AUSTIN, Texas -- A veteran coordinator at Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Alabama, Les Koenning has been named wide receivers coach at The University of Texas, head coach Charlie Strong announced Wednesday.
A coach with 33 years of experience, Koenning (KENN-ing) spent the last five of those at Mississippi State, elevating the offense to its highest levels in school history in addition to helping the Bulldogs play in four straight bowl games for the first time in school history. During that time Koenning orchestrated the top four seasons in school history in total offensive yards, the top two in passing yards and scoring, the top four in passing TDs, and two of the top four in rushing TDs.
Koenning also coached the top four quarterbacks on the career completion percentage chart in MSU history in Tyson Lee, Tyler Russell, Dak Prescott and Chris Relf. Russell ranks first in career passing efficiency and TD passes, second in completion percentage and third in passing yards and completions.
"I have known Charlie for a long time and am thoroughly, thoroughly impressed with the way he coaches football," said Koenning. "I'm just happy to be a part of this because he is a very successful coach, and being able to help him at The University of Texas was really exciting for me."
In 2013, the Bulldogs set a single-season record for total offense with an average of 434.4 yards per game, bettering the previous record of 422.0, set in 1982. In fact, three of the top five averages in MSU history have fallen under Koenning's guidance (2013, 2010 and 2012). Mississippi State also set the school record in total yards with 5,647, passing yards with 3,178, completion percentage (.590) and completions (253), all of which were marks set previously by offenses under Koenning.
In Koenning's offense, WR Jameon Lewis, who in 2013 led MSU with 64 catches (No. 2 on MSU's single-season receptions list) and 923 receiving yards (No. 3 on the single-season receiving yards list), was the only player in the country with five-plus receiving touchdowns, three-plus rushing touchdowns and three or more passing touchdowns. Despite missing two games, QB Dak Prescott passed for 1,940 yards and 10 TDs while also leading the team and setting a school record for rushing yards by a QB with 829 and 13 TDs. Meanwhile TE Malcolm Johnson earned second-team All-SEC honors with 30 receptions for 391 yards and two TDs.
The offense's production in 2013 all happened behind a line anchored by one of the top linemen in the country in OG Gabe Jackson who earned second-team All-America and first-team All-SEC honors. Mississippi State finished the season 7-6, including a win over Rice in the Liberty Bowl.
During the 2012 Bulldog season, Koenning directed the Bulldog passing attack to four different then-school records through the air – passing yardage, completion percentage, completions and touchdowns. All but the passing touchdowns record were then broken in 2013. The Koenning-led offense also set a school record in points scored (383). Russell set MSU records for completions, total offense and TDs responsible for, while RB LaDarius Perkins rushed for 1,024 yards and eight TDs, and WR Chad Bumphis caught 58 passes for 922 yards and 12 TDs to earn second-team All-SEC honors. Jackson also earned the first of his two first-team All-SEC selections, this time by the Associated Press.
In 2011, the Bulldog offense set the then-school record for passing touchdowns in a season (19) and finished second all-time in school history in total offense and first downs at that time. Koenning's offense finished in the top 10 nationally in passing yards, completions and completion percentage. RB Vick Ballard rushed for 1,189 passing yards and 10 TDs en route to a spot on the All-SEC second team, along with Jackson, who joined him in the honor. Ballard went on to be selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by Indianapolis. Relf also set the single-season school record in completion percentage at 60.0. The Bulldogs secured another winning season at 7-6 with a win over Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl.
The year before, State placed among the top 10 in school history at the time in passing yardage, completion percentage, passing touchdowns, rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, total plays, total offensive yards, total offense average and first downs. MSU also finished second in the SEC and 16th in the nation in rushing offense with an average of 214.9 yards per game. Offensive guard Derek Sherrod was named second-team All-America and first-team All-SEC before being drafted in the 2011 first round by Green Bay. Ballard came up just short of the 1,000-yard mark with 968, but registered a school single-season record 19 rushing TDs, while Relf registered a passing efficiency rating of 140.99 (No. 3 on MSU's single-season list).
The Bulldogs posted a 9-4 record including a win over Michigan in the Gator Bowl to finish ranked 15th in the Associated Press and 17th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, their highest final ranking in each poll since 1999.
In 2009, Koenning's first season, Mississippi State had the nation's ninth-ranked rushing offense (227.6 ypg) led by RB Anthony Dixon, who was sixth in the nation with 126.5 yards per game for a total of 1,391 and 12 TDs. Dixon was a first-team All-SEC honoree who was later chosen in the sixth round of the 2010 draft by San Francisco. Sherrod was also named second-team all-conference for the offense.
Koenning came to Mississippi State from South Alabama, where he spent 2008 helping to establish the foundation for the newly developed Jaguars program that began play in 2009.
Prior to that, Koenning spent five years on the Texas A&M staff, serving as offensive coordinator and working with the quarterbacks. During his time there he oversaw the development of both Reggie McNeal and Stephen McGee. McNeal set a then-single-season school record with 2,791 passing yards in 2004, while McGee put together two seasons that ranked in the top 10 at that time in 2006-07. McNeal also finished his career as Texas A&M's career passing leader with 6,992 yards and rushed for 1,889 yards, while McGee left in fourth place with 5,475 passing yards combined with 1,750 rushing yards. Both players would go on the be drafted with McNeal selected in the sixth round of the 2006 draft by Cincinnati, and McGee chosen in the fourth round of the 2009 draft by Dallas. Seven other Aggies were also drafted who played under Koenning.
During Koenning's time, the Aggies posted two of the top three single-game offensive outputs with 719 yards against Baylor in 2003 and 714 yards against SMU in 2005. Prior to his tenure, Texas A&M had one season with 5,000 or more yards of total offense in its history, but posted that mark in three of Koenning's five seasons. He also led four seasons of at least 2,400 yards passing when there had been three in school history prior to that. The Aggies also had strong rushing seasons, ranking 13th in the nation in 2007 (211.6 ypg), eighth in 2006 (206.9 ypg) and 10th in 2005 (234.9 ypg). Under Koenning and head coach Dennis Franchione, the Aggies appeared in bowl games in 2004 (Cotton), 2006 (Holiday) and 2007 (Alamo).
Koenning went to Texas A&M from Alabama where he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for two seasons (2001-02). Alabama split time between Tyler Watts ad Andrew Zow in 2001, however Ahmaad Galloway led a rushing attack that ranked ninth in the nation (226.4 ypg). The 2002 team ranked 18th in rushing (213.2 ypg), while posting a 10-3 record. Shaud Williams and Santonio Beard carried the load with 921 rushing yards and 811, respectively, while Tyler Watts and Brodie Croyle shared time at quarterback. Center Alonzo Ephraim was a two-time first-team All-SEC honoree in the two years.
Before Alabama, Koenning spent one season as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at TCU in 2000. He was the offensive coordinator at Houston in 1999 and Duke in 1998 following a one-year stint in the NFL as an offensive assistant with the Miami Dolphins. Koenning had also served previously at Texas A&M as wide receivers coach from 1994-96, and he briefly held the same position at Duke in December of 1993 after also coaching wide receivers at Rice from 1990-93. His first experience at Mississippi State came from 1986-89 as running backs/wide receivers coach.
A native of Houston, Koenning began his career with graduate assistantships at Texas and Alabama before being named wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette in 1985. He graduated from Texas in 1981 with a degree in health and physical education, and added a master's degree in sports management two years later. He and his wife, Lisa, have two children, Les and Lana.
• 1981-83: Texas (Graduate Assistant)
• 1984: Alabama (Graduate Assistant)
• 1985: Louisiana-Lafayette (Wide Receivers / Recruiting Coordinator)
• 1986-89: Mississippi State (Running Backs / Wide Receivers)
• 1990-93: Rice (Wide Receivers)
• 1993 (Dec.): Duke (Wide Receivers)
• 1994-96: Texas A&M (Wide Receivers)
• 1997: Miami Dolphins (Offensive Assistant)
• 1998: Duke (Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks)
• 1999: Houston (Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks)
• 2000: TCU (Passing Game Coordinator / Quarterbacks)
• 2001-02: Alabama (Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks)
• 2003-07: Texas A&M (Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks)
• 2008: South Alabama (Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks)
• 2009-13: Mississippi State (Offensive Coordinator/ Quarterbacks)
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