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Ohio State announces hire of Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch

Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, center, walks on the field after an NCAA college football game against Nevada in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. (Young Kwak / AP)

PULLMAN – Washington State is officially in the market for a new defensive coordinator.

Ohio State on Monday made Alex Grinch’s hire official, announcing in a press release the Cougars’ DC would be joining Urban Meyer’s staff in Columbus. Grinch’s official title has yet to be determined and “his specific responsibilities will be announced at a later date,” according to the press release.

Reports from Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, ESPN’s Chris Low and others stated that Meyer intends to make Grinch a co-defensive coordinator, alongside current Buckeyes DC Greg Schiano.

“I am very impressed with his body of work while at Washington State, as many others were,” Meyer said in the university press release, “and am happy he chose to come home to Ohio to become a part of our Buckeye coaching staff.”

A native of Grove City, Ohio, Grinch graduated from Mount Union College in 2002 after four years as a standout defensive back for the NCAA Division III program in Alliance, Ohio.

Grinch came to WSU three years ago from Missouri, where he was a safeties coach, and has since led a revolution of the Cougars defense. In 2017, WSU was seventh nationally in pass efficiency defense, ninth with 28 turnovers forced and allowed just 11 touchdown passes, fifth-fewest nationally. The Cougars pitched multiple shutouts in the same season for the first time since 1981, blanking both Montana State and Colorado, and finished the season ranked 16th nationally in total defense.

Grinch was nominated three times for the Broyles Award, the honor given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Cougars coach Mike Leach wished Grinch well in a text message to The Spokesman-Review Monday morning: “Alex did a great job with our defense,” Leach said. “We wish him and his family the best, as they go back home to Ohio.”

Grinch’s spot is one of three Leach will have to fill this offseason. The WSU coach will also replace outside linebackers coach Roy Manning, who’s reportedly leaving to become the special teams coach at UCLA. Leach is also expected to add a 10th assistant coach to his current staff and the coach has hinted at bringing on someone with experience on defense.