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Beginning his third season as head coach of the Indiana State Sycamores is Lou West.

During an eventful 2006 season, West earned his first career collegiate coaching victory with a 28-22 victory over Missouri State on Homecoming. In addition, West tutored five different All-Gateway Football Conference selections and seven others who picked up academic all-conference plaudits as well. DB Bryan Jackson earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors as well last season.

Under the direction of West, former kicker Kyle Hooper set the Indiana State school record for points scored in a career as well as career field goal percentage. In addition, wide receiver Carl Berman became the second Sycamore in as many seasons to sign with an NFL team as he inked a free agent deal with the Washington Redskins.

In 2005, the Sycamore defense was led by senior Kyle Mitchell, who was an All-Gateway Football Conference First Team member. Mitchell, an 11-game starter at defensive end, broke the Indiana State career sacks record with 25.5. Mitchell recorded 57 total tackles over the year, including 35 solo stops while pacing the team with 13.5 tackles for loss. Linebacker Doc Gooden was an All-Gateway Second Team selection, giving West two all-conference nods in just his first year at the helm of the defense. Gooden paced the Sycamores with 81 total tackles, including 36 solo stops. He recorded one sack during the season while being credited with 5.5 tackles for loss. Gooden blocked a kick and had double-digit tackles in four Gateway Football Conference contests.

Last season, the Sycamore offense was simply spectacular. ISU broke the school record for passing yards in a season with 2,906. Quarterback Blayne Baggett set the ISU record for pass completions, pass attempts and yards in a season. Baggett’s 396 yards passing at Missouri State were a single-game record, and his 33 pass completions at Murray State also set a school standard.

Sycamore wide receiver Sam Logan etched his name in the records book by catching a school-record 77 passes during the season. Versus Murray State, Logan set a Gateway standard with 17 receptions en route to being named first team all-conference. Tight end Jamie Petrowski enjoyed a stellar final season with the program as he caught 57 passes for 517 yards en route to being named first team all-conference as well as Third Team All-American by The Sports Network as well as the Associated Press. Offensive center Mike Thorpe was a second team all-conference member while Baggett and tailback Andre Forte were honorable mention All-Gateway selections.

Also starring for the Sycamores in West’s inaugural season was kicker Kyle Hooper, who earned his second consecutive All-Gateway Honorable Mention selection. He saw action in all 11 contests, connecting on 10-of-14 field goal attempts. Hooper put together a string of 14 consecutive made field goals — stretching a streak that began last season. He booted a career-best 47-yard field goal against Southern Illinois, and made his first six field goal attempts of the season. Hooper was a Preseason All-American selection by CollegeSportsReport.com.

From 2001 until 2004, West worked as the defensive coordinator at the University of Toledo. While on staff with the Rockets, Toledo posted a 36-14 record, the eighth-best mark in all of Division I over that span. Toledo knocked off Miami (Ohio) 35-27 for the Mid-American Conference championship in 2004.

Over his four years with the Rockets, they won two MAC championships, and three MAC-West titles. Toledo earned three bowl game invitations with West in charge of the defense. The Rockets have defeated five Top 25 teams and have recorded eleven comeback wins when trailing by double digits with West on the coaching staff.

During the 2004 season, the Rockets finished fourth in the league in rush defense (113.4) and had two defenders earn All-MAC honors. In 2003, the Rockets finished fifth in scoring defense (23.8) and fifth in rush defense (150.1), while two Rockets garnered All-MAC plaudits.

In 2001, the Rockets’ defense was second in the MAC in rushing yards allowed (105.6), second in total defense (321.8), and third in scoring defense (25.5). Toledo claimed the MAC and Motor City Bowl Championships in his first season on staff. During the 2002 season, the Rockets produced a pair of All-MAC linebackers in Tom Ward and David Gardner, as they made their second-consecutive bowl appearance.

Prior to joining the Rockets staff, West worked as the safeties coach at the University of Notre Dame for two seasons (1999-2000). In West’s first year, A-Jani Sanders led the team in tackles for loss and was named to the All-Independent squad. Sanders, along with fellow safety Deke Cooper signed free agent contracts with NFL teams. Cooper is in his third full season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. During West’s second season (2000) in South Bend, Ind., the Fighting Irish went 9-3 and made an appearance in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Tony Driver, a free safety for the Irish, was drafted in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills after earning All-Independent squad honors.

From 1995-98, West served as the defensive backs coach at Virginia Tech. In 1998, the Hokies ranked second nationally in interceptions (23), fourth in scoring defense (12.9), seventh in total defense (284.9), and 11th in pass efficiency defense (103.4 rating). Virginia Tech also led the Big East in scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense and passing defense during the 1998 campaign. The Hokies picked off three passes en route to a 38-7 win over Alabama in the Music City Bowl that season.

During his four years at Virginia Tech, the Hokies appeared in four consecutive bowl games and posted a combined win-loss mark of 36-12 (.750). In 1995 (Sugar) and 1996 (Orange) the Hokies participated in New Year’s Day Bowl games under the Bowl Alliance. VT ranked in the Top 25 in three of his four years on staff. Under his tutelage, five Hokies garnered First Team All-Big East honors, while one player earned second team accolades. Two players (Torrian Gray and Antonio Banks) were selected in the first four rounds of the 1997 National Football League Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, while Pierson Prioleau was a fourth-round selection of the San Francisco 49ers in 1999.

West spent one season as the secondary coach at Kent State (1994) after six seasons (1988-93) as defensive backs, outside linebackers, and tight ends coach at Cincinnati. He began his career as a graduate assistant with Arizona in 1977 before working as the defensive backs coach at Arizona Western JC from 1979-80. West took over as defensive backs coach at Middle Tennessee State for two seasons (1981-82) before spending the 1983 season with the University of Minnesota. From 1984-85, he worked at Western Michigan University as defensive backs coach.

A product of Niles, Ohio, West graduated from McKinley High School before attending the University of Cincinnati (1973-76), where he played defensive back. West earned three letters and recorded four interceptions and six fumble recoveries during his career. Following his senior campaign, he played in the Blue-Gray Classic and the North-South Shrine Bowl. West earned his bachelor’s degree from Cincinnati and his master’s degree from Arizona in 1980.

West and his wife Gail, are the parents of four children – Andre, Adrian and Alexandria West as well as Orenthal Magazine.

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