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5 things to know about Alex Golesh

The Tennessee offensive coordinator is USF’s sixth coach, and the first born in Russia.
 
Then-Iowa State assistant coach Alex Golesh, left, and head coach Matt Campbell, right, dispute a call during a 2019 game.
Then-Iowa State assistant coach Alex Golesh, left, and head coach Matt Campbell, right, dispute a call during a 2019 game. [ MATTHEW PUTNEY | AP (2019) ]
Published Dec. 4, 2022|Updated Dec. 4, 2022

A few facts about University of Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh, who formally was announced as the sixth football coach in USF history Sunday:

1. Roots in Russia

Alex Golesh spent four seasons (2012-2015) as an assistant in various capacities at Illinois.
Alex Golesh spent four seasons (2012-2015) as an assistant in various capacities at Illinois. [ BRADLEY LEEB | AP (2015) ]

He was born in Moscow, Russia, but immigrated with his family to New York in September 1991, a month after hardline members of the ruling Communist Party staged a coup with the goal of ousting then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. His parents “gave up a good life for me and my brother to have a better life here,” Golesh told the Toledo Blade last month. “They worked nonstop. Still do.”

2. Cut his teeth in Columbus

Golesh didn’t play organized football until moving to Ohio at age 12, and he knew early on he wanted to coach. An Ohio State alumnus, he didn’t play college football, but was serving as a Buckeyes student assistant by age 20. “He would get responsibilities, and he would do them well, and then other coaches would say, ‘Hey, why don’t you do this for us?’” former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel told the Blade. “He was just non-stop, hard-working, very bright. He was like a sponge.”

3. Recruiting chops are revered

Bucs backup tailback Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who finished his college career at Vanderbilt, began it at Illinois, where he was recruited by Alex Golesh.
Bucs backup tailback Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who finished his college career at Vanderbilt, began it at Illinois, where he was recruited by Alex Golesh. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]

Though his Florida ties are minimal, Golesh’s recruiting chops are widely lauded. While recruiting coordinator at Toledo (2009-2011), the Rockets boasted consecutive No. 1 classes in the Mid-American Conference. He also served in the same capacity at Illinois and Iowa State; all three of those schools heavily recruit Florida. Among the players he brought to Illinois: current Bucs tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn (who later transferred to Vanderbilt).

4. Assistant of the year?

Alex Golesh has spent one season as a college coach in the state of Florida, serving as co-offensive coordinator at UCF in 2020.
Alex Golesh has spent one season as a college coach in the state of Florida, serving as co-offensive coordinator at UCF in 2020. [ AP (2020) ]

He is a finalist for the Broyles Award, which annually goes to the nation’s top college assistant. Though some debate whether Golesh or coach Josh Heupel calls the plays for the Vols, Golesh is officially the offensive coordinator for a 10-2 team that finished the regular season ranked first in Division I-A in total offense (538.1 yards per game) and scoring (47.3 ppg).

5. Married with children

A married dad of two, he was engaged to his wife, Alexis, during his time at Toledo.

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