ALAMOSA – Adams State University football team will have a familiar face as the new head coach of the Grizzlies, as athletic director Larry Mortensen named current offensive coordinator Josh Blankenship the next Grizzly head coach. Blankenship, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, will take over head coaching duties immediately.
“We're fortunate to have the best candidate to run the program already on staff,” said Mortensen. “Coach Blankenship was impressive in the interview and I am confident he can lead the program to a new level.
He was an integral part of leading one of the nation's most proficient offenses. Just as important is his commitment toward defensive excellence. Josh comes from a long line of coaches and is ready for this opportunity. He was an exemplary student-athlete both on the field and in the classroom and he will expect nothing less from his student-athletes.”
Blankenship has led the Grizzlies, improving the offense that was 53rd in passing offense to 2nd in the nation in passing offense in just three seasons. This past season, the Blankenship led offense ranked 11th in the nation in total offense, 16th in least fumbles lost, third in first downs and second in passing offense.
"My family and I are beyond excited to have this opportunity,” said Blankenship. “In the three years that we have been here, we have fallen in love with Adams State and this community. I feel that we have created momentum in the football program, and it's time to elevate further. I came here three years ago to help build a successful program--the job isn't done yet."
Additionally, Blankenship helped three Grizzlies on offense reach top-10 national status in Marquese Surrell, Nick Rooney and Chad Hovasse. Quarterback Nick Rooney was 11th in the nation in points per game, 11th in total passing yards, seventh in passing yards per game, eighth in passing touchdowns and second in completions per game. Hovasse was 10th in receiving yards per game, ninth in total receiving yards, seventh in receptions per game and fifth in receiving touchdowns. Surrell was fifth in all-purpose yards.
Prior to his time at Adams State, Blankenship was the quarterbacks coach for the University of Tulsa under his father and head coach, Bill Blankenship. Prior to that he was the head coach and acting athletic director at Muskogee High School. Before his time there he was an assistant coach at Union High School where he finished his last three seasons at Union on a three-peat championship run.
As a player, Blankenship spent three seasons as the signal caller for Tulsa from 1999-2001 before ending his collegiate career at Eastern Washington in 2002. In three seasons as the starting quarterback for Tulsa, Blankenship compiled 5,273 yards passing and 21 touchdowns. At Eastern Washington he threw for 3,243 yards and 30 touchdowns en route to being named second-team All-American by Football Gazette. He was also named the 2002 Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
Professionally Blankenship spent the 2003 training camp with the Miami Dolphins before going on to play for the Austin Wranglers of the AFL and Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL in 2004. His career also included stints with the Tulsa Talons, Memphis Explorers, and Stockton Lightning of the AF2 from 2005-07.
Blankenship, 37, obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Eastern Washington in 2003 and later received his master’s of Education from Northeastern State (Okla.) in 2009.
Josh and his wife, Lindsay, have four children: Barrett, Gracie, Deacon, and Stevie.