Multiple Mountain West Coaches Mentioned To Be BYU’s Defensive Coordinator
Could any of these Mountain West assistants head to BYU as its next defensive coordinator?
BYU could lure away a current MW coach
BYU is looking for a new defensive coordinator after Ilaisa Tuiaki took to his Instagram page (which is private) to say he was stepping down as the Cougars lead defensive coach.
“What a great 7 year run it’s been. It’s time to venture out and pursue a new challenge. I want to say thank you,” wrote Tuiaki.
Tuiaki tried to step down earlier in the season when BYU was going through a rough patch of a four-game losing streak, but head coach Kalani Sitake would not accept that. Instead, Tuiaki was essentially demoted to coaching the defensive line.
Now that the Cougars season is over, minus their bowl game, they are looking for a new defensive coordinator as they head into the Big 12.
KSL Sports Mitch Harper put together a candidate list for who could be the hire and it includes a number of familiar names within the Mountain West.
Rocky Long | New Mexico Defensive Coordinator
The notes from Harper on Long are that he is a proven coach that Sitake could jet let him take over and run the defense. While at New Mexico, Long has done a great job building up this defensive unit to being around the top-third nationally in defense.
One concern is how Long interacted towards BYU when he was the head coach at New Mexico when the two were in the Mountain West. That is likely just due to being an opposing coach.
Frank Maile | Boise State Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line
Maile has a lot of experience coaching up that spot from his days at Utah State, Vanderbilt, and now at Boise State. He also has done a really good job on the defensive line with the Broncos.
He was the interim head coach when Gary Andersen stepped down a few years ago to lead a sinking Aggie ship. Maile does have that head coach experience, even if in a unique way.
Derrick Odum | San Jose State Defensive Coordinator
Odum has a history of working with Kalani Sitake at Utah and Oregon State. The Spartans’ defense has been exceptionally good the past few years and is a top 25 unit this year.
Defensive lineman Cade Hall has been his crown jewel by winning defensive player of the year in 2020, an honorable mention pick in 2021, but in 2022 he is in the running for player of the year once again.
BYU’s pass rush was bad and this year’s Spartans team has 36 sacks.
With BYU heading into the Big 12 they can afford to snag a sitting defensive coordinator from the Mountain West.
The salary will be unknown since the Cougars are a private school but the pay will be and must be competitive with the rest of the Big 12 if they want to land a quality coach.
Other names listed were former Utah or BYU coaches/players with familiarity with the religious structure in Provo.
If we were to make a guess of the order of these Mountain West coaches it likely would be.
Odum, Maile, and then Long.
Long is the most experienced but he would be a short-term game due to his age of 72. Maile will have some stain with his accusations regarding Utah State when he did not get the head coaching job.
He called for a “thorough and independent investigation of religious, cultural and racial discrimination” at Utah State.
It is my understanding — from members of the team leadership council who attended a meeting with Utah State President Noelle Cockett and Athletic Director John Hartwell — that I was not ultimately considered for the position of head coach at Utah State (my beloved alma mater) because of concerns that my religion and Pacific Islander culture would negatively impact the University’s future football program. I have twice served as interim head coach and have gone through the interview process but was not notified of a formal hiring decision until after Noelle Cockett and John Hartwell met with the team.
Those comments shouldn’t preclude him from being the guy, but schools and programs do deep research.
Odum seems to be a great fit for turning around a very bad San Jose State defense into a very impressive unit, plus it helps that he has coached with Sitake at multiple locations over the years.
It is still very early in the process as BYU has not even officially announced the coaching staff change.