ECU Football: Pirates bringing in Blake Harrell as defensive coordinator

Kennesaw State defensive coordinator Blake Harrell is being brought in by Mike Houston to fill the same role at ECU.

ECU head coach Mike Houston proves again how much he values loyalty by bringing in Blake Harrell. Harrell coached on Houston’s staff previously at Lenoir-Rhyne University and The Citadel. Harrell is also a former high school coach in Franklin, NC, where Mike Houston grew up. The familiarity between the two was likely the deciding factor of the hire.

The decision to move on from former defensive coordinator Bob Trott was made less than two weeks ago. ECU ranked 119th of 130 in total defense last season.

Who is Blake Harrell?

Blake Harrell is a graduate of Western Carolina University where he was a student assistant for the Catamount football team. After multiple high school coaching positions, Harrell started his collegiate coaching career at Lenoir-Rhyne University where he held multiple positions over his tenure. Under head coach Mike Houston, Harrell helped the Bears to a 13-win season and a trip to the Division II National Championship.

Following an extended tenure with Lenoir-Rhyne, Harrell was hired as the defensive coordinator for The Citadel. In his five years with The Citadel, Harrell helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back SOCON championships and as high as a No. 6 overall seed in the FCS Playoffs. Mike Houston and Blake Harrell helped lead the charge in what was considered the most successful time in the history of Bulldog football.

About one year ago, Blake Harrell was named the defensive coordinator of the Kennesaw State Owls. In his one season in Kennesaw, Harrell helped the Owls continue their recent success on defense. The Kennesaw defense ended the year ranked third in total defense,10th in scoring defense and 13th in turnovers gained. The Owls finished the 2019 season at 11-3 and ranked eighth nationally.