Tulsa hires Bill Blankenship as football coach

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“You know, the one thing I’ve learned about faith is it’s hard when you look this way,” he said, motioning forward as his voice broke slightly. “It’s easy when you look back.”

At Tulsa, he’s worked with special teams, wide receivers and running backs during his four years. Among his proteges is ace kick returner Damaris Johnson, who broke the NCAA’s career record for all-purpose yards this past season as a junior.

Blankenship said that assistant coaches Van Malone, Jess Loepp and Archie McDaniel will remain on Tulsa’s staff.

Blankenship said he hadn’t yet spoken with Graham but that he wanted to do so to ask the departed coach to not try and recruit players who already have committed to Tulsa.

“We’ll have that conversation, I’ll promise you,” Blankenship said.

Blankenship’s hiring was popular with several players who attended the announcement, including running back Trey Watts.

“You feel like you know what he’s about,” Watts said. “You feel more comfortable having one of your guys. You don’t have to create a new relationship. … We just love this guy to death.”

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