coordinator John Baxter has had the Trojans special teams performing at a very high level since his hire in March of 2010. Baxter joined the Trojans from Fresno State, where he spent 13 seasons building a reputation for some of the most consistent and potent special teams play in the nation. That success has followed him to USC. As a former winner of this award told FootballScoop, “He’s the Master!”
Lane Kiffin told FootballScoop, “We’ve known John since our days at Fresno State in the mid-1990s and we immediately came to appreciate his abilities as a special teams coach and as an educator. Upon becoming USC’s head coach last year, we made sure he was one of our first hires. It is obvious that his coaching skills, his attention to detail and his creativity in all phases of our special teams have paid huge dividends. Under John’s direction, our special teams play has become a model throughout the nation. For the second year in a row, we blocked 7 kicks and some of those were game-changing or momentum-turning plays. Our kicker, punter and returners are among the most effective in the nation. Further, his work with our players in their academic pursuits, through his innovative ‘Academic Gameplan’ program, has gone a long way to turning out well-rounded student-athletes.”
This season, Baxter’s special teams unit blocked an impressive 7 kicks / punts (3rd nationally), and he wasn’t opposed to using one of the team’s top players, offensive lineman Matt Kalil to get pressure. The 6’7 295 pound Kalil ended the season tied for 1st nationally with 4 blocked kicks. The threat of a block surely weighed heavily on each kickers’ mind as USC only allowed opponents to convert on 57% of their field goal attempts (#15).
First team all conference kicker freshman kicker Andre Heidari decided to enroll early (spring of 2011) for the Trojans, and has provided an instant spark. The field goal unit ranks 5th nationally in field goal percentage (88%). Heidari has nailed 15 of his 17 attempts, along with going a perfect 50 of 50 in extra point attempts. Heidari was one of only two freshmen in the country to go the season perfect in PAT attempts. The freshman was extremely consistent kicking on the road as well, converting on 89 percent of his kicks (8 of 9).
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by SpeedTracs are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Baxter, Thomas McGaughey of LSU and John L. Smith of Arkansas) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. A panel of coaches including previous recipients determined the winner.
Previous winners of the Special Teams Coordinator of the Year award are James Shibest (Ole Miss, 2008), Mike Tolleson (Texas, 2009) and Joe Robinson (LSU, 2010).
|2nd Nationally – Field Goal %||3rd Nationally – Blocked Kicks (7)|
|Allowed zero blocks||100% on extra points|
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SpeedTracs provides sports performance tracking services and affordable, pro-caliber speed and agility training to the nation’s top high school and college sports programs. Its world-class training curriculums enable teams to train together on campus and under their own coaches, much the same way strength and conditioning training are available today via the school weight room. Through its acclaimed performance tracking software, SportsTracs™, athlete performance is tracked and measured to improve their speed, agility, explosion, strength, flexibility and endurance. For more information, visit www.speedtracs.com.