PULLMAN – Alex Grinch will take over as the new defensive coordinator at Washington State and will try to make the Cougars’ defense as potent as its offense.
Mike Leach dismissed defensive coordinator Mike Breske and outside linebackers coach Paul Volero six weeks ago, following WSU’s season-ending loss to Washington in the Apple Cup. Grinch will coach WSU’s secondary in addition to serving as the defensive coordinator.
“We are excited to have Alex (become) part of our football family,” Leach said in a press release. “He is a passionate, tireless worker who brings tremendous excitement and aggression to our team. He has a track record of developing young talent, which will be of great benefit to our defense.”
Grinch comes to WSU from Missouri, where he spent three years as the Tigers’ safeties coach. Prior to that, he spent three seasons as the secondary coach at Wyoming.
Grinch is the nephew of Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel.
The Tigers went 23-5 while Grinch was a member of the staff. His salary in 2014 was $251,000. His safeties combined to intercept six passes, including four by second-team All-SEC player Braylon Webb.
WSU’s secondary intercepted one pass in 2014.
“I’m excited to join the Washington State football program and thank Coach Leach for the opportunity,” Grinch said in the same release. “It’s time to get to work to produce a defense that Cougar fans can be proud of.”
While at MU, Grinch drew praise from Pinkel for his recruiting abilities, particularly in the Southeast where Georgia was his primary recruiting responsibility. Prior to that, he recruited Texas for the Cowboys.
In Laramie he coached two Freshman All-Americans and six All-Mountain West Conference honorees. From 2005-08 Grinch coached at New Hampshire, serving first as cornerbacks coach and then as the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator.
The Wildcats made it to the FCS quarterfinals three times while Grinch was at UNH. He coached four players that received postseason honors, including cornerback Corey Graham, the 2007 fifth-round selection of the Chicago Bears. While at UNH he spent one season on the same staff as current Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who is also quoted in the school’s release.
“He’s the real deal!” Kelly said. “He’s intelligent, articulate and has an unbelievable work ethic. He is one of the best teachers I’ve been around.”
Now he will be tasked with improving a WSU defense that ranked No. 97 nationally in total yards allowed.
The Cougars’ struggles on defense were the primary reason WSU backslid to a 3-9 record one year after playing in a bowl game, despite having the country’s No. 7 total offense.
It is not known what defensive scheme Grinch will bring to Pullman, although it is believed that one of the criteria used during the search was the use of an attacking defense that used blitzes and stunts to create pressure on the opposing quarterback.