In his third season with the Indiana State football program as an assistant coach is Harold Etheridge. He is in his second season as the Sycamores' offensive coordinator and also works with the offensive line.
In 2011, Etheridge became the Sycamores' offensive coordinator and helped the Sycamore offensive become a potent unit while the team earned its second consecutive winning season.
Leading the offensive attack for the Sycamores was Shakir Bell, who finished tied for second nationally in voting for the Walter Payton Award. Bell was also named to a school-record four First Team All-America squads and earned First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference as well as the MVFC Offensive Player Of The Year honors.
Bell led the nation in rushing with 1,670 total yards and a 151.8 per game average. His 1,670 yards this season broke the school record for single-season rushing yards and rank eighth in league history. Bell also broke the single-game rushing record when he rushed for 256 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries in ISU's victory over Youngstown State on Sept. 24. Those 256 yards against the Penguins are the 12th highest single-game total in MVFC history. For the year, Bell hit the end zone 14 times.
The Sycamore offense had five representatives on the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference list as Alex Jones, Brock Lough and FN Lutz were all named first team selections in addition to Bell. Ben Geffert was a second team selection while quarterback Ronnie Fouch was an honorable mention pick.
Donald Spencer, who transferred into the program from Michigan State was named to the MVFC All-Newcomer team while Lutz and Michael Mardis were named to the MVFC All-Academic Team.
Etheridge made an immediate impact on the Sycamore football in his initial 2010 campaign. The Sycamores enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2010 as the team enjoyed a 6-5 record, a third place finish in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the program's first winning campaign since 1996.
Individually, the Sycamores had two student-athletes on the offensive line honored by the MVFC following the 2010 season on its all-conference honors list. On the second team were TE Alex Jones and OL Pat Burke.
As a team, the Sycamore offense was a record setter in 2010. The offense scored 351 points this season which broke the old school record of 319 set in 1992. ISU reached the end zone a total of 48 times, which is also a new school standard. In 2009, the Sycamores scored just 12 touchdowns and tallied 99 points (which were lows all-time for the Sycamores) and transformed themselves in just one season to the best offense in the history of the school. Prior to 2010, no Sycamore offense had scored more than 50 points more than once in any season, but the Sycamores did just that three times.
Indiana State finished 2010 ranked third in the MVFC and 14th nationally by averaging 31.91 points per game and was in the Top 40 in rushing offense, passing offense and total offense as well. The Sycamores averaged 411.8 yards of offense per game, which was fourth in the league and 17th nationally. Individually, Darrius Gates averaged 10.6 points per game, which led the MVFC and was second in the nation.
Etheridge came to Indiana State from Washington State where he worked for the past two seasons as the Cougars' offensive line coach.
Etheridge, a 22-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks, served as the offensive line coach at Northern Illinois during the 2007 season. There he coached tackle John Brost, an All-Mid American Conference and MAC All-Academic selection.
Prior to Northern Illinois, Etheridge spent three seasons as the offensive line coach at the University of North Texas. During his first season the Mean Green led the Sun Belt Conference and ranked 23rd nationally in rushing offense at 196.3 ypg, paced by nation's leader Jamario Thomas at 180.1 ypg. In 2005 Thomas again rushed for 1,000 yards while the offensive line ranked among the league leaders in fewest sacks allowed. North Texas linemen earned five All-Conference honors in his three seasons at the school.
Etheridge is no stranger to members of the Cougar staff, having served alongside current Cougar assistants Sears and Niekamp while all three were on Todd Berry's staff at Army. Etheridge spent four seasons as the Black Knight's offensive line coach (2000-03), where in 2001 and 2002 Army led Conference USA in fewest sacks allowed. In 2000, the offensive line paced the way for Michael Wallace, whose 115.7 ypg were tops in Conference USA and 16th nationally.
From 1991-99 Etheridge served as the offensive line coach at Illinois State under head coach Jim Heacock (1991-95) and Todd Berry (1996-99). The 1998 squad reached the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs while the 1999 team advanced to the national semifinals after capturing the Gateway Conference title. That team finished the year ranked No. 3. During his nine seasons Etheridge coached eight players to 12 all-conference honors and two players, Mike Rodbro and Andy Ziebarth, to All-America status.
Throughout his coaching career Etheridge has coached four All-Americans, 10 all-conference performers and two players currently on NFL rosters.
The Gallup, N.M., native began his Division I coaching career in 1989 at Kentucky, where he spent three seasons and a graduate assistant coach working with the offensive tackles.
He spent seven seasons in the prep coaching ranks at Gallup (N.M.) High School (1983-86) and Louisville's Ballard (Ky.) HS (1987-89). At Gallup, his teams made four playoff appearances and were district champs each year.
Etheridge was a four-year starting offensive guard for Western New Mexico (1979-82), garnering all-conference honors after his junior and senior seasons. Following graduation, Etheridge spent two seasons as the offensive line coach at Western New Mexico in 1982 and 1983. He earned a bachelor's degree in marketing and management from the school in 1982.
Etheridge, who in 2001 published a book entitled "Coaching the Front Liners," and his wife Jeanne are the parents of twins Clayton and Eliza (16).