|Other Position:||Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends|
A 13-year coaching veteran who has been a part of multiple bowl games and an NCAA Division II national championship, Buster Faulkner begins his third season as Arkansas State’s offensive coordinator and second as tight ends coach in 2018.
His first season at A-State saw the Red Wolves bounce back from an 0-4 start to finish with an 8-5 record, a Sun Belt Conference title and 31-13 victory over UCF in the Cure Bowl. Under his direction as offensive coordinator, the Red Wolves recorded 4,932 yards total offense that was the sixth most in school history. Faulkner and A-State followed up the 2016 season by making another bowl-game appearance the following year, this time playing in the Camellia Bowl to conclude a 2017 campaign that saw the offense average a school-record 494.8 yards per game that ranked No. 10 in the nation.
A-State had 11 offensive players named All-Sun Belt in 2017, including Offensive Player of the Year Justice Hansen and first-team selection Blake Mack at the tight end position. Faulkner was responsible for coaching the Red Wolves’ all-time leader in both receptions and receiving yards by a tight end, and Mack went on to sign a free agent contract with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs following the season.
Arkansas State posted over 400 yards total offense in all but two outings in 2017, including a school-record 781 yards in a victory over ULM. The Red Wolves also ranked 13th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 37.8 points per game.
Led by five offensive players earning All-Sun Belt honors in 2016, the Red Wolves recorded over 300 yards total offense in 10 outings, more than 400 in five contests and at least 500 in two outings. Faulkner’s offense recorded a season-high 525 yards in the Sun Belt opener, a 27-26 win over Georgia Southern.
Faulkner mentored 2016 A-State newcomer Hansen, an Honorable Mention All-Sun Belt Conference choice as a sophomore. Hansen completed the year with 19 passing touchdowns that tied the fourth most in school history, while his 2,719 passing yards were the sixth most. He also posted a 138.9 pass efficiency rating that ranked first in the Sun Belt and 45th in the nation.
Prior to A-State, Faulkner spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Middle Tennessee, including the last four full years as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He helped guide the Blue Raiders to 31 victories, numerous school records and a pair of bowl-game appearances from 2012-15.
Under his tutelage, the Blue Raiders amassed more than 5,000 yards of total offense in three consecutive seasons for the first time in school history while averaging over 31 points a game. MT’s 2015 team amassed 5,946 yards and scored 442 points, both school records, helping the squad finish 6-2 in Conference USA and earn an invitation to the Bahamas Bowl.
Faulkner also led several record-setting individuals in 2015, as freshman quarterback Brent Stockstill led the way by setting new single season marks for passing yards (4,005), passing yards per game (308.1), completions (327), attempts (490), touchdowns (30), 300-yard games (8) and consecutive 300-yard games (4).
Freshman All-American Richie James caught a school record 108 passes for 1,346 yards, while senior wide-out Ed Batties brought down an MT-record 13 receiving touchdowns under Faulkner last season.
Stockstill and James became the first quarterback and receiver pairing in school history to amass 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.
Prior to the 2015 season that saw MT rank 32nd in the nation in total offense and 35th in scoring offense, the 2014 unit ranked 30th nationally in rushing, while Austin Grammer became the first signal-caller in school history to throw for over 200 yards in each of his first seven games and finished 11th nationally in completion percentage.
Faulkner helped lead the Blue Raiders to an 8-5 overall record and appearance in the Armed Forces Bowl in 2013 as his offense had the second most yards in school history, ranked 31st nationally in rushing and 25th in third down conversion percentage. The offense also registered seven games of 200 or more yards rushing and had five different players top the 100-yard rushing mark. Quarterback Logan Kilgore became the first signal-caller in school history to have three straight 2,000-yard seasons with all three years coming under Faulkner.
In 2012, the unit keyed the Raiders’ 8-4 season by re-establishing the running game and protecting the football. Middle Tennessee ranked 46th nationally in rushing and tied for 28th for fewest turnovers lost. The unit also had four games where they rushed for over 200 yards and produced three different 100-yard rushers. Wide receiver Anthony Amos and center Micah James both earned first team all-conference honors.
In 2011, Faulkner took over the play-calling duties as offensive coordinator the final seven games of the year while remaining quarterbacks coach. His unit went on to record the fifth most yards of total offense, complete a then-record 299 passes and became just the second offense in school history to amass over 3,000 passing yards.
Faulkner went to Middle Tennessee after serving the 2010 season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Murray State. In his lone season at MSU, Faulkner’s offense broke 27 school records and finished first in the FCS in total plays, pass completions, and completion percentage. The Racer offense racked up nearly 5,000 yards and produced the first 500-yard passer, 200-yard rusher, and 200-yard receiver in the same game in FCS history. The Racers ranked fifth in total offense nationally in 2010, while the year prior to Faulkner’s arrival MSU had a ranking of 115.
The 2010 Racers offense ranked first in the OVC and fifth nationally with 36.09 points per game, while also leading the league in passing offense and ranking fourth nationally with 313.5 yards per contest. The MSU quarterbacks led the country in completions and completion percentage.
Under Faulkner’s guidance, quarterback Casey Brockman had just six starts in 2010 but earned second team all-conference honors and was twice picked as the National Player of the Week. Brockman also garnered three OVC Player of the Week awards en route to finishing first in the league and eighth nationally in passing yards per game. Brockman accounted for 313 yards of total offense per game.
Prior to joining the Racers staff, Faulkner spent the 2009 season as the quarterbacks coach at Central Arkansas. UCA’s offense averaged 26.2 points a game and 215.8 yards a game through the air and was ranked in the Top 25 nationally in every offensive statistic.
Senior quarterback Robbie Park finished the year going 217-for-358 for 2,434 yards and 12 touchdowns. The yardage total was seventh on the school’s all-time single-season list.
Faulkner’s coaching career began at Valdosta State, where he served as a student assistant helping with the quarterbacks in 2005. After one season with the Blazers, he served as an offensive graduate assistant at Georgia, working with the offensive line and quarterbacks.
Faulkner returned to Valdosta State in 2007 and served as the quarterbacks coach for two seasons. In his first season, the Blazers went 13-1 and captured the Division II National Championship as quarterback Willie Copeland passed for 2,903 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Faulkner took over as the offensive coordinator for the Blazers in 2008. VSU averaged 380.8 yards a game in advancing to the quarterfinals as quarterback Chris Hart earned Freshman of the Year honors. Hart accounted for over 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns.
As a player, Faulkner starred as a quarterback for Valdosta State from 2000 to 2003. In three years with the Blazers, he passed for 7,100 yards and 64 touchdowns while registering a 47-6 record.
As a sophomore, Faulkner earned first-team All-Gulf South Conference honors and honorable mention All-American accolades after going 327-for-503 for 3,941 yards and 44 touchdowns in leading the Blazers to a 14-1 record and a spot in the National Championship game.
He played his senior season at Texas A&M-Commerce, where he passed for 2,861 and 16 touchdowns, while setting 10 school records.
During his prep career, Faulkner started at quarterback as a sophomore and led Parkview High School to the 1997 Georgia state championship.
A native of Lilburn, Ga., Faulkner earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Valdosta State in 2005. Faulkner, and his wife, Tia, have one son, Harrison, and two daughters, Hadley and Haisley.