Jerry Sullivan, a 25-year NFL coaching veteran who is considered to be the most respected wide receivers coach in the business, serves as LSU’s senior offensive assistant and passing game coordinator. Overall, Sullivan brings 45 years of coaching experience to the LSU staff.
This is Sullivan’s second stint at LSU as he held the title of wide receivers coach for the Tigers under Bill Arnsparger and Mike Archer from 1984-90. Sullivan spent the 2017 season serving as a consultant for Orgeron and the Tigers.
Sullivan, a native of Miami who played football for two years at Florida State, spent 21 years in the college ranks before joining the San Diego Chargers in the NFL in 1992. Sullivan worked with six NFL franchises during his pro career, most recently finishing a five-year stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016.
Sullivan coached several Pro Bowl receivers in his career, including the San Diego Chargers’ Anthony Miller (1992-93) and Tony Martin (1996), Detroit Lions’ Herman Moore (1997-98) and Germaine Crowell (1999), Arizona Cardinals’ David Boston (2001) and Anquan Boldin (2003); and the Jaguars’ Allen Robinson (2015). Larry Fitzgerald, an All-Pro and future Pro Football Hall of Fame, credits Sullivan for helping groom him into one of the top wide receivers in NFL history.
Sullivan was part of a San Diego staff that helped lead the Chargers to the Super Bowl in 1994, in what was his third year in the NFL.
At his last NFL stop with the Jaguars, Sullivan oversaw a receiving corps that had a breakout season in 2015. Second-year wide out Allen Robinson earned his first career Pro Bowl after posting 80 receptions for 1,400 receiving yards and a franchise-record 14 receiving touchdowns. Robinson tied for the NFL lead in receiving touchdowns, while also setting the Jaguars single-season records in receiving average (17.5, min. 60 receptions) and 20-plus-yard receptions (31).
Robinson became one of just four NFL players since the 1970 merger to record 1,400-plus receiving yards, 14-plus receiving touchdowns and 17.5-plus yards per reception in a single season, joining Calvin Johnson in 2011, Randy Moss in 2000 and Jerry Rice in 1986.
As wide receivers coach/ senior assistant for the San Francisco 49ers from 2005-10 he groomed wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who was the 10th overall pick in 2009 in the NFL Draft. Crabtree had 103 receptions for 1,366 yards and eight touchdowns under Sullivan’s tutelage. Under the guidance of Sullivan, 2008 sixth-round pick Josh Morgan posted a career-high 52 receptions for 527 yards in 2009 and had a career-best 698 receiving yards on 44 receptions in 2010.
In 2008, Sullivan’s unit was highlighted by the play of 15-year veteran wideout Isaac Bruce, who earned the team’s Len Eshmont Award for his courageous and inspiring play. Bruce had seven touchdown receptions, his most since 2002, and led all receivers with 835 receiving yards on 61 catches.
Prior to his time with the 49ers, Sullivan spent one season as wide receivers coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2004. He was a member of the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff for three seasons (2001-03). In his first two seasons with the club, Sullivan mentored the team’s wide receivers, where he worked with a group that included David Boston, who led the NFL with 1,598 receiving yards on 98 receptions in 2001 and was selected to the first Pro Bowl of his career. Sullivan was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2003 where he worked with wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Boldin finished third in the NFL in receptions (101) and receiving yards (1,377) on his way to being named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year as well as a starter on the NFC’s Pro Bowl squad.
Sullivan’s NFL coaching career began in 1992 with the San Diego Chargers where he spent five seasons (1992-96) helping the franchise to the Super Bowl during the 1994 season. He coached players to three Pro Bowl appearances during his time with the Chargers – Anthony Miller in 1992 and 1993 followed by Tony Martin in 1996.
He also coached wide receivers in Detroit from 1997-2000. At Detroit, Herman Moore was a first team All-Pro selection in 1997 with 104 receptions for 1,293 yards and eight TDs.
At LSU from 1984-90, Sullivan helped develop Wendell Davis into a two-time All-American and a record-setting receiver for the Tigers. Under Sullivan’s tutelage, Davis set LSU records for receptions in a game (14 vs. Ole Miss, 1986), receptions in a season (80 in 1986) and career (183), receiving yards in season (1,244 in 1986) and career (2,708).
At LSU, Sullivan helped the Tigers to a pair of SEC Championships in 1986 and 1988. The Tigers appeared in five bowl games with Sullivan on staff and won 10 games in 1987 and nine contests in 1985 and 1986.
Sullivan got his start in coaching at Kansas State in 1971 where he spent two years with the Wildcats. From there, Sullivan coached receivers at Texas Tech (1973-75), South Carolina (1976-1982), Indiana (1983), LSU (1984-90) and Ohio State in 1991 before moving on to the NFL.
Sullivan played quarterback at Miami Jackson High School where he earned a scholarship to Florida State. Sullivan spent two years at Florida State and later transferred to Delta State, where he graduated in 1968. Sullivan and his wife, Connie, have two sons, Jon-Eric, who is the co-director of player personnel for the Green Bay Packers, and Matthew along with daughter, Allison.
THE SULLIVAN FILE
Year at LSU: Eighth
Birthdate: July 13, 1945
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
Children: Jon-Eric, Matthew, Allison
High School: Jackson (Miami, Fla.) High School
College: Delta State, 1968
Postgraduate: Delta State, 1969
1968 Delta State (graduate assistant)
1970 Vicksburg (Miss.) High School (head coach)
1971-72 Kansas State (graduate assistant, 1971; wide receivers, 1972)
1973-75 Texas Tech (wide receivers)
1976-82 South Carolina (wide receivers)
1983 Indiana (wide receivers)
1984-90 LSU (wide receivers)
1991 Ohio State (wide receivers)
1992-96 San Diego Chargers (wide receivers)
1997-00 Detroit Lions (wide receivers)
2001-03 Arizona Cardinals (wide receivers, 2001-02; offensive coordinator, 2003)
2004 Miami Dolphins (wide receivers)
2005-10 San Francisco 49ers (wide receivers)
2012-16 Jacksonville Jaguars (wide receivers)
2017-18 LSU (consultant, 2017; senior offensive assistant/passing game coordinator, 2018)
Season Bowl Team Opponent Results
1973 Gator Texas Tech Tennessee W, 28-19
1974 Peach Texas Tech Vanderbilt T, 6-6
1979 Hall of Fame South Carolina Missouri L, 24-14
1980 Gator South Carolina Pitt L, 37-9
1984 Sugar LSU Nebraska L, 28-10
1985 Liberty LSU Baylor L, 21-7
1986 Sugar LSU Nebraska L, 30-15
1987 Gator LSU South Carolina W, 30-13
1988 Hall of Fame LSU Syracuse L, 23-10