Todd Whitten, a record-setting quarterback in the mid-1980s in the Southland Conference and the coach who set in motion the Bearkats’ current trend of offensive success, is beginning his fifth season as Sam Houston State head football coach.
In both 2006 and 2007, Whitten directed the Bearkats to SLC runner-up finishes and winning records. In addition, Sam Houston produced back-to-back 1,000-yard rushers for the first time in school history (D. D. Terry and Chris Poullard), the university’s all-time passing and total offense leader (quarterback Rhett Bomar) and ranked No. 6 in NCAA Division I FCS total offense.
In Whitten’s four year as head coach, eight Bearkats have been recognized as All-America and 44 athletes have been named All-Southland Conference a total of 54 times.
Whitten was named to lead the Bearkat football program on January 20, 2005, after directing Tarleton State University to a 45-23 record in six seasons. He earned "Coach of the Year" honors four times at Tarleton State, posting the highest winning percentage in the school’s NCAA Division II football history. His teams led the Lone Star Conference in total offense and passing yardage in 1996, 2000 and 2003. He coached 80 All-Lone Star Conference players and led the Texans to NCAA Division II post season play in 2001 and 2003.
Whitten served as Offensive Coordinator at Sam Houston State in 1999 when his offense led the Southland Conference in total offense and passing and was second in scoring. He tutored an NCAA Division I-AA All-American quarterback, Chris Chaloupka.
Whitten replaced Ron Randleman who retired in 2004 after 23 years as Sam Houston head coach. Randleman compiled a record of 219 victories, 166 losses and six ties that included five conference championships.
Whitten served as an assistant coach at Texas Tech, New Mexico State and Texas-El Paso before becoming head coach at Tarleton State in 1996. He was offensive coordinator at the University of Wyoming in 1997 before coming to Sam Houston in 1999. He rejoined the Texans as head coach in 2000.
Tarleton State became a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference in 1994 but had produced only a 21-42-1 record at that level between 1994 and 1999. Whitten quickly turned things around for the Texans.
From 2000 to 2004, Tarleton rolled up a 40-18 record that included the 2001 Lone Star title and the university’s first NCAA Division II national playoff appearance. The Texans won the Lone Star North Division in both 2002 and 2003. The Texans ranked 10th nationally in Division II final poll in 2001, 19th in 2002 and 20th in 2003.
Under Whitten’s leadership, Tarleton State has posted eight of the school’s 20 largest margins of victory and established more than 30 school records.
Whitten’s coaching career started at Texas Tech where he served as a graduate assistant coach working with the quarterbacks during the 1988 and 1989 seasons. He moved to New Mexico State as quarterback coach and recruiting coordinator from 1990 to 1993. He worked as offensive backfield coach at UTEP during the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
A native of Dallas, Whitten quarterbacked Kimball High School to a district championship before signing with Stephen F. Austin. He was a three-year starter in football and baseball for Stephen F. Austin State in 1985-87.
Whitten earned All-Gulf Star Conference as quarterback for the Jacks. He ranks second in SFA career passing yards (6,304) and touchdown passes (60). He was drafted in baseball by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983 and signed a free agent contract with the New England Patriots in 1987. He received his bachelor’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin in 1987 and his master’s in education from Texas Tech in 1990. Whitten was inducted into the SFA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001.
Whitten and his wife, Dana, have four children, Brady (23), Blaze (20), Tate (13) and Maddie (11).