BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Head coach Tyson Helton’s first assistant coaching staff is now
complete as Andy LaRussa (special teams/safeties) and Mike Goff, a 12-year NFL
veteran on the offensive line and 2005 All-Pro, have joined the program.
Both coaches come to The Hill from the University of Southern California where
LaRussa worked as a special teams analyst while Goff assisted with the development
of the offensive line.
As an assistant with the Trojan special teams, LaRussa helped USC to the third-best
punt return unit in the Pac-12 (10.5 per return) and a league-high pair of return
touchdowns in the punt game from Tyler Vaughns and Devon Williams. The Trojans were
equally as dangerous in the kickoff return unit as their 22.6 yards per return
tanked No. 4 in the Pac-12. Sophomore Velus Jones continued his climb into USC’s
career kick return yardage list and finished the 2018 campaign inside the top 10.
The Trojans also led the Pac-12 with four blocked kicks.
Prior to his move to Los Angeles, LaRussa spent three seasons at UNLV as the special
teams coordinator and safeties coach for the Rebels. Converted quarterback Troy
Hawthorne picked up All-Mountain West honorable mention accolades after a 2016
season in which he posted 107 tackles, second-most among all Rebel defenders, to go
along with 5.5 tackles for loss, four passes defended, and five forced fumbles.
Hawthorne’s five forced fumbles led the MWC that season.
Before UNLV, LaRussa spent the previous two seasons at Colorado, overseeing the
cornerbacks in 2014 and the defensive ends in 2013. He moved to Boulder after two
seasons at San Jose State, coaching the cornerbacks and serving as assistant special
teams coordinator for the Spartans. His first assistant job came at Northern Arizona
in 2009-10 after spending four seasons as a defensive graduate assistant for the
Rebels from 2005-08.
LaRussa played for two seasons at Glendale (Calif.) College before transferring to
Southern Utah, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 2002. He played
professionally for a brief time with the Ostia Marines of NFL Italy and also was a
member of the Italian National Team.
He holds dual citizenship in the United States and Italy. Born in Reno, Nev.,
LaRussa graduated from St. Francis High School, where he lettered in football,
basketball and baseball. He is married to the former Briana Bernardi, a former UNLV
softball player, and the couple has two daughters: Giana and Alessandra.
Goff comes to The Hill following four years on the USC staff where he assisted with
the offensive line, a position group he is very familiar with after a 12-year NFL
career that included an All-Pro accolade in 2005.
His career in the NFL included a runs with the Cincinnati Bengals (1998-2003), San
Diego Chargers (2004-08), and Kansas City Chiefs (2009). Goff started 154 of his 171
career games in the league after he was drafted in the third round of the 1998 NFL
Draft following his collegiate career at Iowa. Goff was a four-year letterman for
the Hawkeyes and started his final two seasons.
While assisting with the offensive line at USC, tackles Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler
were All-American first teamers and All-Pac-12 first teamers (Banner also was a
finalist for the Senior CLASS Award) in 2016. The USC offensive line was a
semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award. USC ranked sixth nationally in sacks allowed
(0.9) and seventh in tackles for loss allowed (4.4). USC played in the Rose Bowl. In
2015, Banner made the All-Pac-12 first team, center Max Tuerk was a third round pick
in the NFL Draft, and USC played in the Holiday Bowl.
Goff previously served as a volunteer assistant coach at San Diego State for 2
seasons (2010-11), working the offensive line, as the Aztecs played in the 2010
Poinsettia Bowl and 2011 New Orleans Bowl, and as an assistant coach at Hilltop High
in Chula Vista (Calif.) in 2014.
He played football (prep All-American) and wrestling (sectional heavyweight champ)
at LaSalle (Ill.)-Peru High. Goff earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies
from Iowa in 2012.
While living in San Diego after his retirement from the NFL, he was a local sports
radio and television analyst. In 2007, he cut his signature long hair and donated it
to Locks of Love.
Goff and his wife, Jessica, have a daughter, Harper.