USC, Lincoln Riley bring aboard long-time Mike Leach staffer in key GM role
Mike Leach’s longtime right-hand man is trading in the SEC for the Pac-12 and one of Leach’s disciples.
Dave Emerick, a senior associate athletic director for football with Mississippi State and Washington State before that and Texas Tech before that, announced Saturday that he’s departing Starkville. He’ll move to Los Angeles to join Lincoln Riley’s program at USC.
Emerick will hold the same title with the Trojans as what he held with the Bulldogs, while also adding the title of general manager. The LA Times’ Ryan Kartje suggested he could fill the role vacated by Spencer Harris, USC’s former director of player personnel before joining the recently-created BLVD LLC program.
“I have had the privilege of working for Coach Leach for 18 years from Texas Tech to Washington State to Mississippi State,” Emerick wrote in a post shared to social media. “We have had a lot of great times and have on a lot of games along the way. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without him, and I am forever grateful for the impact that he has had on my life.
“While I firmly believe that Mississippi State Football’s best days are right in front of them, it is time for me to take on a new adventure. I am excited to be joining the staff at USC as the General Manager/Senior Associate Athletic Director for Football.”
Life update: pic.twitter.com/vtNd5v7xXs
— Dave Emerick (@DaveEmerickMSU) June 25, 2022
The move is just the latest in Riley’s reshaping of the USC football program. Harris wasn’t the only key off-field staffer to change jobs this offseason. USC lost chief of staff Brandon Sosna—credited for playing a large role in getting Riley to California—to the Detroit Lions.
Emerick and Riley have crossed paths before, though. While Riley was cutting his teeth as a graduate assistant and later the wideout coach for Leach at Texas Tech, Emerick was serving as the Red Raiders’ director of player personnel and then their chief of staff. He also served as the liaison between the football program and the Tech athletic department, specifically in academics, compliance, media relations, and marketing.
Both stayed with Leach until he was fired following the 2009 season. After, Riley landed at East Carolina and Emerick at Arizona. He spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons overseeing Arizona’s recruiting efforts as assistant director of operations and director of on-campus recruiting.
In 2012, when Leach landed at Washington State, Emerick followed him to the Pacific Northwest and has been with Leach ever since. His MSU bio credits him as the lead for the program’s recruiting efforts while also working in conjunction with senior administration.
In short order, Riley has assembled an experienced and robust staff of both on- and off-field personnel who should help the Trojans going forward.