MOSCOW, Idaho – New University of Idaho football coach Paul Petrino, a onetime Vandals assistant himself, seems intent on filling his staff with coaches who know what it’s like to coach or play at UI.
On Monday, Petrino announced the hiring of Ronnie Lee as defensive coordinator and secondary coach, and Mike Anderson as linebackers coach.
Lee, a former Washington State defensive back, coached at Idaho alongside Petrino in 1992. He was most recently running backs coach and special teams coordinator at Indiana State, but he’s also served as co-defensive coordinator at Minnesota and secondary coach at Michigan and Wisconsin.
Petrino and Lee were traveling Monday and not available for comment.
In a release, Petrino said Lee – his former roommate while both were young assistants in Moscow – was the first coach he approached about taking the defensive coordinator position.
“For me, I hit the jackpot and got the guy I wanted,” Petrino said.
Anderson played linebacker and defensive end at Idaho from 2002-2005. He was also a graduate assistant and assistant defensive line coach under Robb Akey in 2008, before landing a graduate assistant position at Washington.
The Lewiston native has since worked as a defensive assistant and assistant strength and conditioning coach at UW.
“He’s a Vandal; he was a great player here,” Petrino said. “He has a lot of pride. He wants to see this program where it needs to be.”
Lee and Anderson are the only staff additions that UI has announced.
The Spokesman-Review has learned that Petrino will retain tight ends coach Al Pupunu and bring in Bryce Erickson, the son of former UI coach Dennis Erickson.
Bryce Erickson worked under his father at Arizona State as running backs coach and this past season was the head coach at South Albany (Ore.) High School.
Idaho will also hire Illinois grad assistant Jon Carvin as offensive line coach and Jason Shumaker as running backs coach, according to FootballScoop.com, which specializes in coaching news.
Shumaker is director of high school relations at Arkansas, where Petrino served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last year.
Jason Gesser, who served as interim coach after Akey’s firing, told the Lewiston Tribune last week that he has been let go by Petrino. Gesser was the Vandals’ offensive coordinator and QBs coach during the team’s 1-11 season this fall.