Official: Rushoun Woods appointed Tyler High football coach

On Tuesday morning, Rushoun Woods was officially adopted into the Tyler ISD family as the board of trustees confirmed him as the new head football coach at Tyler High School.

“Nearly seven weeks after the opening of Tyler High football coach and nine weeks after the regular season ended, we have recommended Coach Woods to lead the Tyler High football program,” said Tyler ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford. “While his leadership qualities were in line with the expectations of the members of the community we turned to for advice, for me his football acumen stood out, especially when looking at what he did as a head coach in schools that were looking to return to successful status.”

Woods, who has had success as a player and as a coach at Oklahoma State, said he is looking forward to a new opportunity in Texas.

“I traditionally know that this is a place with famous athletes and a big program,” Woods said. “The community is actively involved in the success of the program. It means a lot to them. And these things will also be important to me. I am happy to be a part of this community and excited to start. I’m ready to do something good here.”

Woods was a two-time All-American wide receiver at OSU and still holds several high school and Big 12 records. After a short stint in the NFL and CFL, Woods became a high school coach.

“At first I wasn’t really interested in it,” Woods said of coaching. “But of course I had a couple of guys who called me about being in their high school program.”

Woods began coaching at Star Spencer High School in Spencer, Oklahoma.

“I got my chance, Spencer High School was my first opportunity,” Woods said. “It didn’t take long for me to realize that this is what I really like. When my playing career ended, I kind of wanted to step away from football for a bit, but that’s just not possible. Before you know it, you’ve learned a lot and you’ve created a lot of relationships in football and you just can’t get away from it, no matter how much you want to. To be able to come back to it, to connect with children and help these children succeed, to see smiles and genuine happiness on their faces, to see how they achieve their goals, is something that has become special for me.

Woods became head football coach at Marshall High School in Oklahoma City in 2012. In six seasons leading Marshall, Woods’ teams compiled a 55–18 record and won the Class 3A state title in 2017. Woods was named Oklahoma Coach of the Year. 2017.

Rushawn Woods, who trains at Enid High School in Oklahoma, pending Tyler ISD approval, is expected to be named Tyler High School’s new head football coach.

In 2019, Woods moved to Class 6A Enid High School (a student population comparable to a 5A-Division I school in Texas). Woods spent four seasons with Enid. During his tenure, he took the Plainsmen’s record from 0-10 to 6-6-1 last season. It was the program’s first unbeaten season in 10 years and their first playoff win in 16 years.

“These were places where people didn’t want to work,” Woods said. “I took advantage of these opportunities and people laughed at me. But I got my way, and as soon as I had the opportunity to get to know the children and win their trust and respect, everything changed very quickly.”

Woods has a career record of 67-49-1.

Crawford said what Woods has accomplished at these schools should excite Tyler fans.

“When Coach Woods arrived at his previous schools, they didn’t have the district and campus resources, team assets and facilities, fan base and tradition that Tyler High has,” Crawford said. “He had amazing success there and showered confidence on many others who were involved in the work that was going on at John Marshall and Enid.”

Woods was born October 17, 1980 in Oklahoma City. He attended Millwood High School.

He played for Oklahoma State from 2000 to 2003. He finished his college career with 293 receptions, 4,414 yards and 42 touchdowns, all Big 12 records. Woods made two appearances for the Americas, including being named First Team All-American in 2002.

Woods also holds the NCAA singles record for most touchdown receptions in a game (7 vs. SMU in 2003) and for most touchdown receptions in a half (5 in the first half of the same SMU game).

In 2001, he had a big TD catch in an upset win for the Cowboys over an Oklahoma rival.

Woods was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft and played professionally for the NFL’s Fotinainoors and the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.

Woods is replacing Ryklan Holmes, a high school graduate of John Tyler, an Oklahoma State high school graduate who retired in early December after an 11-year lead in the Lions.

Woods is only the Lions’ seventh head coach since 1991. The program has 12 double-digit seasons in that period, including the 1994 state championship.

Last season, the Lions finished 2-8 and missed the playoffs for only the third time since 2008 and the third time in six seasons.

While coaching and program building are fluid, Woods has a vision for his new job.

“It doesn’t matter how good your athletes are or not, what matters is discipline and execution,” Woods said. “That’s what I stand for, doing the right thing on and off the field, making sure we get our moves when we’re on the field, and the guys, making sure they know where they need to be. When you do these things, success follows you, and that’s what we’ll try to focus on as quickly as possible by talking to these guys and helping them understand what it takes to be successful. And in most cases, this requires much more than just physical gifts.

Woods inherited a program full of talent. The Lions have Derrick McFall who is currently a junior. McFall is ranked the nation’s 12th athlete in the class of 2024 in the 247Sports Composite.

Woods has also worked as a radio commentator and professional perch angler. So when he’s not leading the Lions, chances are you’ll find him on one of the many lakes in the East Texas area.

“Personally, it worries me a lot,” Woods said. “Family and I, being in this community, will be great. And the quality of life for me is something I look forward to. I’m a guy who loves to hunt. My dad is from Dangerfield, so we grew up with these things. You should be able to visit these places and have a good time when you have free time. If a guy loves golf, there are places to play golf. If they like to fish, there are fishing spots. The great thing about Tyler is that they seem to have a little bit of everything here. I am very excited and grateful to be here.”

Woods and his wife Jenny have three daughters, Taylor, Avery and Chloe.

“I would like to welcome Rushawn Woods and his family to Tyler,” said Tyler ISD Athletic Director Greg Priest. “When we talked to people about Coach Woods, you constantly heard “high character, big pros and cons and a strong leader.” The combination of these qualities with his ability to change problematic programs and bring them to success makes him the perfect fit for Tyler High.”

Phil Hicks contributed to this story.

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