The following is a press release from Texas Tech Athletics.
Filani returns to his alma mater where he was a two-time All-Big 12 first team selection and remains one of the top wide receivers in school history. Filani recorded 2,667 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns through the air during his career from 2003-06, both of which still rank among the top career performances in school history.
Filani’s best season came as a senior in 2006 when he caught 91 passes for 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns, ranking in the single-season top 10 for all three categories. Filani, whose 1,300 receiving yards that season rank fifth all-time in Tech history, joins Michael Crabtree (2007-08) and Jarrett Hicks (2004-05) as the only Red Raider wide receivers to earn All-Big 12 first team accolades twice in a career.
Filani wrapped his Red Raider career with a memorable performance in the 2006 Insight Bowl as he caught 11 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in a 44-41 overtime victory over Minnesota. He snapped the then Tech bowl records for both receptions and receiving yards on his way to helping lead the Red Raiders to the largest come-from-behind bowl victory in NCAA history.
His success in Tech’s wide-open passing attack drew the attention of the Tennessee Titans, who selected Filani that next spring in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Filani enjoyed a three-year NFL career with stops with the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as the Titans. He concluded his professional career as a member of the Arena League’s Chicago Rush in 2011.
Filani began his coaching career shortly after, accepting a graduate assistant position at Boise State from 2013-14 before moving to Washington State for the 2015 campaign. Washington State led the FBS in passing offense during his one season on staff as he worked alongside then-Cougars assistant David Yost, who was in the midst of a three-year stint as inside receivers coach.
Filani departed the Washington State staff in 2016 to accept his first full-time coaching position at North Texas where he has been part of a Mean Green program that has won 23 games the past three seasons. In comparison, North Texas combined for only 23 victories in the five seasons prior to Filani’s arrival and had not reached a bowl game since 2013.
North Texas boasted one of the nation’s top passing attacks during Filani’s tenure thanks in part to the play of Rico Bussey Jr., who shined at outside receiver in 2018. Bussey was among the top receivers in the country this past season after hauling in 68 passes for 1,017 yards and 12 touchdowns. He closed the season as the Conference USA leader in receiving touchdowns and also ranked tied for eighth nationally in the category and 26th in receiving yards per game (84.8).
After three seasons under Filani, Bussey, who was an All-Conference USA first team honoree in 2018, already ranks fifth in program history with 20 career receiving touchdowns and eight career 100-yard games. His 12 receiving touchdowns from 2018 alone ranked tied for second in North Texas history.
Filani also tutored Jalen Guyton to Conference USA Co-Newcomer of the Year and second team all-conference accolades in 2017 after the junior-college transfer finished with 49 catches for 775 yards and a team-leading nine touchdowns during his debut season. He joined Bussey as one of three North Texas receivers to land on the Biletnikoff Award watch list prior to the 2018 season.
Filani, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas Tech in 2006 and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Boise State in 2014. He and his wife, Shayla, have two sons, Caleb (5), Levi (3) and newborn daughter, Tenley.
Filani replaces Jovon Bouknight, who resigned in order to accept another collegiate coaching opportunity.
JOEL FILANI COACHING EXPERIENCE
2019-Present – Texas Tech Assistant Coach (Outside Receivers)
2016-18 – North Texas Assistant Coach (Outside Receivers)
2015 – Washington State Offensive Quality Control
2013-14 – Boise State Graduate Assistant