Washington State coach Mike Leach announced on Tuesday that Eric Mele has been named special teams coordinator at WSU.
Mele took over as the interim coordinator after Eric Russell was fired in the middle of last season. I wrote a profile of Mele soon after the transition. Prior to his promotion last year Mele spent two years serving as an offensive quality control assistant at WSU.
The Cougars allowed six kick or punt returns for touchdowns last season, more than any other FBS team. But only two of those returns came in the final six games in which Mele served as an assistant coach.
Only two FBS teams allowed more than WSU's 17.3 yards per opponent punt return over the course of the season but the Cougars had just two punts returned over their final three games for just two total yards.
“Eric did a nice job coming in midway through last season,” said Leach in a release. “He is organized, hard-working, energetic and has a great rapport with the players.”
Leach also announced that Brian Odom has been hired as a defensive quality control assistant. Odom spent the last three seasons at the University of Houston as a co-director of sports performance and after spending seven year at Arizona in a similar role.
“Brian brings a great work ethic and an experienced football mind to our staff,” said Leach. ”He has been a part of football staffs that have seen a great deal of success and he will be an asset for our program.”