FROM PULLMAN — Washington State officially announced Wednesday that Ken Wilson has been hired as the team's linebackers coach.
Wilson, who spent the last 23 seasons at Nevada — 19 as part of the coaching staff — replaces Jeff Choate, who left after the season to become the defensive coordinator at UTEP.
Wilson was Nevada's linebackers coach for the last five seasons and has also been a defensive coordinator. He and Jim Mastro, WSU's running backs coach, worked together at Nevada for seven seasons. Longtime Nevada coach Chris Ault retired in December.
Here's the school's official release on Wilson:
Washington State football has named Ken Wilson as the Cougars linebackers coach, head coach Mike Leach announced Wednesday.
“Ken brings tremendous experience to our coaching staff along with an attitude and expectation for success derived from his time at Nevada,” said Leach. “He is a great recruiter and teacher on the field and will step in immediately and make a positive impact on our program.“
Wilson joins Washington State after spending the past 23 years at the University of Nevada, 19 on the Wolf Pack coaching staff, including the last five seasons as the associate head coach/linebackers coach. Wilson has worked six seasons with linebackers, one with safeties, one with defensive ends and a total of three seasons as the defensive coordinator.
Wilson, who worked with current Cougars running backs coach Jim Mastro for seven seasons at Nevada, helped the Wolf Pack appear in 11 bowl games and claim nine conference championships during his 13 seasons on the sidelines.
Wilson has seen 16 of his former players sign professional contracts including six linebackers who were under NFL contract in 2012. Wilson mentored first team All-WAC selection Dontay Moch, who was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 66th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He put another defensive end into the NFL after the 2011 season as Kaelin Burnett signed with the Oakland Raiders.
In 2009, Wilson headed up the linebacking corps and oversaw the development of a youthful group that included second-team All-WAC selection James-Michael Johnson in 2009. He also coached current NFL linebacker Joshua Mauga (New York Jets) and former New York Giant and St. Louis Ram, Jerome Johnson. During the 2007 season, Wilson served as the defensive coordinator and was also the safeties coach. Nevada’s starting safeties, Uche Anyanwu and Justin Jackson, combined for 144 tackles. Overall, the defense was fourth in pass defense and fifth in total defense.
Prior to that, Wilson headed up the Pack’s inside linebacking corps while also serving as the team’s assistant head coach. In 2006, two of Wilson’s pupils - Jason DeMars and Joshua Mauga – finished second and third on the team in tackles, tallying over 110 tackles combined.
The North Central (Ill.) graduate (1986) has coached six players who signed professional contracts, three of them in the NFL, including Nevada's all-time tackles leader, DeShone Myles, as well as Mike Crawford and Steve Bryant. Two of his pupils - Mylwa and Matt Clafton - were named to Nevada's All-Century team at linebacker.
Wilson has coached defensive line, linebackers and secondary during his career, which also included stints at his alma mater (1986) and at New Mexico (1987-88).
Wilson and his wife, Heather, have a son, Tyler, and a daughter, Baylie.